The Empowered Therapist

The Empowered Therapist Helping humans heal through validation, embodied practices, and empowered healing strategies
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We come by our relational way of being honestly. And as we are able, we need to begin to shift out of relational fear an...
01/25/2024

We come by our relational way of being honestly. And as we are able, we need to begin to shift out of relational fear and into ourselves.

When we can begin to trust that someone else being for them isn’t an immediate threat to us, our relationship, and our sense of safety, we make space for each person to be more honest and more present in our relationships.

Healing is possible. We can tend to our wounds without forever being stuck in our patterns.

To those of you breaking free from the patterns instilled in you when you were young, I see you.

It’s all about letting the full truth exist. Having endured something that was too much, too fast, or not enough for too...
01/24/2024

It’s all about letting the full truth exist. Having endured something that was too much, too fast, or not enough for too long certainly impacted the way you experience the world today.

And yet, healing is possible.

We can begin to notice the small shifts in our physiology. We can attend to the felt sense of safety around us. We can see how things aren’t now how they always were.

As you are able, expand your narrative. Allow so much more of yourself to take up space.

To those of you learning to be in the here and now with all of your reality, I see you.

Some new ideas for you for when you’re needing to feel resourced.To those of you seeking safety within yourselves, I see...
01/23/2024

Some new ideas for you for when you’re needing to feel resourced.

To those of you seeking safety within yourselves, I see you.

It’s helpful if we make changes from a place of acceptance rather than rejection. When we can be understanding of the pa...
01/22/2024

It’s helpful if we make changes from a place of acceptance rather than rejection. When we can be understanding of the parts of us we dislike, then we can begin to soften to ourselves. When we see ourselves more holistically, rather than in fragmented parts, we can see that there are plenty of good things about us that can bolster and support the parts of us that we strongly desire to shift.

In order to change something about ourselves we often have to first acknowledge how this part of us came to be. When we can see our less favorable parts as a function of survival, then we can begin to thank these parts for the job they’ve served. Screaming at ourselves won’t help us to change, in fact, self-rejection and self-loathing will only reinforce the parts of us we most desire to change.

What if your patterns are there for good reason? What if you’ve just been doing what you’ve known? What if you didn’t know these cycles existed before now? What if you’ve been doing the best you can and these critical parts were taking care of you until you really learned how to tend to yourself?

There is always a story with more of you in it.

To those of you learning to be with, and soften to yourselves, I see you.

If you feel worse before you feel better, it’s likely because you are feeling more than you ever have. This is the ultim...
01/19/2024

If you feel worse before you feel better, it’s likely because you are feeling more than you ever have. This is the ultimate, “the only way out is through.”

This is why healing has to be slow and measured. This is why we have to move at the pace of your nervous system. This is why learning to be present is so hard and yet, so critically important for our healing.

As dissociation becomes less of the norm, you will begin noticing things your trauma had you overlook. It makes sense to be more impacted by your environment when you are safe enough to actually attend to what’s around you.

When threat isn’t the only thing in our life, we can begin to take up more space- and taking up more space is often really scary if you survived by staying small and hidden.

To those of you learning to tolerate the day-to-day so you can feel safer and more grounded, I see you.

Healing can be lonely. Sometimes while we are working on us we outgrow the people we are around. Sometimes in order to r...
01/18/2024

Healing can be lonely. Sometimes while we are working on us we outgrow the people we are around. Sometimes in order to really embody the changes we want to see and feel we have to move beyond our current contexts.

Often, to get unstuck we have to shift out of stuck places and relationships. Allow yourself to grieve the changes that accompany healing so you can fully embrace the healthy, positive relationships and experiences that come from it, too.

To those of you letting go of what no longer serves you, I see you.

You make sense.To those of you trying to understand yourselves and your nervous systems, I see you.
01/17/2024

You make sense.

To those of you trying to understand yourselves and your nervous systems, I see you.

We do what we know until we learn how to be a different way, and the same is true for our nervous systems. Healing is ab...
01/15/2024

We do what we know until we learn how to be a different way, and the same is true for our nervous systems. Healing is about expansion; it’s about allowing all of you to exist. Healing helps your brain and body to see that things aren’t always how they once were.

