Holistic trauma-informed therapy

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Sophia Khan, founder of Superbloom Wellness.
The whole(istic) package, Sophia Khan! Sophia Khan

Combining the traditional cognitive with the often forgotten somatic 

Processing our day-to-day experiences and emotions can be difficult or even overwhelming when life gets complex, so it is important that we have resources to support us. There are various resources and platforms on the internet that could provide us with the support that we need, including Superbloom Wellness, an online psychotherapy and dietitian service. 

Sophia Khan, a Registered Dietitian with the Saskatchewan Dietitians Association, Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO), and Canadian Certified Counsellor with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA), started her venture to help others learn how to overcome unusual and traumatic experiences.  

Khan completed her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and eventually returned to school for a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology. Her continuing education focus areas include trauma and disordered eating, attachment, intergenerational trauma, and childhood trauma. Khan created Superbloom Wellness to provide a safe space for folks struggling with their day-to-day traumatic experiences. Also on their website is a resource page meant to help people navigate life through other people’s experiences.  

Khan has had a passion for psychology for a long time, dipping into various certifications before she found her fit as a trauma therapist and went all in on this field. Through this journey, she studied different approaches and effects that trauma could have on day-to-day life.  

Khan’s approach to therapy is down-to-earth, holistic, somatic, compassion-focused, and conversational. She said, “I wanted to create services that really integrated all parts of a person: body, mind, and spirit. So, the body focuses on the nutrition side of things, mind is focused on mental health and psychology. I also think about the deeper parts of us. […] I do a lot of mindfulness and nervous system regulation as well. I wanted to create a business that offered holistic services, [… to get] to the root of peoples’ struggles.”   

Trauma-informed therapy often focuses on the cognitive aspect of a person’s health, making Khan’s practice unique. “The reason why I am so interested in somatic practices as well as different mindfulness practices is to get the body integrated because, sometimes, […] therapy can be so focused on cognitive [processes] and we leave out the body. […] mind-body connection is so, so important,” Khan explained.  

According to Khan, “Trauma is anything that affects us that goes beyond our coping skills at the moment. [… an] intense period of stress, discomfort, dysregulation.” When people cannot cope, the experience can become traumatic and it has negative impacts on a person’s emotional and physical wellbeing. “It affects the relationship with ourselves, and with others and our bodies. It’s very linked, and I think trauma is viewed differently by everyone,” said Khan. 

“I think it is very individual,” Khan continued. “Trauma is not just going to the war, or experiencing a war, it’s a lot of different things.” Khan’s broad definition provides an open-minded approach and emphasizes that the nature of trauma is highly subjective and individualistic. Something that is traumatic for one person may not traumatize someone else. It depends on a person’s coping strategies as well as their own history and what their current support system looks like, and that can vary greatly from day to day.  

There is a strong connection between the mind and body which manifests in various ways. This connection becomes stronger through deeper communication and interactions, which becomes essential in healing from trauma. Khan said, “Trauma disconnects that communication a bit. […] A lot of the time with trauma, we can develop physical symptoms. Sometimes, it can come out as a lot of anxiety symptoms, headaches, digestion struggles, different things like that. Sometimes the body feels things before the mind is able to.”   

Khan discusses this connection in her blog post, “What is the gut-brain connection?” She wrote, “…studies have found that inflammation or dysbiosis (a fancy name for reduced microbial diversity) in the gut have been linked to mental conditions such as anxiety and depression (Clapp et al., 2017).” Also in this post, Khan talks about how enhancing the connection can improve mental and gut health. Practicing mindfulness and engaging in regular exercise can improve mental health and, through this connection, your physical health.  

“When we go through different struggles, it’s very normal to come up with coping skills for those struggles, whether it’s eating or whether it’s another coping mechanism. A lot of our behaviours develop as a way to protect ourselves. So, sometimes, that can actually come out as disordered eating. While it is a troublesome behaviour, the root is often to just protect ourselves,” said Khan.  

Eating disorders are often only associated with clinical disorders like anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and bulimia. However, the spectrum ranges from “being an intuitive eater to experiencing some disordered eating,” as described in Khan’s “What is Disordered Eating” blog post. Superbloom Wellness offers services like individual psychotherapy, couples counselling, individual nutrition counselling, group workshops, and more upon request. 

“The most important part of therapy is the relationship between me and my client,” Khan said. Building trust and fostering compassion with her clients is important, as she mentioned “That’s been shown in research, as well, that the relationship is really important. So, that’s always my number one focus. […] I think it’s important to often focus on compassion. I think a lot of us struggle with [it].” 

In this journey of building trust, compassion, and wellness to understand individuals with mental health conditions and trauma, folks like Khan are there to support them through resources and clinical treatment. At the same time, it is crucial that people recognize and seek help when they need it, so their conditions do not grow deeper and manifest in ways that negatively affect them. Superbloom Wellness’ practices are built on compassion and holistic foundations, and are designed to bring forth hope and healing to help anyone better manage their health and wellbeing both physically and mentally.  

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