Trauma and Eating Disorders

Trauma Informed Care and Therapies for Trauma /PTSD

in Columbia, SC

Trauma and PTSD can have an array of long-lasting negative impacts on your physical, mental, and emotional health. Studies show that exposure to traumatic events, especially as children or teens, can heighten health risks in life for long afterward. Patients who have experienced a traumatic event leading to trauma or PTSD can benefit from the emerging practices in a trauma-informed care approach. This method allows therapists and counselors to work with a client in a manner that allows for effective treatment without re-traumatization.

Why We Treat Trauma and Eating Disorders Together

There is often a correlation of disordered eating following a traumatic experience. Understanding this association is important for the patient, as they can better conceptualize their stressors and the connection. An increasing amount of studies and evidence are finding that many persons with eating disorders also have a history of trauma  or an experience in some type of psychological trauma. Trauma-informed strategies become vital in the treatment of eating disorders and disordered eating for this reason.


Trauma and Eating Disorders

The Difference Between Trauma and PTSD

What is Trauma?

Trauma is the emotional response to a traumatic event. Immediate symptoms may include shock or denial, but longer-term reactions may also occur. Trauma can occur once from a singular event or over several instances. You can also have more than one type of trauma.

Types of Trauma include:

  • Physical or life-threatening events or violence
  • Psychological trauma
  • Neglect
  • Grief or separation
  • Sexual abuse or assault
  • Bullying
  • Forced displacement
  • Medical trauma
  • Military trauma
  • Natural disasters
  • Witness to traumatic events

How to recognize Trauma

  • Eating disturbance or disorder
  • Difficulty sleeping or change in sleep patterns
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • Mood swings, anger or irritability
  • Disconnected or numb feelings
  • Confusion or difficulty concentrating
  • Self-isolation or withdrawal from others

What is PTSD?

PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is a mental health disorder that can develop in some individuals who have experienced trauma and have trouble recovering from the event. Not all traumatic experiences will lead to the development of PTSD. It can last months or years, with various types of triggers and intense emotional or physical reactions.

How to recognize PTSD

The most common symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Nightmares
  • Avoidant behaviors
    (avoiding reminders of the event)
  • Memory loss
  • Negative thoughts
    (regarding oneself and the world)
  • Self-Isolation
  • Anger or irritability
  • Reduced interested in once-loved activities
  • Hypervigilance or alertness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Insomnia
  • Flashbacks
  • Difficulty feeling positive emotions
  • Exaggerated startled response
  • Risky behaviors
    (alcoholism, drug abuse, unsafe sex, behavioral addictions, high-adrenaline activities, etc…)

Treatments for Trauma and PTSD

Talking about PTSD or traumatic memories can desensitize you to the experience, and help build the skills you need to re-evaluate the thoughts or feelings that surround them. Once you decide to seek treatment through therapy for your trauma or PTSD, you’ll sooner be able to start feeling relief and unburdened by your symptoms.

Trauma-Focused Therapy

“Trauma-Focused” is the most effective type of psychotherapy for those suffering from PTSD or trauma. It involves focusing on the specific traumatic event and HOW it is impacting your mental, behavioral, emotional, and physical well-being. This method is rooted in learning, understand and processing these symptoms.

Exposure Therapy

Often persons suffering from trauma or PTSD will avoid any sort of reminders of their traumatic event, which can lead to a very constricted and stressful life. Exposure Therapy treatment involves a trained professional guiding you and very gradually helping you confront the distressing memories directly in a safe environment to encourage relief through desensitization.

Cognitive Restructuring

Cognitive Restructuring involves working with your therapist to identify the patterns and underlying feelings associated with your traumatic memories, and then re-evaluating your thoughts surrounding it. This method teaches and helps you practice the skill of stepping back to challenge your trauma-related thought patterns, and modify them.

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Somatic Therapies & Somatic Experiencing Services

Somatic Experiencing Therapy treats traumatic stress as an imbalanced emotional regulation, which can in some cases disrupt the life of the person experiencing it. The Somatic Experiencing approach to treatment is body-centered, and rather than focusing solely on thoughts or emotions it includes the natural bodily (somatic) responses to trauma. This treatment method addresses the trauma or PTSD by processing the patient’s past life events in a sequential manner, to safely stay clear of placing too much emphasis on the source of the trauma’s core event. Entering into this core area of a patient’s trauma without a properly established resiliency will often re-traumatize them and further enforce their feelings of pain, hopelessness, and dissociation coping strategies.

For lasting healing and resolution from PTSD, a Somatic Experiencing approach to treatment is the most effective and safe. This method builds up a patient’s resources to face and evaluate their trauma at their own pace. It follows a much less direct and more incremental approach to revisiting this trauma to build awareness and self-regulation of the patient’s emotions. The pace of progress is determined by the patient’s comfort level along the way, and exploration continues only as the client builds sufficient resilience to engage and release their trauma.


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Trauma Informed Clinicians and Services

Here at New Hope Counseling & Wellness Center, ALL members of our team are trained for practicing trauma-informed care methods. The safety and emotional well-being of our patients is of the highest importance to us, so we use the safest and most effective treatment approaches that ensure our patients are always comfortable and prepared to move forward in their healing and treatment process.

Owner & therapist, Amy Helms, is currently the only therapist trained in advanced Somatic Experiencing in all of South Carolina. 

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At New Hope Counseling & Wellness Center we serve Richland County and Lexington County with Eating Disorder and Nutritionist Counseling Services including...


Eating Disorder Treatment


Eating Disorder Counseling


Binge Eating Disorder Treatment


Anorexia Nervosa Treatment


Bulimia Nervosa Treatment


Family Based Therapy


Online & Virtual Eating Disorder Therapy


Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorder (OSFED)

New Hope Counseling & Wellness Center logo

New Hope Counseling & Wellness Center in Columbia, SC and Atlanta, GA

Offering Counseling and Therapy for Nutrition, Eating Disorders, Trauma, and PTSD to the Richland County and Lexington County Areas.

The guiding principle of New Hope Counseling and Wellness Center, LLC is to empower and provide individuals and families with the skills they need to be nourished, healed, and restored in order to pursue a life filled with joy and hope. We offer faith-based services for those wishing to include their spirituality as a component in their sessions. While we offer faith-based counseling as one method to achieve this mission, we strive to provide a safe, compassionate, and professional environment for everyone. We do not discriminate, shame or judge and strive to provide quality care to all regardless of religion, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, weight, physical or mental ability, and marital status.