trauma Counselling

trauma Counselling

Many people face incredibly difficult situations and experiences that can alter their perspectives and challenge their entire way of thinking. These experiences create a void in their life and leave them grasping for answers.

Often, when victims of trauma are left untreated, they fall into a debilitating mental health condition where normal emotions are aggravated and overwhelmed by distress and intrusions – often in the form of FLASHBACKS, NIGHTMARES, MEMORIES or SENSATIONS.

Over time, these incidents become intensely painful for the individual and lead to instability and dysfunction in one’s day to day life.

There are two ways in which people come into contact with trauma, a one-time powerful incident or from chronic exposure to repeated traumatic events

One-time powerful incident Chronic exposure to repeated traumatic events
Rape Combat experience
Assault Child abuse
Exposure to catastrophic events Neglect
Violence or death Domestic violence
Injuries or illness First responder situations

These incidents threaten our sense of safety, esteem, identity or life, which can lead to depression, anxiety, addiction, emotional numbness or other dissociative disorders.

At River’s Edge Counselling Centre, we have a full team of therapists that work with people impacted by many different types of trauma.  Trauma therapy sessions are available in a safe, comfortable and understanding, one-on-one atmosphere.

Trauma Counselling Can Help You:

  • Learn new strategies and coping techniques for relaxation and managing distress associated with the trauma

  • Cope effectively with daily stressors

  • Identify and manage triggers

  • Integrate memories to relieve traumatic stress

  • Gain a sense of peace and hope from the effects of trauma

  • Facilitate transformation of trauma into a story of survival

  • Increase internal strength and motivation

  • Facilitate stronger interpersonal relationships

If you’ve been affected by trauma and you’re still experiencing these
signs after a “reasonable” period of time, trauma counselling should
be considered:

  • Constant feeling of Shock, denial, or disbelief

  • You’re prone to anger, irritability or mood swings

  • You feel guilty, ashamed or you self-blame for something

  • You feel sad or hopeless after going through a traumatic incident

  • You’re confused or having difficulty concentrating

  • Anxiety and fear are impacting your life

  • You’re withdrawing from friends, family or loved ones

  • You feel disconnected or numb a lot of the time

  • You’re experiencing Insomnia or nightmares

  • You find yourself being startled easily

  • Your heartbeat races for no reason

  • You’re body has unexplained aches, pains and fatigue

Other Helpful Resources


To start counselling now:

resources for Trauma

meet our trauma counsellors

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Petal Murti
I have worked with individuals of all ages and areas of work (military, RCMP, victims of violence and abuse, victims of crime) that display symptoms of PTSD and Complex PTSD... read more
I have been working with and studying trauma work for approximately 5 years. Trauma seems to spill over into many different areas of practice and can result in many of the struggles that we face. I work from the perspective of the Triphasic model which incorporates a three phase process of therapy (stabilization, re-membering, and reintergration). I combine this approach with Cognitive Behavior Trauma Therapy, Narrative Therapy, mindfulness, and EMDR. All those models include a degree of psycho-education and building of awareness of one’s symptoms, how they function and are aggravated, as well as coping strategies that are coordinated to the individual needs and perspective of the patient. From this foundation one can process through the physiological and emotional pain of trauma and reintegrate these stories into their lives in a more adaptive way. Petal's Full Bio

Jasmine Fulks
I have dedicated a good portion of my career and training to understanding and assisting those who have suffered from trauma and traumatic events... read more
I use a variety of tools and interventions such as a tri-phasic approach, mindfulness, grounding techniques, and prolonged exposure to integrate the traumatic response and reduce emotional distress. I have experience working with military personnel, first responders (paramedics, fire-fighters, and police) who are suffering from PTSD. I am an authorized provider from Veteran Affairs and am able to direct bill for those that have been approved. Jasmine's Full Bio

Dr. Olive Okraku
I have experience working with child soldiers, children and adults who have experienced various life stressors, sexual abuse, and assault, neglect, abandonment, witnessed violence, kidnapped and were tortured during wars. Trauma is experienced and interpreted differently by each more
Therefore, what could be traumatic for one person, may not be traumatic for the other. My focus when working with individuals who experienced trauma is to validate and process the experiences by using CBT techniques (e.g. psychoeducation, exposure, relaxation) or EMDR to provide symptom relief and enable a better quality of life. I also focus on identifying an individual’s internal and external resilience and coping resources and assist them in rebuilding their lives instead of being overshadowed with trauma. Dr. Olive's Full Bio