Finding your way home to yourself helps you to find safety in places you once didn’t know safety could exist.

To those of you yearning to be free from your trauma responses, I see you.

We learn about relationships from our caregivers. We receive explicit and implicit messaging about our perceived worth a...
01/12/2024

We learn about relationships from our caregivers. We receive explicit and implicit messaging about our perceived worth and value throughout our childhood. We do what we know, and we only know what we’ve seen and experienced firsthand.

The person we are in relationships is highly influenced by the emotional well-being of the people meant to show us how to exist in this world. Who you are as a relational being, well, you come by it honestly.

And here’s the thing, if you weren’t taught to have standards, expectations, boundaries, hopes, and desires- all that shows itself in your adult relationships.

When we don’t even know to expect kindness; when we aren’t sure we can counter someone’s perspective; when we don’t know we can ask for more when we’re receiving less, we often find ourselves in unfulfilling relationships. If our sense of self doesn’t get to fully form then a condensed version of us is the one who is seeking out partners. And if we’re only in touch with a part of ourselves, then we may not feel totally able, or resourced enough, to walk away from the relationships that no longer serve us.

To those of you beginning to realize what you need and want in your relationships, I see you.

Sometimes clarity comes later. Sometimes pain isn’t felt until the harm is over. Sometimes we don’t know something is a ...
01/11/2024

Sometimes clarity comes later. Sometimes pain isn’t felt until the harm is over. Sometimes we don’t know something is a problem until we experience something new or different.

So many of us spent our childhoods enduring, which means that we likely didn’t get to see what a healthy relationship looks like. And if we were busy tolerating our environment, we likely didn’t recognize all the ways that what we were feeling just wasn’t right. If all we’ve known is harmful, unhealthy relationships, then we are unlikely to see the relational problems that exist in our current connections.

It can be really eye-opening when someone treats you differently than you’ve ever been treated. Grief can immediately feel present when someone is soft with you in places others have always been hard. We may feel flooded with recognition of our trauma if someone responds to us in a reasonable way following a lifetime of people under and over-reacting.

We might feel caught off-guard by kindness. We might feel shocked when an exchange is honest and easy. We might feel overwhelmed by our awareness that things didn’t have to be the way they always have been.

Trauma doesn’t have to be the norm. Pain doesn’t have to exist everywhere. Your guard doesn’t always have to be up.

To those of you learning what trauma looks and feels like in your relationships, I see you.

Let’s discuss.If we experienced physical or emotional abandonment in childhood, we’re likely to carry this attachment wo...
01/10/2024

Let’s discuss.

If we experienced physical or emotional abandonment in childhood, we’re likely to carry this attachment wound with us into our adult relationships. And if this wound feels present, we may exist in a fearful place. We may find ourselves fearing abandonment at the first inkling of rupture or disconnection.

It makes sense that our childhood wounds would continue to exist. It’s understandable that you would fear what happened to you before, happening again. And this is where differentiation is so critically important. This is why we must tend to the younger, aching parts of us that are still hurting after all these years.

We are wired for survival and our brains have a negativity bias. Meaning, we’re often looking for threat everywhere. Couple this with previous relational trauma or attachment wounds, and it makes sense why you would FEEL abandoned when someone leaves. If your child self was abandoned, the parts of you that had to survive that ache may become really loud when a peer chooses to go.

Here's the thing: People may leave, and that doesn’t automatically mean you’re being abandoned. I know, it’s hard to believe that these are two separate things, but they are. Please note, your pain and hurt when someone leaves is so real and so valid. And yet, this still doesn’t mean you’ve been abandoned. It simply means they left, and you’re hurting.

This nuance is important because it allows multiple things to be true at the same time. They left and I’m hurting. They did what they needed to do for themselves, and I dislike this outcome. I’m upset and I’m also going to be okay.

To those of you working to allow both your truths and other people’s truths to co-exist, I see you.

