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Have you or someone you know experienced trauma? Is it impacting your/their ability to function in daily life? To connect in relationships or be present at the moment? Are you or someone you know experiencing depression and anxiety as a result? Trauma can happen to anyone, anywhere, and at any time- but sometimes symptoms of trauma remain that make it difficult to function in daily life. Our therapists are here to help you process the trauma and let go of symptoms, with the help of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) therapy, to begin your journey of healing.

What Is Trauma? What Are Some Symptoms of Trauma?

Trauma can be a big event or smaller life events. Typically, when one thinks of trauma- war veterans, victims of natural disasters, or survivors of sexual assault come to mind. But trauma can be experienced in car accidents, witnessing or being subjected to violence, or in workplace accidents. Trauma can also be found in bullying, relationships, or breakups. It can have a profound impact on you emotionally, mentally, and physically.  You may feel unsafe or ashamed as a result.

Feeling unsafe is linked to one of the symptoms of trauma which is hypervigilance. Someone may also have nightmares or trouble sleeping, flashbacks, and become paranoid. They may also experience dissociation, anxiety, and trauma reminders. However, these symptoms are not a complete list and someone who has experienced trauma may not experience all these symptoms.

Who Experiences Trauma?

Anyone can experience trauma, whether that person is a student who is now the survivor of sexual assault, an older person who survived a car accident, an adult with traumatic childhood memories, or someone walking down the street who suddenly witnesses a violent crime. Trauma and its symptoms can impact someone for years. Additionally, it is important to note that no two people experience trauma the same. Two people could have experienced an event or situation together, yet one perceives it as traumatic and the other person does not. Our experiences are highly individualized and subjective, which is why our therapists aim to provide therapy that is also personalized and collaborative.

Where and When Does Trauma Occur? Where and When Do Triggers Occur? Where and When in the Body Can Symptoms Be Experienced?

Since trauma can occur anywhere and at any time, either at home, work, school/college, or in our daily life, triggers can happen anywhere or at any time as well. What are triggers? Triggers or trauma reminders are reminders of past trauma. It could be a smell as you are walking down the street that brings you back to a violent memory from childhood. A loud crash or the screeching of brakes reminds you of something you have been trying to forget or repress. The way someone touches you may trigger an unpleasant memory of trauma. Feeling the emotion of embarrassment or shame in a completely unrelated circumstance could bring back a wave of intense emotion that is disproportionate to the present situation. A certain phrase someone says to you could be a reminder of a past traumatic experience. Additionally, seeing something may also trigger you to relive a past traumatic memory. Since trauma can be triggered by the body through the senses, some of the symptoms of trauma are felt in the body.

Trauma can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression, which can show up in the body in a variety of ways. When someone feels anxious their heart might start racing, they begin to feel restless and start fidgeting, and their hands might become sweaty and clammy. Their body is preparing them for a potential threat, however, if there is no threat and they have just been triggered this response is maladaptive and may interfere with their functioning in daily life. If they are feeling depressed, they may have a sense of heaviness in their body, they may move slower, and feel down or sad. Dissociation is another symptom of trauma, often used to cope to get through the traumatic event, by disconnecting the mind from the surroundings and body. However, people may begin to dissociate when triggered which can impact their ability to be in the present moment and connect with others.

Why Is This a Problem? How Does It Impact Our Daily Lives? How Does EMDR Therapy Help?

Oftentimes a traumatic memory gets stored in the emotional part of our brain, which leaves us vulnerable to being triggered. When we are triggered our body and mind go back to the traumatic event or situation. We are once again in flight-fight-or-freeze mode but this time there is no threat and we are in a state of arousal and fear. We may feel the need to leave (flight) a social gathering, become disproportionately angry at a co-worker who has triggered us and begin to yell (fight), or completely freeze when triggered. Our response to triggers can cause problems in our relationships, our self-esteem, and our daily lives. Unprocessed or lingering trauma can impact our ability to connect with others and some may turn to alcohol as a way to numb their overwhelming feelings. The memory needs to be reprocessed to be stored in the logical part of the brain, through EMDR therapy, so even in the presence of triggers we can remain present at the moment, not triggered by our past and living in fear of the future.


Anyone can experience trauma and need help re-processing their trauma. If you are having trouble working through it alone, we are here and ready to help you. We have the tools, EMDR therapy, to help you begin your journey of healing. We provide a warm, supportive, and safe environment for you to confront your challenges and grow.

Begin EMDR Therapy in Baltimore, MD

If you are ready to be free from triggers and to live a more present and connected life that is authentic to you, contact New Connections Counseling Center. Request an appointment to begin work with our EMDR therapists.

Other Services Offered at New Connections Counseling Center

Trauma is often woven through many facets of our life and its impact can be far-reaching.  It could be causing problems in your relationship or impacting how you as an individual are functioning in the relationship, so counseling for relationship issues or individual relationship counseling may be helpful on your path to healing.  Some may turn to alcohol to numb the pain, and we offer alcohol abuse treatment.  Your trauma may be impacting your college life, or your ability to cope during major life transitions.  We also offer women’s counseling, therapy for men, and LGBTQ therapyTalk to us today.

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About the Author:

Cathy Sullivan-Windt

Psychologist (Ph.D.) & Owner

Cathy is a licensed counseling psychologist with almost 20 years of experience. She specializes in women’s counseling, anxiety treatment, sexual assault recovery, life transitions, and relationship issues.

In her free time, she enjoys spending time in nature, traveling, reading, and being with her family and friends.

Read More About Cathy

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