Petrina Runke
When emotional and physical pain and suffering stems from trauma, it can feel as though one’s life has been turned upside down, and can create feelings of hopelessness... read more
Trauma has a profound, enduring impact on emotional and mental wellbeing. I have focused much of my counselling career on developing my understanding and skills in working with individuals that have experienced trauma. I primarily use Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR), which has been established as an effective and efficient form of treatment for trauma and post-traumatic-stress-disorder (PTSD), and reduces distressing symptoms and improves overall wellbeing. I also incorporate hypnosis techniques to assist individuals in achieving relaxation, personal insight, wellness and inner calm. Petrina’s Full Bio

Lori Tiemer
Experiencing traumatic events, whether in the past or recently, can affect us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. That is why I believe in a holistic approach to trauma therapy... read more
It is important to learn stress management and emotional regulation techniques in order to move away from being stuck in a constant state of stress response (fight or flight). Processing and integrating traumatic events will occur gradually and within the safety of a collaborative therapeutic relationship. I have taken training related to prolonged exposure therapy as well as trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy and have worked with adults diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and acute stress disorder.
Lori's Full Bio

Charlene Remenda-Madra
The thinking comes last.
Charlene works with trauma from a bottom-up approach “from the toes to the head.” A body-centered or somatic approach is particularly well-suited to healing trauma as the symptoms are stored in the body... read more
Charlene has experience in the areas of early developmental and emotional trauma, motor vehicle accidents, shock trauma, sexual abuse and is currently enrolled in a specialized three-year body-oriented approach to the healing of trauma called Somatic Experiencing, or SE™, She completed a four-year post-graduate program in Integrative Body Psychotherapy (IBP) with a strong focus on early developmental trauma and attachment injuries. IBP is a comprehensive body-centered model of therapy that combines breathing, movement and presence to gain access to the wisdom of the body – something that is often interrupted, no longer accessible or just too scary to connect to after a traumatic event or series of traumatic injuries. Charlene is compassionate, emotionally present and takes a gentle approach to working with individuals. Charlene's Full Bio

Laura Byrtus
Often when people experience trauma, they proceed through life with a greater level of fear than others might. This fear can lead to many difficulties, including explosive anger, anxiety, addictions, and difficulty trusting others... read more
I have worked extensively with histories of trauma, including physical abuse, psychological abuse, sexual abuse (i.e., childhood sexual abuse, incest, and/or rape), war, and criminal activity. I have found that clients who are willing to explore these histories are able to gain a better understanding of their past’s impact on present functioning. My goal in working with trauma is to get to a point in which the client can “let go” of the past and move forward with a healthier, more fulfilling life.Laura's Full Bio

Andrea Thrall
Experiencing trauma, whether in childhood or through upsetting events later in life, can have a lasting impact on many aspects of our wellbeing. The process of healing after trauma is unique to each person, though I keep in mind a broad framework of phases... read more
First, I support individuals to strengthen their ability to effectively cope with difficult emotions, then we work together to process and integrate traumatic memories. Lastly, we strive to restore a sense of connection to community and to find meaning in personal activities. By working together in a safe space, we can use therapy as an opportunity to move beyond hurt and into a place of acceptance and healing. Andrea's Full Bio

Ramona Kotke Gapp
My experience with treating trauma includes a vast array of issues including childhood sexual abuse, rape, war, terrorism, natural disasters, motor vehicle accidents, and complicated grief. I am trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) which is the therapy of choice for posttraumatic stress disorder. My approach is compassionate and my focus is your more
Before processing any trauma experience in session I will ensure you have resources to ground yourself and self-soothe. I teach relaxation techniques, mindfulness and encourage meditation and yoga practice to promote wellness. At the completion of EMDR therapy, painful memories that used to create a dramatic body response when brought to mind, now feel neutral and you can now apply positive beliefs about yourself when bringing the memory to mind such as “I am okay now” or “That was awful and I am strong". Ramona's Full Bio