To those of you beginning to break the patterns you developed, in order to survive your upbringing, I see you.
01/09/2024

To those of you beginning to break the patterns you developed, in order to survive your upbringing, I see you.

If you struggle with breakups, or if you are in the midst of a breakup, this message is for you.Dear ones, let your hear...
01/08/2024

If you struggle with breakups, or if you are in the midst of a breakup, this message is for you.

Dear ones, let your heart ache. Grieve. Cry. Allow all of your feelings to fully take up residence in your body. Take the time you need to heal before moving on to someone else.

And, also allow yourself to believe that you are, and will be okay. Sometimes we get so fixated on the other person that we forget to acknowledge the us that exists (and always did exist) outside of them. Staying stuck in your belief that the relationship shouldn’t have ended only keeps you pursuing something that is already over. And turning towards what is behind you, rather than looking at what is right in front of you only keeps you disconnected from yourself.

And if you long for connection with someone else more than you long for connection with yourself, well, I guess you know the next layer of work you need to do.

To those of you longing for someone else while parts of you long for you to notice yourself, I see you.

Our brains and bodies do what they know, and if we got accustomed to dysregulation, anything resembling regulation or st...
01/05/2024

Our brains and bodies do what they know, and if we got accustomed to dysregulation, anything resembling regulation or stabilization might sound the alarms inside of us. The quiet, calmness that can some with relative safety can feel profoundly unsettling. If we got used to the crashing waves of chaos, the steady water might create chaos inside of us.

Your body makes sense, and so do the trauma responses that are alive and well inside of you. Part of healing is letting those trauma responses play out. It’s letting yourself complete the activation cycle and notice that you are no longer where you once were. Part of healing is allowing yourself to be responsive to the here-and-now, rather than chronically activated and responsive from back then.

We can leave the trauma responses in the past. We can allow ourselves to live in the present.

To those of you riding the wave of your own activation, day in and day out, I see you.

Creating internal safety is key for healing, which is why befriending yourself, softening to your experience, and honori...
01/03/2024

Creating internal safety is key for healing, which is why befriending yourself, softening to your experience, and honoring your capacity are all a necessary part of healing and recovery work.

We can’t hate ourselves whole, and following trauma, we need to be intentional about lovingly putting all of our fragmented parts back together.

To those of you seeking safety with yourself, I see you.

I get it, hope will have us caught off guard every time.When we’re more attached to a *potential* outcome than we are to...
01/02/2024

I get it, hope will have us caught off guard every time.

When we’re more attached to a *potential* outcome than we are to the reality of who someone is, we may find ourselves feeling surprised when their behavior isn’t something we would hope for. When we have more hope in their potential than we do in ourselves, we might experience each and every let down as a separate occurrence. When we yearn for things to be different while overlooking what is right in front of us, we may be likely to blame ourselves when people show up in the same way they always have.

As you are able, come to see yourself and others clearly. Allow yourself to grieve your disappointment rather than reject your reality. Take time to look at your relationships and assess if the dynamics are really working for you. When you’re ready, let your knowing bring you clarity. Allow yourself to see what’s been there all along.

To those of you feeling caught off guard by the patterns in your relationships, I see you.

When we don’t communicate clearly, we aren’t likely to get our needs met. When we aren’t direct, we aren’t likely to be ...
12/29/2023

When we don’t communicate clearly, we aren’t likely to get our needs met. When we aren’t direct, we aren’t likely to be heard. When we don’t share honestly about how we’re feeling, and rather, we expect someone to read between the lines, then we aren’t likely to have the sort of relationships we’ve always been longing for.

If our childhood environment was unsafe, we may have developed an interpersonal style where we engage in passive aggressive or manipulative strategies for connection, especially if honesty felt too risky or unheard of. Sometimes the strategies we develop when we’re surviving really hinder our growth as we age. Sometimes we don’t even question how our way of existing might be the very thing prohibiting us from healing.

Guilt trips don’t work. No one likes them. And if you have found yourself guilting others into connection with you, I want you to know that there is another way.

