What can I say that I have not said before? So I’ll say it again. The leaf has a song in it. Stone is the face of patience. Inside the river there is an unfinishable story and you are somewhere in it and it will never end until all ends. - Mary Oliver, "What Can I Say"
Trauma-informed Mental Health Counseling in Vancouver, WA
Welcome! Perhaps you have a song inside you that’s been quiet for a while – or maybe you’re not even sure what it would sound like. In counseling, you’ll have the chance to explore your story and the song inside you.
Together we can explore how your story has influenced your present experience of the world and relationships. Change can be slow, and it may take time and patience, but in our work together, we’ll begin to nurture what is already within you.
Hi! I’m Hanna (she/her).
I counsel adults and adolescents (ages 15+) who may have experienced attachment wounds or trauma. As a result, they now feel stuck or disconnected in their relationships. Clients who see me often come in with symptoms of anxiety and depression. They may also struggle with the effects of religious trauma, perfectionism, and chronic illness.
I am trained in Story-Informed Trauma Therapy (SITT), developed by Byron Kehler, MS. Using the SITT framework, we’ll come to understand how your story – from birth to the present – informs your experience of life and the choices you make.
In addition to Story-Informed Trauma Therapy, I am training in EMDR and Somatic Attachment Therapy. Both of these approaches can help you experience freedom from the impacts of trauma. Using a variety of somatic approaches, we’ll explore how you feel emotions in your body. This means we’ll use experiential activities to engage with those emotions and internal experiences. In therapy, I’ll support you in developing your relationship with your body, your conscious awareness, and the wisdom that you have already inside you.
You are the expert on your story, and I work to help you uncover and enhance your strengths. I believe that safety and trust are the basis of our therapeutic relationship. We will work collaboratively toward your goals and the changes you hope to see in your life. Together we can find a rhythm of therapy that works for you.
I draw from a variety of evidence-based approaches, and I tailor treatment to fit you and your needs in a way that is trauma-informed. I come to counseling with a client-centered, strengths-based lens – you are always the expert on your story! My role is to support you by providing presence and a safe relationship where change can occur. Approaches I use may include:
Trauma occurs when our bodies, brains, and nervous systems don’t have enough resources to cope with what is happening to us. This could be a singular event – for example, being in a car accident or witnessing an act of violence. Trauma could also result from things like a challenging childhood, emotional neglect, or an abusive relationship.
The definition of trauma is quite broad, and your body may be carrying these past experiences, even if you hadn’t thought of them as traumatic. Trauma shows up in a variety of ways. You might have difficulty trusting others and feel reactive, like someone else is in the driver’s seat. You may notice puzzling physical symptoms like headaches, dizziness, or stomach pains unexplained by other illnesses. Feelings of being numb or “checked out” may also be familiar to you.
We will approach these sensations in a trauma-informed way so that you can begin to experience more freedom in your life.
Deconstruction & Religious Trauma
Perhaps you’re going through a faith change or deconstructing the belief systems you grew up in. Maybe you’ve recently left a religious community or are in the process of trying to decide whether or not to stay. Going through a such a major shift can reach far beyond where and how you choose to engage with spirituality. It can impact relationships with family and friends, your identity, even your vocation. As you try to sort through the confusion, you might notice feelings of shame, guilt, and fear. You might have a difficult time even walking through the doors of a place that once felt like home. We can create a place that’s safe for you to explore questions, doubts, and/or work through issues of spiritual abuse.
I know that your spirituality – especially when harm has been done – may be a tender and intensely personal part of you. I welcome discussions of faith in the counseling room, and I am guided by curiosity and a desire to understand this facet of your story. My hope is that your spiritual practices bring you comfort and meaning. If you want to bring that into counseling, we can work towards that together. And, as always, if you have any concerns, I’d love to talk with you.
Attachment theory explores the relationships we have with our earliest caregivers and how those patterns show up in our day-to-day lives. You might desire closeness in your relationships but feel that something is missing – you either pull away when people get too close or might feel incredibly anxious when a loved one feels distant. Or you might find yourself moving back and forth on that spectrum, never quite sure why. Together we can look at these patterns and gently begin to build a sense of internal safety and expand that to your other relationships so you can experience the intimacy and closeness you’ve been longing for.
While anxiety is a normal part of life, being stuck in a pattern of constant worry, chronic tension, and stress can significantly impact you. Many people have experienced more anxiety as the result of the pandemic and current world events, so you aren’t alone! We’ll look at how anxiety is working to protect you, your body, and the things you care about. We will work to learn new coping skills and different ways to tend to those anxious thoughts and sensations.
If you find yourself struggling to meet the high standards you’ve set or are constantly comparing yourself to others, you may be dealing with perfectionist tendencies. It could even look like putting things off until the last minute because you’re secretly worried that if you actually sit down to do the task, it won’t ever be good enough. Together we can look at the fears and beliefs that live under perfectionism and constant striving.
Other Treatment Areas
“Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves…And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”
– Rainer Maria Rilke