Kirsten Kraus, somatic therapist, left, and Lisa Larson, licensed marriage and family therapist, and staff offer cutting-edge and cost-effective therapies for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at Pacific Trauma Center in Folsom. Larson is founder and director of the center. Photo by Roberta Long


Pacific Trauma Specialists help heal emotional distress

By From page A4 | December 19, 2012

Everything about the Pacific Trauma Center in Historic Folsom is designed for healing.

Before Lisa Larson, licensed marriage and family therapist, opened the door to clients, she and sister Kirsten Kraus, a somatic therapist, designed spaces in each room with attention to color, light, scent, texture and sound. They created a warm, safe and supportive atmosphere, whether for children, adults, couples or families. The physical surroundings are part of the healing process for anyone suffering from emotional trauma.

Pacific Trauma Specialists is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation affiliated with the Pacific Trauma Center. “This sector of our business was created because our goal is to heal those who suffer from trauma, regardless of ability to pay,” said Larson. “We hope to never turn anyone away.”

Larson started her practice as a “talk therapist” in 1998. She made a profound change in 2005 when, as a result of yellowjacket stings, she flatlined. Three weeks later her son flatlined as the result of a different experience. “I had serious Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,” she said. Instead of seeking talk therapy, Larson went to a therapist who used Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). The therapy is based on what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. “I was healed literally within a week,” said Larson. Larson founded and became director of the Pacific Trauma Center.

Pacific Trauma Specialists treat PTSD, no matter the source. Their clients include military veterans, law enforcement personnel, firefighters and other emergency responders, rape and incest survivors, human trafficking victims, suicide survivors, abused spouses, children and teens, crime victims, witnesses to death or violence, victims of spiritual abuse, survivors of serious accidents, and adults who were abused, neglected or abandoned as children.

PTSD interrupts the ability to live a normal healthy life. When a person is emotionally disturbed, the brain becomes frozen in time. It cannot process information as it ordinarily would.

Images sensory feelings from the trauma are relived in memory. Larson described PTSD as replacing the normal range of emotional responses with one of two extremes: At one end, emotional responses are frozen “On,” resulting in variety of symptoms such as anxiety, panic, hyperactivity, exaggerated startle response, inability to relax, restlessness, hyper-vigilance, digestive problems, emotional flooding, chronic pain, sleeplessness, hostility and rage. The response at the other end is all emotions “Off” and shut down. This response can manifest as depression, flat affect, lethargy, deadness, exhaustion, chronic fatigue, disorientation, disconnection, dissociation, complex syndromes, pain, low blood pressure and poor digestion.

In addition to EMDR, Pacific Trauma Specialists use two other therapies: brainspotting and somatic archeology. Larson said, “We call these three phenomenal therapies ‘emotional healing on warp speed.’ Our goal is to allow our clients to reprocess traumas so they can be free from negative beliefs, physiological distress and psychological pain as quickly as possible.”

Larson said brainspotting slows the nervous system and reprocesses maladaptive memories to an adaptive, healthy state.

Kraus began as a massage therapist 20 years ago, a therapy that she includes in her current practice. Kraus is a naturopathic practitioner, trained in brainspotting and somatic archeology. Herbs and essential oils are used in her therapies.

Kraus said that somatic archeology refers to “excavating memories through attention to our body’s experiences. It’s like shedding layers of an artichoke. It explores beliefs and patterns that have been handed down through generations and rewires the brain to release those that are harmful. “You can begin a new way to live your life,” she said.

As director of Pacific Trauma Specialists, located at 706 Natoma St., Larson’s mission is to provide the most cutting-edge treatment for all traumatized adults, adolescents and children. As Pacific Trauma Specialists, licensed therapists, registered interns and counseling trainees receive education and training in “best practices.”

In addition, she is dedicated to educating the public about the signs and symptoms of PTSD and the most effective therapies for treatment.

Pacific Trauma Specialists provide trauma therapy teams pro bono to disaster sites, and respond to requests for help in the local communities.

For more information or an appointment call (916) 608-4569 or visit

Roberta Long

Discussion | 2 comments

  • Donna SmithMay 09, 2013 - 12:00 pm

    Pacific Trauma Center is not what it appears to be.

  • TrishJune 29, 2013 - 3:02 pm

    I was thinking of going to pacific trauma specialists, so please help me. What does it appear to be? What is it really? Thank you. Trish



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