Southwest Counseling Service to Offer Free Trauma Retreats

Southwest Counseling Service to Offer Free Trauma Retreats

Trauma is tough, but there is help, and there is healing.

Trauma is the response to a disturbing or distressing experience that can have both short-term and long-term effects on all aspects of one’s health: social, emotional, physical, and mental.


While some causes of trauma are widely recognized, others are not. “Trauma isn’t just about sexual assault or war,” says Patricia Swan- Smith, MS, LPC. “Although those are certainly traumatic, we know that car crashes, the death of a loved one, surgeries, and so many other events can also cause post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Whatever the cause, trauma can have major negative effects on an individual, and addressing the trauma behind those effects can be life-changing. That is why Southwest Counseling Service is inviting those affected by trauma to experience the healing power of group therapy by attending retreats in Rock Springs, free of charge.

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“We are providing these opportunities because we understand the devastating effects trauma has on our society generation after generation,” says Swan-Smith, who played a key role in organizing the events.

“With these retreats, we want to be a part of the solution. Come join us.”

The retreats, separated into men’s and women’s groups, will use Polyvagal Theory to help individuals understand fight, flight, and freeze responses as well as how trauma affects the development, thoughts, body, brain, emotions, and behaviors of trauma survivors. The therapy will provide a healing and supportive environment for trauma survivors to comprehend and address trauma on individual, psychosocial, and physiological levels.

On the individual level, attendees will start a new healing process, notice and understand their own trauma wounds, and experience how addressing trauma can change their lives. Psychosocially, participants will learn how to recognize and replace the misperceptions that lead to judgement, shame, blame, and destructive behaviors. Physiologically, attendees will explore practices that can change their thinking and responses to trauma by rewiring their nervous systems.

There are several highly-qualified individuals involved in these endeavors. Sonny Hodgdon, MSW, LCSW, and Patricia Swan-Smith, MS, LPC are facilitating the retreats; material from experts such as Stephen Porges, Deb Dana, Bessel van der Kolk, Peter Levine, and Gabor Mate will be provided.

If you or someone you know is interested in healing from trauma, please register for the retreats by calling Southwest Counseling Service at (307) 352-6677. Though specific dates and times are not yet established, the retreat organizers are willing to work with people’s schedules. These retreats are made possible through the Certified Community Behavioral Health Center grant awarded to Southwest Counseling Service by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

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