Treatment & Counselling for Trauma

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Trauma is our body and brains response to a deeply distressing event (or events) that overwhelms our ability to cope. When we experience trauma, our brain shifts into survival mode. This is a function that has evolved over years to keep us alive and means our brain directs all our mental and physical resources to handle the immediate threat until it’s gone.

But sometimes, even when the threat is gone, our brain still responds as if the threat remains.

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Trauma Psychologist: A graphic design of the human brain

At The Indigo Project, we do not solely focus on people’s problems, instead we aim to meet people where they are at. We understand and consider the pervasive nature of trauma and create environments of healing and recovery.

No matter what type of trauma you experience, it is understood that these experiences can have longstanding impacts on our lives. Many people experience symptoms such as: depression, anxiety and panic, difficulty establishing and maintaining close or intimate relationships, sexual dysfunctions, eating disorders, compulsions, addictions, self-harm or other emotional issues including chronic feelings of emptiness, loss of touch with reality, extreme mood fluctuations or anger outbursts.

A lot of information exists out there, so we’ve condensed some of it. Read through more below on key themes on trauma and how it relates to online therapy.

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Let’s break down Trauma some more:

Trauma-Informed Care

Many of our therapists practice trauma-informed care. Some of the principles that underlie this include:

  • Trauma awareness
  • Promoting safety
  • Rebuilding a sense of control
  • Developing connection and trust
  • Focusing on strengths and resources
  • Maintaining a belief in recovery

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

PTSD can develop in people who have experienced a traumatic event which threatened their life or safety, or that of others around them. People with PTSD experience 4 main types of difficulties:

  1. Reliving the trauma event e.g., flashbacks, nightmares, vivid memories
  2. Being hypervigilant aka overly alert e.g., sleep difficulties, irritability and becoming easily startled
  3. Avoiding reminders of the traumatic event e.g., avoiding activities, places, people, or thoughts/feelings related to the event
  4. Feeling emotionally numb and disconnected from reality e.g., losing interest in daily life, detached from friends, family and ourselves

If you’ve been experiencing these problems continuously for 1+ months, and its caused significant challenges in your ability to function and interact with others, we encourage you to seek professional help and/or a diagnosis.

Post-traumatic growth (PTG)

Research shows that most people who experience trauma, also experience PTG.

PTG is a positive psychological change that is experienced after struggling with highly challenges and distressing circumstances. It involves a life-changing psychological shift in thinking and relating to the world and ourselves.

7 areas of growth that can spring from adversity:

  1. Greater appreciation of life
  2. Strengthening of close relationships
  3. Increased compassion and altruism
  4. Recognising new meanings or purpose in life
  5. Great awareness and use of personal strengths
  6. Enhanced spiritual development
  7. Creative growth

“In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning” – Viktor Frankl, Man’s search for meaning


You don’t have to try and handle the burden of trauma alone. It might feel like you will never get your life back, but our qualified therapists are here to help you regain a sense of control over your life.

The primary treatment is psychotherapy, but medication can also be used alongside (just check in with your GP). Combining these treatments can help improve symptoms by:

  • Teaching you skills to address your symptoms and ways to cope when they arise
  • Helping you reframe your thinking about yourself, others and the world
  • Empowering you to take control of the direction of your life by leaning into your resources and strengths

Window of Tolerance

The Window of tolerance is a term used to describe the zone of optimal arousal in which a person can function most effectively. Basically, when we are in this zone, we can readily receive, process, and integrate information as well as respond to the demands of everyday life fairly easily – how good.

Trauma can push ourselves above or below this optimal zone.

Hyper-arousal: AKA ‘fight or flight’ response. We feel anxious, overwhelmed, and alert. We may react with anger or aggression and battle intrusive thoughts. It can be extremely difficult to rest, sleep or digest as we feel constantly “on”

Example activities to decrease arousal:

  • Using a weighted blanket
  • Shaking or stomping our nervous energy
  • Music (soothing and calming sounds)
  • Diaphragmatic breathing
  • Jumping on a trampoline
  • Heavy work: lifting, pulling, pushups, situps etc

Hypo-arousal: AKA ‘freeze or fawn’ response. We feel disconnected from the present and from others, dissociate – sometimes having no memory of what’s happening. We can withdraw, shut down and feel separate from our own bodies as we feel constantly “off”

Example activities to increase arousal:

  • Anything that stimulates the senses
  • Smelling scented candles, essential oils or perfume (ps. Smell is the fastest way back to the thinking brain)
  • Movement of any kind
  • Dancing
  • Finger painting
  • Eat comfort food

Reading recommendation: The body keeps the score – Bessel van der Kolk


Frequently Asked Questions

Who is The Indigo Project?

We are a progressive online counselling practice, providing telehealth services in Australia. Our passionate and experienced local team includes psychologists, psychotherapists & counsellors, coaches and therapists that are trained to deliver online therapy to you in a safe and convenient way.

Whether you are looking for short or long term support through a challenging time, or looking to discover your potential, we want you to feel comfortable on every step of the journey.

Read more about Our Story 

Telehealth: About Therapy and Online Counselling

What can I expect from therapy? What is therapy like?

Every therapist is different and their therapeutic style and personalities are all unique. However, all of our Indigo practitioners will hold a compassionate and non-judgmental space for you, where you are free to be who you are. Your therapist is there to listen to you, guide you, and help you overcome life’s challenges.