As you are able, show up a little more. Share honest feedback. Let people know when your feelings are hurt without evoking shame or guilt for them. Allow your truth to exist alongside theirs. Let yourself be fully heard and seen.

To those of you breaking the patterns you formed when you were surviving your upbringing, I see you.

If we had to tolerate a lot during our upbringing, we might have missed out on key developmental milestones. Afterall, i...
12/27/2023

If we had to tolerate a lot during our upbringing, we might have missed out on key developmental milestones. Afterall, it’s hard to develop typically when we’re busy surviving. This might mean that we entered adulthood feeling unprepared to navigate the world on our own. Some of us weren’t taught foundational things about keeping a house, feeding ourselves, or managing finances, and without this guidance, we may feel perpetually behind our peers. We might find ‘adulting’ to be especially challenging.

Likewise, if trauma was the norm in our childhood, we may feel like we had to grow up too fast. We might feel emotionally mature even when we are still so small. We may have come to believe that our job was to keep the peace, manage their emotions, and tend to other people’s needs at the cost of our own. If we have emotionally immature caregivers, we’re likely to shift into the role of tending to all of the emotions people avoid or deal with poorly, and this likely makes us feel like our childhood is cut short. We may feel like mini adults. We might feel nothing like a kid at all.

You may not feel both of these things at the same time, but if you experienced complex trauma, chances are, your upbringing shows up in a lot of different ways in your adult life. And feeling mature for your age as a child, and then poorly prepared for adulthood can really feel disorienting. It can absolutely impact our sense of stability and safety with ourselves and others.

To those of you who feel too responsible for others while you feel ill-equipped for yourself, I see you.

People who are unaware of their impact on you won’t like it when you start showing up for yourself rather than continuin...
12/26/2023

People who are unaware of their impact on you won’t like it when you start showing up for yourself rather than continuing to show up just for them. That’s okay, you can shift back to you anyway. The people who are for you will want you to prioritize yourself.

To those of you who are learning to put yourself at the top of your list, I see you.

A few gentle reminders for you.To those of you who are feeling all of the things, I see you.
12/22/2023

A few gentle reminders for you.

To those of you who are feeling all of the things, I see you.

Some of us are stuck in a holiday celebration wasteland. Stuck between the decision to no longer turn towards family tha...
12/21/2023

Some of us are stuck in a holiday celebration wasteland. Stuck between the decision to no longer turn towards family that harm us and loving friends who have family to turn to. Some of us are still looking for our places and spaces. Some of us are seeking out the connection we’ve been longing for.

To those of you who feel alone, or who are alone, I see you.

Some of us got so accustomed to handling everything on our own. Some of us came to believe that no one would ever show u...
12/20/2023

Some of us got so accustomed to handling everything on our own. Some of us came to believe that no one would ever show up for us, no matter how badly we needed support. Some of us just learned to do everything and be everything and never had the chance to feel into what care and reciprocity are really like.

If care was lacking when we were younger, our brains may not know how to ask for it, our emotions may be fearful to desire it, and our bodies may not know how to receive care even if it is offered to us directly. When we’ve experienced emotional neglect there can be an emptiness inside of us that over time we will fill with overfunctioning, dissociation, or acting as if we’re fine, because it feels less painful to fill the void than it does to leave it empty.

If care isn’t available, it often becomes more adaptive for us to shut off our need for care, rather than perpetually long for something we are entirely sure is never coming. And this right here makes it difficult to receive care as we age. It’s hard to do something that was never modeled for you. It’s challenging to accept something that you’re not sure you can trust.

You deserve care, and you always did. As you are able, allow someone to show up for you, even if it’s just in small ways. Take measured relational risks. Let someone see you just a little bit more.

It’s time for these wounds to heal.

To those of you who have had to handle everything on your own for far too long, I see you.

Complex trauma survivors know what it’s like to have to be strong while feeling fragile. They know what it’s like to fee...
12/19/2023

Complex trauma survivors know what it’s like to have to be strong while feeling fragile. They know what it’s like to feel dysregulated while having to function as if nothing is wrong. They know what it’s like to have to hold it all together when they feel like at any moment, everything, themselves included, might just fall apart.

