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.

UNDERSTANDING TRAUMA

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

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SYSTEMIC APPROACH

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…

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Latest News

Hey Mom, Dad Look! – Mindfulness Day 25

Children interact with the world in a different way than adults. I suspect part of this interaction is the beginner’s mind that mindfulness attempts to foster. If you were to look through the eyes of a child you might be more likely to see a monster in your closet, but you might also be more able to see the magic in a rainbow. Think about how often, when we see something cool in life, we want to share it with a child. When a child sees a rainbow, there is excitement and magic, there is gold and a leprechaun. Through the child’s eyes you can tap into the wonder and excitement of the world. Today let’s be mindful of that child-like wonder. Watch children today as they interact with the world and be mindful of their wonder. Notice if it allows you to tap into your own wonder and be mindful of what that feels like. As you observe interesting or amazing things today allow your inner child to react and interact. Be mindful of the way in which this changes your perspective. Day 25: Be mindful of wonder and magic today. Notice how naturally that happens as you pay attention to the perspective of children. Be mindful of how this experience alters your perception of the world and how it impacts the way you experience a moment. Notice the rainbows and sparkles, the caterpillar that magically becomes a butterfly. Wonder at the ability of a plane to take off into the sky, or the speed and the awe of a firetruck. Take time today to notice and appreciate... read more

I’m Touched – Mindfulness Day 24

The phrase “I’m touched” is often used to describe the emotional impact of a gesture made by another person. It also leads me to believe that feeling touched is a good thing. I notice that when I rub my grandmother’s shoulders, she sighs and says how good it feels to be touched. She lives alone and does not share her physical space with another person, so is very aware of the enjoyment her body feels when touched. Some of us who live with others or spend time in busy crowded environments may not be so keenly aware of the sensations of physical touch. Throughout our days we have many interactions with others that involve touch. When someone makes change, they will often brush our hand as they give us our money. When someone is sad we might put our hand on their back or shoulder. When we meet another person we will often shake hands or hug. We might hold hands with our children or spouse. In close quarters, we may bump into another person. Playing sports we will often have contact with another. We might pay someone for physical therapy such as massage or chiropractic. Day 24: Today, pay attention to the physical contact you have with others. Is the touch conscious or unconscious? What type of contact is comfortable for you? What type of contact brings you joy? Is there any contact you prefer to avoid? Do the contacts you have with others impact your emotions? Be mindful of physical contact with others... read more

Don’t Freeze Me Out. . . Mindfulness Day 23

Temperature is a another great area of mindfulness practice. It is constantly shifting and there are many exposures throughout the day to which you might draw your attention into the present moment. Heat and cold can also be associated with different emotions or constructs. For instance heat is often used to soothe, such as in a cup of hot tea or a warm bath. And cold can be refreshing such as an icy drink on a hot day or after a workout. Heat can also be overwhelming or exhausting at times and cold can be chilling or isolating. In the extremes, heat and cold can be life threatening, but the subtleties of a typical day are more or less navigated without much attention. We will often notice a temperature shift as we enter or leave a building or as we walk between the sunny side or the shady side of the street. The route we decide to walk, the activities in which we decide to partake and the clothes we choose to wear are all based in part on our assessment of temperature. Today let’s be mindful of all the ways in which temperature influences our lives. Day 23: Be mindful of temperature. Notice the shifts throughout out your day of the environmental temperature. Be aware of air conditioning and how it feels on your skin. Is it a relief, or does it give you a chill? Notice if you have a cup of coffee or tea, attend to the warmth feel in your mouth and the steam as it tickles your nose and face. What about the breeze, is it... read more