Child and Therapist

Childhood Trauma Therapy in Dallas, Texas

You’ve made it into adulthood, but sometimes things just don’t feel right. You have trouble connecting and trusting people, whether its romantic partners or friends. You have this feeling that something is wrong or different about you. Sometimes, its like you don’t even live on this planet. If you have ever experienced anything like this it could be due to unresolved childhood trauma. When we are kids and our needs are not being met, we don’t necessarily understand what’s happening in the moment, but this starts to show up later on in adulthood.

Our childhood needs do not just consist of having a roof over our heads, eating, and sleeping. We have emotional and attachment needs, and childhood is an incredibly vulnerable period of life where if something happens to us, to our caregivers, or to our innocence as children it can change the rest of our lives. Childhood trauma can look like having an alcoholic parent, parents who were constantly fighting, not knowing if you were going to eat, have a place to sleep, or make it to school the next day.

 

Childhood trauma can also look like not knowing you were unconditionally loved or taken care of. That “thing” that you feel is wrong with you today may be a wound that has existed since childhood. In treating childhood trauma we will reconnect your adult self to your childhood self and provide that child with the love and the healing they have always wanted and needed. 

 

Childhood Trauma

Experiencing trauma as a child can cause lifelong problems. This is true even if you went on to have a normal adolescence or adulthood. Many people say children are resilient, and they are, but science shows that trauma affects kids on a neurological level. In addition, when children are exposed to trauma, they may constantly become on guard. They enter what’s known as fight-or-flight mode, prepared and waiting for the next threat. As a result, they can’t live the carefree life children are meant to.

Trauma is defined as any event involved in or witnessed that threatens safety. There are many types of events that are considered traumatic for children:

  • Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse

  • Neglect

  • Witnessing domestic violence

  • Community violence

  • Natural disasters

  • Car accidents

  • Bullying

Some events will be traumatic for all children, like abuse. Others, like bullying, may be traumatic to one child but not another. Things like coping skills the child has and how open they are with trusted adults affect whether or not a child develops post-traumatic stress disorder.

Trauma can have a wide range of effects. Sometimes the symptoms of childhood trauma get blamed on other conditions, like anxiety, and the trauma gets overlooked. However, if they aren’t treated, and the trauma isn’t addressed, symptoms can last into adulthood.

Below are a few signs and symptoms of childhood trauma:

Childhood Trauma Signs and Symptoms

People who experience childhood trauma may have a hard time forming relationships with others. They might also have the opposite problem of becoming too attached too quickly. Childhood trauma is a common culprit behind patterns of unhealthy relationships.

Additionally, childhood trauma can result in problems focusing that look like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Kids who’ve been through trauma might be spaced out, challenging to keep engaged, and they might appear more energetic as a result of anxiety. This is hypervigilance — a need to constantly look over one’s shoulder in anticipation of an attack. They’re more attuned to their senses because, consciously or not, they’re watching out for threats.

Chronic illnesses are common in adults who experienced trauma as children. A significant study on childhood trauma, the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, found a strong relationship between traumatic events in childhood and significant illnesses later in life, such as heart disease and cancer. In the same way that trauma changes the brain, however, it can also heal from it. Treatments like Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), which I use with my clients, promote this change.

Should I Go to Therapy for Childhood Trauma?

I understand that your memories of experiencing trauma as a child are painful and triggering. However, as a trauma therapist, I believe the best way to heal is to reconnect with your inner child and give them the love and validation they need.

I’m trained in EMDR, which is an innovative treatment for PTSD. Using this technique, I will coach you through remembering, not talking about, your trauma while practicing coping skills at the same time. This allows you to have fewer symptoms when you get triggered and helps you build insight into your past as you are less overcome with anxiety.

The process of working through childhood trauma can be complex, but it’s also necessary to heal. When they go to therapy for childhood trauma, people often find that they’re trading short-term discomfort for long-term relief. Healing these childhood wounds means living life without constantly feeling threatened or attacked. It also means being able to trust and better connect with your loved ones.

I provide childhood trauma therapy at Therapy For Abby to help people in my community of Dallas, Texas recover from trauma. If you’ve been suffering for too long under the weight of unresolved childhood trauma, please reach out to me. I want to help you feel lasting safety, security, and the freedom to make meaningful connections with others.