Has trauma changed your relationships?

I specialize in: aquired brain injury, couples, the impact of brain injury on couples and families, trauma and anxiety.

About Barbara Erickson, MA

After years of working with individuals and families who have experienced trauma, I have become acutely aware of the impact that trauma has on survivors and their support systems.

We do not exist in isolation. Everything we do has an affect of someone or something.  So it is, that trauma survivors are changed by the trauma, and so are the people in their support system. I believe that not only is this support system impacted by trauma, but it can be one of the greatest avenues for healing from trauma.

Trauma symptoms such as emotional numbing, heightened irritability, difficulty trusting, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, anxiety and depression challenge the functioning of the relationships within the support system. As part of a vicious cycle, trauma symptoms cause relationship distress and relationship stress can increase trauma symptoms.

Although this is an all too common pattern, it doesn’t have to be this way.


Psychological trauma is the result of an extremely distressing event for which the person is unprepared and unable to cope…



I believe that by strengthening, building and maintaining a healthy support system for trauma survivors that the capacity to heal will improve. We cannot heal in isolation…


Latest News

Metaphor – Mindfulness Day 28

Metaphor is a figure of speech used to compare the similarity of two things. I find that using metaphor in therapy can be an excellent way to expand a person’s perspective and gain additional insight. Our bodies are often a metaphor for our thoughts and emotions. For instance our shoulders might rise and our muscles may contract when we are feeling “uptight”. We can then often tap into our physical bodies as we look to identify what we are feeling emotionally. As clients are looking to increase their sense of connection and grounding, I may have them tap into their legs and imagine the image of a tree with it’s roots into the earth. The tree is strong, flexible and connected with the earth. We can also use concepts with which we are very familiar to better understand or visualize those that are more difficult to grasp or communicate. For instance grief can come in spells. Sometimes the sun is shining and you are looking forward to what the future might bring and then a memory comes up and a cloud passes over the sun, feeling sadness and grief for a spell. For some people this image allows them to embrace the transient nature of grief and that it comes and goes. They can learn through the imagery to expect clouds to cover the sun at times and they also anticipate the it will not last forever. Last year for Brain Injury Awareness month I took on a challenge which I called Metaphors of Brain Injury. I encouraged people to come up with metaphors to help others better understand... read more

Relationships – Mindfulness Day 27

With whom do you choose to spend your time? Think of the four or five people who are the most frequent players in your life. Are they family, friends, or co-workers? How is it that you spend time with these people? Do you choose the time you spend with them? How do they influence your life? Who are you when you are with them? The relationships we create with others are a huge part of who we are in the world. I suppose that it why therapists so often look at those primary relationships we had or have with our parents, when we were learning how to be in the world. If I am counselling someone in regards to a relationship, I find there can be a tendency to blame or credit the other person for their influence. This perspective can lead to a sense of helplessness as the person waits for the other person to change, or relies on that person to maintain their current state. In order to empower the person who is assessing that relationship, I will often direct their attention toward their own behaviours and reaction patterns within the relationship. It is their behaviours over which they have control and where they have the power to influence the dynamics of the relationship. Day 27: Be mindful of the primary relationships in your life. As you think of these four or five people who have such a influential role in your life, think about who you are when you are with them. Do you like who you are? How do you choose your behaviours differently when... read more

Times Passes – Mindfulness Day 26

Today when I woke up I was aware that I am getting close to the end of this 30 day commitment in honour of Brain Injury Awareness Month. I admit there is a part of me that will be relieved to take the pressure off of coming up with a new and insightful mindful moment every day. There have been many days where this was easy and also those where it truly has been a challenge. Overall I have really enjoyed the opportunity to immerse myself in the varied ways that I can invite mindfulness into my life. So today I wanted to be mindful of time. Mindful of its passing, or the anticipation of its passing, of clock watching, and of schedules. What ways do you structure your thoughts and feelings based on what time it is? Are you always aware of the time? Do you wear a time piece, and if so, how often do you refer to this object. Do you ever look at the time and then find yourself doing so just minutes later, realizing that you so quickly forgot or needed reassurance again? Mindfulness is about being in the present moment. Right now as opposed to the future or past. Being mindful of time is a great way to encourage your mind into the present, even if your present moment is noting that your are once again looking at the clock in anticipation of what will come next. Day 26: Be mindful of time. What time does your alarm clock go off? How do you structure your day? Do you base your meals on... read more