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Sarah E. Nunnink, PhD
Center for Emotional Change

I'm a licensed psychologist (PSY 21661) who strives to make a real transformative change in the lives of the people I work with
I offer a pathway to self-awareness, transparency & genuinenss through experiential and emotion guided therapy

Trauma hits people at the deepest level.  It leaves them trapped and stuck in the emotional re-triggering of the past, which blocks the ability to live fully in the present.  It frequently changes the way people see themselves, others and the world.  In my 10-year’s experience as a trauma-specialist, I’ve recognized that in order to treat trauma effectively, the emotional aspects of the trauma must be accessed and “activated” in the room and made sense of, which allows a true shifting to start freeing oneself from the past.  I work hard to create a safe space where deep emotional processing of the trauma can unfold.
My experience includes working with the following trauma populations:
Early developmental trauma and neglect: Often perpetrated by parents or other significant attachment figures, this type of trauma can include deeply painful feelings of betrayal, loneliness, shame, rejection, issues related to feeling unworthy, unlovable, inadequate, unseen/unrecognized, unimportant, burdensome and distrustful of others.  Survivors of emotional neglect may also have trouble identifying what was problematic about their early home environment.  Rather than having detailed memories of abuse, they may instead have a confusing sense that something was "missing" but remain unsure/without words to articulate their experiences while growing up.
Social rejection/alienation: Includes the experience of being bullied, harassed, socially-excluded and the target of discrimination.  These experiences can lead to social anxiety, feelings of loneliness and inadequacy, difficulties getting close to others, difficulties opening up, allowing others to see your weaknesses and being vulnerable
Sexual assault/molestation in childhood or adulthood: Different issues may emerge depending on whether the perpetrator of the abuse was a stranger or someone very close.   These experiences can lead to shame, body image problems, difficulties with sexual identity, problems with sexual functioning, difficulties with trust and intimacy/vulnerability
Grief/Loss: When someone close to you is taken from you through death or debilitating injury/illness, it can be difficult to find meaning and continue on.  Common responses include anger, survivor’s guilt, depression, loss of meaning, disconnection from others, emotional numbing and problems with spirituality.  
  • I have specialized experience with reproductive health including pregnancy loss and infertility.
Relationship Betrayals/Injuries: An attachment injury occurs when someone close to you betrays you or is absent in a time of deep need/vulnerability.  Examples of such experiences include affairs (emotional/sexual) and abandonment during crises (such as miscarriage, loss of a job, a medical emergency/illness or other major painful life events).  Common responses to these injuries include anger, depression, anxiety, distrust, loneliness and insecurity
I practice the following Evidenced-Based Trauma-Focused Therapies:
Emotion Focused Trauma Therapy (EFTT): Emotion-focused therapy for trauma (EFTT) is an evidence-based, short-term, individual therapy for adult clients dealing with issues stemming from child abuse trauma.  The focus is on helping clients access and explore painful feelings in order to modify maladaptive emotions.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for PTSD and Trauma-Related Problems: This approach first helps clients identify how attempts to control and avoid trauma-related emotions, sensations, memories, and thoughts actually create a restricted life and add to problems.  The importance of mindfulness and acceptance as an alternative to avoidance and control is the focus. 
Prolonged Exposure Therapy: Prolonged exposure therapy (PE) is a form of behavior therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy designed to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, characterized by re-experiencing the traumatic event through remembering it and engaging with, rather than avoiding, reminders of the trauma (triggers).
Interpersonal Therapy for Grief:  (IPT) is a time-limited treatment that encourages the client to regain control of mood and functioning. IPT is based on the principle that there is a relationship between the way people communicate and interact with others and their mental health.