Traci Powell describes the childhood trauma she experienced as wearing a veil she didn’t know existed.
That veil covered her for 46 years as she carried the weight of that abuse throughout her life. It resulted in complex, unmanageable post-traumatic stress disorder, at which point she finally sought the help she needed and began healing.
What she didn’t realize, though, is that so many other women had similar stories they never shared — until Powell told them her own. That’s when she saw just how important and healing it was to connect with these women.
And it’s the reason she now runs The Rebuilt Woman — her women’s counseling and trauma recovery center — which opened March 1 in downtown Winter Garden.
“I started this practice for women who have been through trauma … to help them overcome the trauma and depression and anxiety to live peaceful, happy lives,” Powell said.
A psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner, Powell’s mission is to help other women overcome their own traumas, anxiety and depression. Through The Rebuilt Woman, she offers a holistic treatment approach and based on research and knowledge of the neurobiology of trauma. The overarching goal is not only to teach women how to manage their symptoms but also to heal from what happened to them.
“As I went out and started telling my own story, women would come up to me and tell me their own stories where they had never told anyone before, and I got to see how women need that support from each other to find their own strength and empowerment,” Powell said. “Women know enough about me to understand that not only am I there to help them, but I’m also a sister in the experience. While this is not about me at all, when I’m working with them, there’s this understanding that I get where they’ve been.”
Powell specializes in treating women who survived or live with sexual abuse or assault, PTSD, complex PTSD, depression, anxiety, imposter syndrome and difficulty dealing with stressful life situations.
She offers multiple treatment modalities, including Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, neurofeedback, medication, mindfulness and somatic experiencing. EMDR, in particular, is a treatment modality that Powell said changed her own life.
“(EMDR) is a therapeutic tool that’s used to help people reprocess the trauma they experienced and take new meaning out of it in a positive way,” she said. “Every time I do it, I still am amazed at how it works, and I have experienced it myself. It’s changed my life, which is the whole reason I knew I needed to be able to offer it to my clients.”
For her, the most rewarding part of helping other women heal is seeing their transformation as they sift through their experiences and work toward becoming truly rebuilt women.
“I am nothing more than a conduit to help guide them,” she said. “Women come into me feeling totally broken, dealing with major anxiety and major depression, and they find new meaning in life. They gain a new understanding of what brought them to where they are, and then when they do the work … they truly are rebuilding.”