NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Adults Who Were Traumatized As Children Often Fear Their Emotions

Many people, especially people who were traumatized as children, are afraid to feel the full range of their feelings, especially feelings they're uncomfortable with.   If they feel sad, angry, fearful, hurt, or ashamed, they often want to do whatever they can to suppress and avoid sensing these feelings.  

Adults Who Were Traumatized as Children Often Fear Their Emotions

Being willing to feel all their feelings, and not just the ones they feel comfortable with, isn't easy.  Of course, it's understandable that most of us would rather experience happy feelings, but it's not humanly possible to always feel happy.  So, it's important to develop the capacity to feel, tolerate and accept all feelings rather than pushing them down.

Since this is such a big topic for one blog, this is Part 1, and I'll continue to discuss this topic in future blog posts.

Adults Who Were Traumatized As Children Often Fear Their Emotions
Many adults, who were traumatized as children, have vivid memories of feeling completely overwhelmed by a traumatic event in their lives.

In many cases, there was no one to help them, as children, to get through the trauma, so they were left on their own to deal with overwhelming events.  Or, even if there were adults around, the adults might have been overwhelmed themselves by the event (or events) and didn't have the capacity to help.

Young children, who are traumatized without anyone to help them, have limited capacity to deal with their overwhelming feelings.  In order to survive emotionally and, sometimes, physically, these children learned to suppress their overwhelming feelings to protect themselves.  At that point in their lives, it might have been the only thing they could do.  And, at the time, it was an adaptive thing to do, given the limited options.

The problem is that, when these same children grow up and they're adults, what was adaptive when they were children is no longer adaptive.  As adults, suppressing feelings can cause a variety of physical, emotional and interpersonal problems, which I will discuss in a future blog post.

What these adults often don't realize is that now that they are adults, they can develop more of an emotional capacity to deal with trauma, especially if they work with a therapist who has expertise in working with trauma.

Getting Help in Therapy
One of my specialties is working with trauma.  

I have worked with many traumatized adults who have suppressed uncomfortable feelings for most of their lives.  They often come to see me for therapy when they've discovered that continuing to suppress feelings causes problems on many levels for them.  Even though they wanted to change, they didn't know how before they came to therapy, especially after they spent so many years pushing their feelings down.

Over the years, I have learned and developed many different ways of working with trauma so that I can tailor each treatment to the needs of each client.  Aside from talk therapy, I have found mind-body oriented psychotherapy, like EMDR, Somatic Experiencing and clinical hypnosis to be effective in helping clients to overcome trauma, even clients who have tried to overcome these problems in therapy for many years.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist.

I find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.