Listen, if we can feel this duality, we can also feel the duality that comes with healing too. We can feel unsure and still make moves in our favor. We can feel fearful of the good things and still allow ourselves to celebrate them. We can try new things and still honor our capacity.

It's all about allowing all of you to be present. It’s all about letting all of yourself exist. It’s all about softening to yourself after the world has been too hard with you.

To those of you who feel strong and fragile all at the same time, I see you.

If you find yourself activated or triggered by the holiday season, and you’re in a situation where you are unable to avo...
12/14/2023

If you find yourself activated or triggered by the holiday season, and you’re in a situation where you are unable to avoid harmful dynamics, abusive people, or settings or relationships you would rather do without, here are some tips you can try out.

To those of you feeling stressed out, triggered, or re-traumatized this time of year, I see you.

To those of you who are healing and recovering from repeated, sustained, and prolonged exposure to something that was to...
12/13/2023

To those of you who are healing and recovering from repeated, sustained, and prolonged exposure to something that was too much, too fast, for too long, I see you.

Truthfully, so many of us have been expected to take care of, and tend to, our family system since before we were born.S...
12/08/2023

Truthfully, so many of us have been expected to take care of, and tend to, our family system since before we were born.

So many of us have been figuring them out forever. So many of us have longed for easy and safe connections. So many of us wish for things to be different, while being fully aware that our familial relationships may never change.

Sending love to all of you who navigate difficult family dynamics.

To those of you who feel like you always have to be ready for the next conflict, stressor, or rupture, I see you.

A letter for those of you who heard the words, “I love you” but never really knew if you could trust them.Dear Younger S...
12/07/2023

A letter for those of you who heard the words, “I love you” but never really knew if you could trust them.

Dear Younger Self,

I’m sorry that their care was inconsistent. I’m sorry their words and behaviors often didn’t match. I’m sorry they said one thing but did another. I’m sorry their kind words were often a disguise for their manipulation. I’m sorry they taught you to be hesitant and skeptical so early on.

I’m sorry for the ways your heart learned to be stiff and hardened. I’m sorry you learned to be guarded when it came to love. I’m sorry that their love wasn’t pure and honest. I’m sorry that care was complicated and unpredictable. I’m sorry you got used to needing them less and relying only on yourself more and more.

I’m sorry you internalized the idea that love isn’t real. I’m sorry you were made to believe that no one would ever be there for you. I’m sorry your childhood was filled with conditions. I’m sorry you learned that you were anything other than lovable and deserving of care.

Dear tender, precious younger self, you are so fu***ng deserving of love- the real and honest kind. You are worthy of the sort of love that helps you to feel seen and safe. You are allowed to desire someone to show up for you, to tend to you, to be there for you on your best and hardest days. Younger self, it’s unfair that they were the way they were and that their way of being continues to impact you to this day. Younger self, I love you, and this is something I will help you learn to count on.

To those of you loving yourself whole, I see you.

I asked y’all to share with me about your experiences of living with complex trauma, and here are some of the outcomes y...
12/06/2023

I asked y’all to share with me about your experiences of living with complex trauma, and here are some of the outcomes you reported.

Complex trauma can really shift our sense of safety, our personality, and the way we experience the world and those around us. Complex trauma can be especially challenging to heal from because the nature of our trauma impacts us in (often) invisible ways over time, thus making healing a complex process. When our nervous system is negatively impacted all the time, we don’t get to establish a healthy baseline. Our coping skills never have the chance to fully develop. We don’t have a strong sense of ourselves to return to as we’re attempting to heal.

Our trauma responses can become so normalized that we don’t even realize them as trauma responses. We can shift into survival mode without even knowing it. We may find ourselves confused about what is our authentic personality and what was formed as a defensive accommodation in response to something that was too much, too fast, or not enough for too long.

Your responses to trauma make sense. And, healing is possible. As you are able, allow both of these statements to be true. We can validate what is while still working towards something different. Change doesn’t need to invalidate our wounds.

To those of you coping with the aftermath of your trauma, I see you.

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Dallas, TX
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