Trauma can change your life. Often, in very bad ways.
You may no longer function well. Your symptoms may be triggered by small, unforeseeable incidents. You may no longer feel like you know who you are.
Trauma therapy offers deep, life-changing benefits to help put your life together again.
Consider the following five:
Your therapist is a true witness to the trauma you suffered–someone who listens without an agenda.
In the therapy session, it’s all about you and your experience. This is a unique relationship that no other person can offer.
Every family member, friend, co-worker, everyone you meet outside the counseling room, is someone you have some sort of relationship with. Part of your attention will always be on that relationship.
When you talk to your therapist, s/he takes care of your connection. You don’t have to. He or she wants no attention. What you have, by design, is a one-way relationship that focuses solely on you.
Acknowledgement and being heard are the foundations of trauma therapy and trauma recovery.
2. Coping skills
Trauma affects the way you interact with the world.
Are you overwhelmed when traumatic memories are triggered?
Your therapist can help you establish new coping skills to help you function in your everyday life. Coping skills range from dealing with practical, trauma-related problems, like a fear of crowds or of heights. They also help you work through anger management issues or navigate fundamental updates of your life plan, such as finding a more satisfying job or improving your marriage.
3. Understanding your trauma
Trauma symptoms are at their worst when you feel helpless–when you don’t know why you are responding with so much fear, anger or despair.
A major life-changing process in trauma therapy is exploration of your trauma history.
For many people, a traumatic experience in adult life reveals older, powerful trauma from their pasts. This may have been ‘papered over’ by insufficient, and sometimes toxic, survival strategies.
A knowledgeable and experienced therapist can lead you gently through the minefield of memories. The more you understand yourself, the more you are in the driver’s seat of your own life. And the more you understand the history and structure of your trauma, the more you and your therapist can find interventions to reduce the effects of the accumulated traumatic stress.
Childhood trauma responds very well to psychotherapy. As a result, healing childhood trauma supports trauma recovery in your present-day, adult life.
4. Overcoming low self-worth and shame
Trauma is often the underlying cause of low self-worth.
Excessive criticism, disapproving parents and teachers, or bullying at school and in the workplace, are often traumatic and stressful. Consequently, they may also lead to lifelong psychological wounding.
One of the main responses to those wounds is to turn the negativity inwards. You may believe that you are worthless.
Low self-worth often partners with toxic shame.
This is a kind of double whammy. You first suffer trauma, then you continue to inflict smaller traumatic experiences on yourself.
In therapy, the causes of low self-worth and shame are explored thoroughly and their toxic power is debunked. Through the life-changing skills offered by your therapist, healing and recovery can begin.
You can reconnect to a realistic view of yourself where toxic shame has no home, and where you no longer carry the burden of rejecting yourself.
5. Re-building your sense of self
Trauma is a direct attack on how you perceive yourself and your place in the world. This is true for personal traumas of all kinds, and also for the trauma that results from living through natural disasters or wars.
The traumatic experience shatters the cohesion of yourself. It also shatters your trust in the world around you as a benign or manageable place.
Trauma therapy helps you rebuild your sense of who you are, in a deep, authentic way, so that you can become more robust and resilient. Furthermore, your therapist him or herself is a representative of the world at its most trustworthy and benign.
Trauma therapy can be life-changing. Most of all, it grounds you, and reconnects and enables you to recover yourself long-term. Then, finally, you can start to live and shape your life again.
Take the first step…
If you are ready or thinking about beginning the healing process of putting your life back together following trauma of any kind, I would like to help. Please contact me via voicemail or email so we can discuss how we might work together to achieve your therapeutic goals as quickly and effectively as possible.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Linda K. Laffey, MFT