The feeling of safety IS the treatment.
~ Dr. Stephen Porges
A number of perspectives guide Sarah’s work. The following philosophies or frameworks form the foundation on which various therapies are implemented:
Sarah seeks to abide by the principles of trauma-informed care wherever possible or reasonable. These include consent, safety, choice, voice, empowerment/agency, trust, collaboration and compassion.
These principles are enhanced by the additional principles of trauma awareness (knowledge about the neuroscience and dynamics of trauma) and scope of practice (recognizing the limits of one’s scope and knowing when to refer).
Staged approaches to trauma treatment
As has often been said, recovering from trauma is like climbing Mount Everest – you don’t attempt the summit in flip flops and a t-shirt. Training, acclimatization and the proper gear are required.
Similarly, preparation involving safety, internal stabilization, self-regulation, and skill building typically occurs before moving into deeper trauma processing. Titrated, gradual exposure to resolve traumatic activation in smaller doses helps to build the capacity to work with and resolve bigger thresholds.
Also, helping parents, partners or caregivers work on their attunement, self-regulation, consistency, and ability to provide secure attachment is crucial to helping others (like children, youth, partners or other loved ones) recover from trauma as well.
Finally, therapeutic progress also may require addressing gaps in neurosequential development before being able to progress to other goals (for e.g., developing greater regulation in the brain stem may be necessary before attempting more cognitive strategies).
Sarah welcomes individuals regardless of religion/faith/belief system, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, culture, ethnicity, and ability.
If a particular background or issue is out of her scope of practice, she will refer to services or resources that are more specialized or relevant.
Also, racism, patriarchy, privilege and other forms of discrimination and power and control dynamics harm everyone, including those who have benefitted from them, whether unconsciously or not. Naming and addressing these inequities and other differences as they occur in the therapeutic relationship is an important part of fostering safety and trust.
Many traditional peoples refer to the medicine wheel as a framework that honours the different facets of life. This includes addressing and healing the mind, body, emotions, and spirit/soul (or, alternately, the mind, body, emotions, and relationships, with spirit/soul at the centre and nature/animals/culture/language/community on the outside).
Trauma recovery involves addressing disconnection and wounds at each of these levels, where relevant.