Understanding Trauma

Pigeons accent image
Trauma is any event that emotionally overwhelms a person, creates a feeling of emotional, physical, mental or spiritual threat, and that in turn generates a Fight, Flight, or Freeze response. Many people believe, based on old or misinformation, that a “trauma” can only be something "big" like an accident or natural disaster. Research has shown us this is completely untrue. Our bodies generate a traumatic response any time it feels threatened or unsafe.

A person can be traumatized by witnessing an event, secondary exposure to an event, experiencing an event, and more.
Some examples you might not think of:
school entry
unfamiliar places
attachment difficulties
near-miss experiences
verbal abuse
spiritual abuse
Religious trauma
Then, if a person is not able to recover from that event naturally and restore equilibrium, post-traumatic stress begins and escalates. ​

Don't be afraid of the word ...Trauma.

Pigeons accent image
A traumatic response is a very intense neuropsychological function that is then stored in cell memory. It is natural to have extended reactions because it is your own unique perception of the event that made things feel unsafe and placed your body in a threatened state. Restore your equilibrium and visit us for a comprehensive Trauma Assessment and treatment options to seek relief from your pain. The goal is to support your healing without retraumatization, harnessing the power of your own brain to heal you. Here at Smiling Spirit Pathways, you will find genuine trauma recovery care that restores neural pathways and ultimately and safely calms your body, mind, and spirit.
A traumatic response means that your body was responding in exactly the way it was meant - it was protecting you.

Trauma Informed Care
What does that mean for you?

Pigeons accent image
Being trauma-informed means that you have found a guide that will provide you with the most relevant, evidence-based, gentle and effective care for all forms of trauma. A  wide range of research proven Trauma Intervention Programs are available to customize your trauma care.
Highly skilled in all levels of trauma care, from immediately after an emotionally overwhelming event to weeks later should unmanageable symptoms appear.
I commit to staying sharp and current with ongoing, constant and consistent updated training in the Neuroscience and Neurobiology of trauma as requirements to uphold this level of care.
Decorative floral image

With triple certifications as an Advanced Certified Trauma Practitioner from The National Institute for Trauma and Loss, this gentle, sensory-based and non-retraumatizing approach is the framework for your recovery.  Expressive therapies integrate seamlessly, helping to creatively explore, release and heal from the hurt.

Integrative Therapy

A wonderful aspect of an integrative approach is its flexibility, creativity, and personalization.  Healing is expansive, and co-creating your path through the wilderness with so many beautiful options becomes a tailor made process that is uniquely your own.  Blended seamlessly, these approaches are integrated in a way that energizes your spirit, gently supports each step you make, and resonates with your mind, body, and spirit.
Pink rocks watercolor

Expressive Therapies

Believe it or not, therapy is not all talking, and it is also possible to be fun and engaging!  Expressive therapies are those that allow for freedom of movement, voice, action, visual and verbal storytelling, engagement in the natural world, and artistic creation.
Tap to flip


Now more than ever, a connection to nature is considered essential in not only our daily lives, but particularly so when we are in a healing process.  Studies of our “brain on nature” demonstrate marked changes in brain chemistry,  work in synergy with our vagus nerve and provide capacity and expansiveness to our mindsets.  Promoting mindfulness and engaging the senses, working with and within the natural world, its elements, and wonders provide pathways to swifter healing, easier grounding and centering (critical skills for calming a nervous system) and also deepen the empathy centers of the brain.  All of these are critical for a healing journey, from victim to recovery to creating your Thriver life story.
White flower decorative image
Tap to flip

Journal Therapy

As a trained Journal Therapist and lifelong word lover, Journal Therapy is a potent and profound writing process based on specific techniques and prompts designed to release trauma, receive clarity and sensory regulation, and address the critical realms of identity repair, self-compassion, and becoming.  Journal therapy includes multiple opportunities to work through transition and change that are easily transferable to your daily life, building a toolkit that you will be able to access any time they are needed.
Floral decorative image
Tap to flip


Ecotherapy principles connect us to forces larger than our cognition. These inherently orient you to the mysterious and magical. This subset of wellness is called Ecospirituality, wherein we work with and attune to the rhythms and energies of nature to promote, sustain, elevate and amplify healing.  In turn, Post-Trauma Identity Development is supported and enhanced.  How?  By engaging in nature based therapy experiences, aligning with its symbolism, and deeply connecting with the organic mysteries, we find additional ways to create tools and rituals for healing, gain comfort in the rhythms of the natural world, awaken to our resilience, and learn how to interpret your conversation with the sacred.
Tap to flip

Sandtray Therapy

One of the therapeutic healing approaches I am most passionate about, Sandtray is a unique and sacred experience which I often describe as “3-d art” in the sand.  What this means is working with objects and figurines that symbolically represent something meaningful, arranged in a way that promotes sensory regulation, trauma release, storytelling, reordering and healing.  It is beautifully efficient and profound process which clients of all ages absolutely love!
Pink flowers decorative image
Tap to flip

Play Therapy

As a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor, I am highly enthusiastic about the softness and power of healing through play.  Play is the child’s language, and is their natural expression of mood, emotions, scary thoughts, and traumatic stories.  As a field of practice, Play Therapy embodies the engagement of your child right where they are, in the language they understand.  Our therapeutically sound activities gently guide them through the release and reordering of what hurts, using tools that are engaging, fun, and supportive.  This means art, movement, puppets, dance, and so much more!
Yellow flower accent image
Smiling Spirit Pathways Instagram Post
Smiling Spirit Pathways Instagram Post
Smiling Spirit Pathways Instagram Post
Smiling Spirit Pathways Instagram Post
Smiling Spirit Pathways Instagram Post
Smiling Spirit Pathways Instagram Post
Components Included
Home Page Layouts
Blog Layouts
Portfolio Layouts