Graphic that reads "The Skillful Podcast Season Two Episode Forty Five Soothing Trauma Symptoms with Elle Michel, LMFT" over a stock photo of a person's hand rising out of a field of wheat.

#45: Soothing Trauma Symptoms with Elle Michel, LMFT

Elle Michel, LMFT

Today, Marielle interviews Elle Michel, LMFT, a therapist in Los Angeles who specializes in treating complex trauma. Elle uses a combination of modalities to treat trauma, including DBT, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Brainspotting. 

This episode focuses on describing what happens in the nervous system after a traumatic event, and how to use DBT skills to cope with an activated brain and body. 

Show Highlights

  • DBT skills can help create safety and grounding when there is a trauma history
  • Trauma takes time to heal
  • The importance of reducing shame about how people have coped and normalizing the desire to feel better
  • The temperature part of the TIPP skills is useful for flashbacks, high anxiety, and feeling unsafe
  • Self-Soothing with the 5 senses
  • Using Distraction intentionally to focus your attention somewhere else when activated or triggered
  • Radical Acceptance of both the trauma and the aftermath
  • PLEASE skills, as many trauma survivors learn to neglect their own well-being
  • Opposite Action for resistance to taking care of self
  • Retraining your brain to pay more attention to positive and neutral events
  • Gratitude lists
  • Trauma can make people’s lives small as a way to feel safe
  • Using DEAR MAN to directly assert needs
  • The importance of self-validation, using phrases such as: 
    • “There is nothing wrong with me for feeling this way.”
    • “This is a normal reaction to an abnormal event.”
    • “It makes sense that I feel this way.”

DBT Skills Discussed


Elle’s Website

Ask us a Question

We’d love to hear from you! Where are you getting stuck with your skills application? Ask us a question for the chance to have it answered on the podcast. Submit your question here.

Please note that questions, and this podcast in general, are not a substitute for individual mental health treatment.