Danielle Moody
Unfortunately, trauma can happen to any one of us and sometimes, more than once which can lead to what is often called "complex trauma." This can lead to all kinds of unwanted thoughts, feelings, behaviours and body sensations that we might not realize is a result of the unfortunate experience(s) we have had. more
When I work with these kinds of issues in therapy, I draw from evidence-based therapies to help individuals recover and ultimately, reclaim their lives. I also believe that the body holds a tremendous amount of wisdom and can be an important resource and conduit of healing, if we are open to listening to it. Danielle’s Full Bio

Sue Temme
Working with clients who have experienced trauma is a strong focus for my work. Traumatic responses can be instigated by many events such as the death of a loved one, a car accident, abuse or any other distressing event that causes one to feel threatened, anxious or scared. more
You may have post-traumatic stress if you experience flashbacks of the distressing event, feel triggered by or avoid certain places or peoples, experience nightmares, have difficulty sleeping or concentrating, feel jumpy or are easily irritated or angered. If you feel your living is limited due to these or similar symptoms, you may consider beginning trauma work. When beginning to work on a traumatic experience you may notice a feeling or sense that things are worse initially. This occurs when memories or emotions that were buried deep and not acknowledged are brought back to the surface once more. I realize that this work is not easy and requires bravery and trust. For this reason, our first step is to develop a feeling of trust and safety in the counselling relationship. We will work on anxiety reducing techniques and increase your ability to step into a controlled and partial part of the trauma and come to a feeling of relaxation afterwards. When working with you, you will be in the driver’s seat at all times, and I will work as a guide and helper along-side you. My main modality for working with trauma is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). This is an empirically supported technique used to help lessen the strength of the triggers that develop or the associations that leave us feeling easily toppled. Using this method in therapy I can help you reprocess traumatic memories and decrease or remove their negative influence in your life. If you don’t feel you have post-traumatic stress disorder but feel triggered or overtaken when you are in a specific situation or think of a specific event, EMDR may also be helpful for you. Traumatic memories are distinct from ‘normal’ memories in that they feel more real, like recordings of the event that can be replayed. EMDR helps integrate the realistic part of the trauma memory so that, like all other memories, the details fade and only a partial narrative with flashes of realism remain—in such a way that they no longer ‘spontaneously’ invade your mind when you don’t want them to. Once this is achieved, the symptoms of traumatic memories leave or diminish, and the power the memory once had over you is taken away from the traumatic event. Another vital element of choosing to do trauma work is that left unchecked, traumatic memories can guide how we live by leading us to avoid certain people, areas, or activities, thus making our world smaller and scarier. Over time, these limitations we put on our lives to cope with the power the trauma has over us can shape a smaller world, and that means a world that looks scarier and causes more anxiety and sadness than is objectively real. Interrupting this process by engaging in trauma work as early as you think you can manage is an important decision. If you feel you have already waited too long, you may be in a place where you are making lifestyle choices you are unhappy with but feel you can’t stop making. Trauma can feel overwhelming but the truth is that the impacts of trauma are some of the most changeable psychological aspects most receptive to therapeutic work. Together in counselling you can work towards becoming the self you were meant to be. Sue’s Full Bio

Lisa McMorrow
Trauma creates change you don’t choose. Healing is about creating change you do choose.” The effect of trauma is not something we choose, yet it is something we are faced with and it can interfere with the quality of our daily more
After experiencing trauma, we may be more fearful or carry with us a deep sense of shame, regret or guilt. To us, what used to be ordinary and part of our regular routine may seem overwhelming, even unsafe and the familiar foundation we were able to depend on is now unfamiliar and unsteady. The good news is that healing from trauma is possible. In session I strive to offer a safe space to compassionately address trauma in an integrative and sensitive way. I also consider the unique qualities and needs of each individual and will introduce art-based strategies if needed. Lisa's Full Bio

Renée Dangerfield
Research has shown that when trauma is not resolved or healed specific experiences (related to the senses that were activated during the traumatic event) may get re-activated for a long more
When our brain continues to function in state of hyper-vigilance (fight, flight, freeze), we may not feel physically or emotionally safe and may struggle to have a feeling of well-being. Trauma-informed approaches to therapy should always include: choice and collaboration to support you to gain a sense of trust, safety, and empowerment.Renée's Full Bio

the right fit

At River’s Edge Counselling Centre, we work with each new client to ensure they are matched to the right therapist. See how we do it: