My work in trauma healing has been informed largely by my own healing journey, and understanding that we can develop and grow up in a ‘great and loving family’, yet be dysregulated through caregiver’s co-dysregulating, premature birth, an unsafe environment. When I was young, I thought everyone felt as awkward and hopeless, and I also knew I was different. Social Anxiety, bullying in 6th grade through (college and eventually even grad school), hopelessness, depression, then substances, exercise, food, I tried so many things that worked for a long time to keep me numb and dissociated. Until it stopped working. Things would fall apart.
I became a Psychology major in college and continued on that intellectual pursuit in my further education (AM, U of Chicago, PEL School SW), internships, and then then later becoming EMDR-C, Polyvagal informed, Somatic Parts Work, and ongoing access to training. I have been in private practice for years, first as a sole proprietor, and now forming my company Liminal Horizons, PLLC. My personal connection to trauma healing has evolved. I became burnt out while working for with a community organization, with survivors of domestic violence in the Chicago (Cook County Centralized) DV Criminal Courthouse. For half a decade, counseling survivors and their children, and helping them navigate the unwelcoming and often overwhelming court system, as my office was in the courthouse; I was able to accompany survivors (both as plaintiff and defendant) through the entire process.
I took time off once I realized that I took work home (absorbed in my system) in a way that impacted my home life, and once I realized it was potentially impacting my role, I had to leave. At that point I understood that I had to focus on my own necessary healing, which clearly was imperative before I continued working as a clinician. My healing also took some time, and quite a bit of professional assistance, that I was fortunate to have access and the means to complete.
As I’ve arrived back into my LCSW role, I’ve become more educated about trauma specific therapies, which can be used for PTSD, complex trauma, as well as social and individual harm caused by simply living in today’s dangerous, social, political climate, with the increasing racism, bias, disconnection, unsafe and polluted environment. So many relational wounds, ancestral burdens, generational trauma that is left unheard and unseen (purposely in many cases). I want to engage in a larger (national, if not global) conversation and movement, for increasing mental health access and information.
I have, most recently come to realize the mind-body-spirit connection, has dramatically increased my toolbox, and regulation has had a positive impact for clients. I now use of polyvagal regulating activities, movement, yoga, safety cues, which allows me to help others now increase their psychological flexibility and level of distress tolerance, on multiple levels of individual and community healing. That is why being trauma informed with the most current science-based approaches is so close to my heart. I want to know what works, and what to do with whatever happens in the therapy room.
I have become a new person through my work personally and professionally. I love sharing that with others. We need those who would benefit from the health and mental health information, to have access to the information, clinical therapy, and supports that will reach those for whom it is most important: schools, school communities, families, and the people who literally are the future.