Generally, you’ll spend the first session getting to know each other, talking about your history and what it is you’d like to work through. From your second session onwards, you’ll get to go deeper, peeling back the layers and all the while learning practical strategies to help you transform and grow.

At Indigo we encourage our clients to have at least 10-20 sessions, because we believe that therapy is a long-term journey of commitment, growth and investment in yourself. After seeing your therapist for a while, you may continue to book occasional check-in sessions as you feel more confident doing life with the knowledge and tools you have gained.

Who is online therapy for?

Everyone is welcome to attend online counselling or therapy with one of our practitioners at The Indigo Project.

Online counselling or therapy via Zoom is an accessible, safe and convenient option for those who are unable to attend face-to-face appointments, or simply prefer to meet online. Whether it be a busy schedule due to work and family, health-related reasons or distance, online counselling can help you.

What issues are suited for online therapy?

Our team of trained clinical psychologists, psychologists, psychotherapists and counsellors attend to a range of common mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, grief and loss, life transitions, relationship issues and more.

A number of practitioners also specialise in areas such as sexuality, gender and identity, addiction, sports and performance, personality disorders and therapy for children and adolescents.

Several therapists also provide services in marriage counselling and couples therapy.

Finding the best psychologist or counsellor for me - where do I start?

We highly encourage you to view our practitioners and use the filtering options to find a psychologist or counsellor who can help you with the issues you are seeking help for.

Meet our therapists and what they can help you with here.

If you need help, our Therapy Matchmakers team will be able to match you with a practitioner. Give us a call on (02) 9212 5469 or email us at so we can support you on your journey.

What if I can’t see the therapist I had in mind?

Our therapists typically have capacity to see several new clients each month. However these openings can get filled up fast from those who have been on a waitlist. If there is someone that you particularly want to see but is currently unavailable, we can place you on a waitlist until there is an opening.

If you prefer to attend an online counselling session sooner, our Therapy Matchmakers can help you find an alternative practitioner based on your needs and what you are looking to achieve in therapy.

Meeting a therapist for the first time can feel like a first date. If you don’t connect with your therapist on your first or second session, we’ll pair you with a new practitioner and your next session will be on the house* as part of our Perfect Match Promise.

*Terms and conditions apply.

Can I make an appointment for my child or dependent?

If you are the parent or legal guardian of a minor, you will need to make an appointment online or via the phone.

We have many psychologists, psychotherapists & counsellors who have experience dealing with children and adolescents in therapy. See who can help here.

Someone I know needs counselling. Can I book an appointment for them?

Those who require online counselling or therapy will have to make an appointment directly with The Indigo Project via our online booking form or on the phone. We do not accept bookings on behalf of an individual or couple from a third party unless as part of an insurance plan, support scheme or similar arrangement.

We want marriage or couples counselling. Can we see a couples counsellor together?

Couples are welcome to attend online therapy sessions together with one of our couples therapists.

Do I need to do anything before my first session?

We recommend setting up for your online therapy session 5-10 minutes before it commences. Make sure your computer or phone microphone and video is working, and that you are comfortable and ready to sit through your session uninterrupted.

There’s zero pressure to prepare anything for your first session but if you find it helpful, you can jot down some points about specific things you’d like to work on or discuss with your therapist.

Are my therapy sessions confidential?

Everything you discuss with your therapist here at Indigo is absolutely confidential, and will not be shared unless you or someone else is at risk of serious harm.

How do I pay for my online therapy session?

For first time clients, payment is made via debit or credit card at the time of booking. For returning clients, there are a number of payment methods available such as authorised direct debit or online via the payments link on your invoice.

Who to contact if you are in crisis

The Indigo Project is not a crisis service.

  • If you are in a crisis, if you are experiencing suicidal or homicidal thoughts, or somebody else is in danger, DO NOT use this service.
  • Call 000 or use these contacts for immediate crisis support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:

Lifeline 13 11 14 - A crisis support and suicide prevention service for all Australians.

Mental Health Line 1800 011 511 - The Mental Health Line offers professional help and advice for everyone. Operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636 - Beyond Blue provide support to address issues related to depression, suicide, anxiety disorders and other related mental illnesses.

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 - A free service for people who are suicidal, caring for someone who is suicidal, bereaved by suicide or are health professionals supporting people affected by suicide.

Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 - A counselling service specifically for young people aged between 5 and 25.

Parentline 1300 1300 52 - Parent Line is a free telephone counselling and support service for parents and carers with children aged 0 to 18 who live in NSW.

What else does The Indigo Project do?

Our courses, workshops and events are designed to transform the way you think, feel and live.

Not ready to commit to therapy? Indigo founder Mary Hoang has created Get Your Sh*t Together, a self-directed digital course for those who want to develop greater self-awareness, tackle stress and anxiety, and learn practical skills to help heal, grow and thrive in life.

Mary has also written a book Darkness is Golden: A Guide to Personal Transformation and Dealing with Life's Messiness that combines her experience in the therapy room with unique audio experiences framed by her research in music psychology.

Available for free download are a number of toolkits to help you combat your depression, deal with your anxiety or transform your relationships.

Although an online counselling practice, The Indigo Project believes in the power of community, and we often host events throughout the year. Keep an eye out for events such as Listen Up, a contemporary digital sound bath some describe as a “soundtracked therapy session”.

We are also available for corporate events, workshops and related projects. Please contact us at if you’d like to know more.

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