Nicole is a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional practicing in Moses Lake, Wa. Being a part of her clients’ transformational healing is one of her greatest joys in life.
Pain is inevitable, but suffering doesn’t have to be part of it. After the pain, comes the growth. And the growth is beautiful.
As a certified clinical trauma professional, Nicole Prentice is uniquely qualified to meet clients in their hurting and walk alongside them as they journey toward healing. Nicole’s experiences include working with both children and adults, ranging from brief adjustment disorders to complex trauma histories. She employs many different modalities that are customized to meet the needs of each client — specializing in the uses of EMDR, PC and CBT. Her theoretic frameworks include client-centered, strengths-based, polyvagal and trauma-informed care.
Many people have a belief that a traumatic event is limited to harrowing events like war, violence, abuse or a tragic death of a loved one. However, any distressing experience can be considered traumatic and can negatively affect how we see ourselves and others and how we experience life.
Trauma is sometimes categorized into big “T” and little “t” trauma. As you can imagine, big “T” traumas are commonly associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and includes events like serious injury, sexual violence, abuse and life-threatening experiences. Even if a person is never physically harmed, the threat alone of these big “T” events can cause intense trauma. Witnesses to big “T” trauma and people close to trauma survivors are also vulnerable to PTSD, especially those who encounter emotional shock regularly like paramedics, police officers and even therapists!
Highly distressing events that don’t fall into the big “T” category are sometimes referred to as little “t” trauma. Emotional abuse, death of a pet, bullying or harassment and loss of a significant relationship are some examples. It is not possible to avoid little “t” trauma as we live our full lives. Each person has a unique capacity to handle this stress, referred to as resilience, which impacts their ability to cope with these little “t” traumas. An experience that is highly distressing to you may not cause the same response in another person. Our life experiences make our responses unique. To understand little “t” trauma, we need to focus on how it affects the person rather than focusing on the event itself.
Little “t” traumas can be very upsetting and cause significant emotional damage. This is especially true when little “t” trauma occurs repeatedly or during critical periods of brain development like childhood and adolescence. Research has shown that repeated exposure to little “t” trauma can be even more traumatic than a single big “T” event. Little “t” trauma survivors often don’t receive empathy or acceptance because the misconception that little “t” events are less significant than big “T” traumas. Because of that, it is common to see little “t” trauma survivors attempting to manage symptoms without support or trying to suppress and bottle up their emotions.
The most important thing to know about big “T” and little “t” traumas and the emotional damage caused by them is that there is help. There are well-researched and effective treatments for PTSD and the emotional damage caused by trauma.
Nicole employs multiple modalities in treating trauma, including EMDR, a leading and very effective treatment modality.
An excerpt from What is EMDR? from the EMDR Institute: EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.
After a painful experience in college, I held persistent negative beliefs about myself that continued to affect my marriage 20 years later. I never considered this experience to be “trauma,” but Nicole suggested EMDR as a treatment and I was skeptical but agreed. A week after my first session, it was as if I never had those beliefs. The healing power of EMDR is transformational and for the first time in 20 years, I felt free from those negative beliefs and continue to be a year later.