Alexa Gelles

Relationship Counselling

Conversations on Trauma & Awakening: Interview with the Therapy Trauma Group

June 14, 2024

The Counsellor Behind The Blog
Hey, I’m Alexa! I’m a Registered Clinical Counsellor based in Vancouver, B.C. I’ve curated this blog specifically for you to answer your most pressing questions about counselling and building healthy relationships.

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The Trauma Therapy Group is offers trauma therapy for women seeking to reclaim a felt sense of safety and offers in-person in Vancouver, BC and online across Canada.

The Trauma Therapy Group provides trauma therapy to help women reclaim a sense of safety. They offer in-person therapy in Vancouver, BC, and online across Canada.

Now let’s get into the interview!

“Good communication depends on feeling safe emotionally.”

One does not have to talk to Alexa Gelles long to understand how she’s found success in the field of counselling. Competent, personable, and kind are just a few traits that the owner of Alexa Gelles Counselling effortlessly embodies, making it no surprise that she’s a certified boss-lady! Alexa’s exceptional insights from her work as a relationship coach/counsellor shed some light on the importance of open and honest communication, and how EMDR can assist us in processing our trauma. Check out our interview with Alexa below. 

What helps you feel safe and grounded? 

“My two-year-old Corgi, Gnocchi. She’s sweet but naughty, and very cute!”

What does the word “trauma” mean to you?

“I see trauma as any event or series of events that leads to overwhelming feelings.”

What are some common signs that trauma may be affecting a relationship, and how can these be addressed?

“Signs that trauma is impacting a relationship include noticing things like finding it hard to control emotions, feeling upset for a long time, having lots of arguments, feeling more stressed about the relationship, having trouble sleeping, thinking about things too much, and finding it tough to concentrate because of relationship problems.”

How can a partner best support their significant other who is going through the process of self-discovery after experiencing trauma?

“Partners can help each other by being interested, asking questions, and understanding what the other person is going through. It’s important to ask about their needs and be willing to learn, especially if the trauma feels foreign or is difficult to understand.”

Are there any specific approaches that you find particularly effective in helping individuals and couples navigate trauma and the healing process?

“I love EMDR for healing trauma. For individuals, we explore patterns or manifestations of trauma and address the root causes to better manage triggers and reactions. In couples therapy, while EMDR may not always be necessary, it can be beneficial when one partner’s issues significantly impact the relationship or when emotions are too intense for effective communication. Couples therapy focuses on understanding triggers, fostering empathy, and teaching tools for calming down, reconnecting, and enhancing communication.”

How might past traumas impact a person’s ability to trust and be vulnerable in a romantic relationship, and what steps can be taken to rebuild that trust?

“Past experiences where trust has been broken can make people more cautious about trusting others again, even if their current partner didn’t cause the problem. If trust in a relationship has been hurt, fixing it means figuring out why it happened, expressing remorse, and working together to make new rules and show that they can be trusted.”

How can we ensure open communication about our feelings and experiences?

“Good communication depends on feeling safe emotionally. This means feeling comfortable enough to share personal feelings, knowing your partner will be supportive. Creating emotional safety means agreeing on things like not shouting or being mean and being open to sharing and receiving personal feelings.”

What role does self-care play in the process of healing from trauma and how can we encourage and support each other in practicing self-care?

“Self-care plays a crucial role in trauma recovery, as trauma often pushes us out of our optimal state of tolerance and into a state of perceived threat. To regain a sense of safety and return to our optimal state, grounding activities like deep breathing, walking, or taking a warm bath are beneficial. Consistent practice of these activities reduces the likelihood of being pushed out of our optimal state and facilitates easier return when triggered.”

What is your favourite form of self-care?

“Yoga is an essential part of my self-care routine. I aim for at least 20 minutes of practice daily to start my day positively, and I also attend hot yoga sessions weekly. The heat in hot yoga sessions fosters deep physical and emotional release, contributing to overall well-being.”

For more information on the Trauma Therapy Group, check out their services here.

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