Loss and Trauma Therapy

It is unfortunate that many people experience traumatic events, such as illness, domestic violence, abuse or rape, violent crime, natural disasters, war, terrorism, death of loved ones and divorce under traumatic circumstances. Trauma can be attributed to experiences that are substantially distressing or disturbing to a human body and mind. People can experience trauma at different points of their lives. Trauma impacts people differently depending on their personalities and previous experiences, as well as the level of trauma they experience. Some traumas impact our lives mildly and some significantly. For example, repeated negative statements of a parent towards a child can cause him mild trauma. If a child or an adult witnesses a death of a loved one, the experience of this loss can potentially create a traumatic effect lasting a lifetime. Events, which dramatically change a person’s life by altering its course, can represent significant traumatic experience for the person’s mind or/and body. As a result of trauma, a person can experience a strong sense of loss and depression. 

A loss of a parent or spouse due to death, divorce or abandonment can have a traumatic effect on a person. There is a cumulative effect of several minor traumas occurring at about the same time that can also have devastating emotional consequences. For example, the person was able to deal with divorce and loss of a job, but when after a month of relatively normal functioning, her dog died in an accident, she felt that she was emotionally collapsing all along, although the symptoms of trauma and loss appeared only after the dog’s death. With empathy and great attention, Dr. Levi examines the client’s history and impact of different traumas on the person’s life. Dr. Levi’s Therapy of Trauma and Loss is based on Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), which is a psychosocial treatment model that includes components of cognitive-behavioral, attachment, humanistic, empowerment, and family therapy models. The treatment components are provided in a flexible manner to treat the unique needs of each person. Dr. Levi considers ethnic, cultural and other differences and creates a respectful and emotionally supportive environment for all her clients. There is a strong scientific evidence that this therapy, utilized by Dr. Levi, is effective in alleviating trauma symptoms and helping patients recover from different traumas in their lives. 

After a person suffers from trauma, in order to continue adequately dealing with his daily stressors, he unconsciously represses the painful memories relating to his traumatic experience. The conscious part of the mind is left with bits and pieces of the experience that it is not ready to accept. As a result, a conflict between the conscious mind and the repressed painful memories becomes evident. A person constantly tries to project himself/herself as a well behaved, successful man/woman desired by the society. However, the image of effectiveness comes at the expense of an internal struggle, whose purpose is to prevent the negative feelings from coming to surface. The purpose of Dr. Levi's therapy for trauma is to lessen the maladaptive symptoms and to reduce the internal struggle of controlling and repressing the personal trauma. Dr. Levi and her clients explore the suppressed experiences in a gradual and emotionally safe manner that eventually helps clients come to terms with their feelings. 

Dr. Levi's therapy consists of several therapeutic interventions. Dr. Levi provides psychoeducation about the impact of trauma and loss and common reactions. Next, coping skills are taught to optimize emotional and behavioral adjustment. The client develops more stress management skills through relaxation, imagery, systematic desensitization, etc. Dr. Levi promotes affective expression and management so that clients can cope with different emotions. Through cognitive processing, Dr. Levi’s clients explore connections between thoughts, feelings and behaviors and modify unhelpful thoughts.  Dr. Levi creates an atmosphere where sharing of personal traumatic experiences happens. People tend to avoid situations that trigger traumatic memories, such as driving a car if they have been in a traumatic car accident. Dr. Levi helps clients take control over situations that remind them of the original trauma so that they would not have to avoid situations that are no longer dangerous. Family, partner or child-parent sessions may help clients talk to each other about their traumatic experience and support each other. During the final phase of treatment, Dr. Levi assists clients in re-building emotional safety within and around them so that future individual and family growth can continue and bring long-term positive results.

"Traumatic events are extraordinary, not because they occur rarely, but rather because they overwhelm the ordinary human adaptations to life.”  — Judith Herman, in Trauma and Recovery. When trauma and loss make a severe impact on human beings, a well-trained psychologist is needed to help patients gain emotional and mental strength to go through their life’s challenges.