Archive for June 27, 2011

How to Avoid Self-Injury as a Trauma Coping Strategy

Most of my clients who self-injure tell me they cut or burn themselves in order to feel better. They self-injure when they are experiencing overwhelming emotions or dealing with past traumas they can’t handle. Temporarily, they feel better, but nothing actually changes. They are still faced with the same terrible upsets.

What are the steps to avoiding this self-destructive coping strategy? Read more

Use Focusing to Recover Traumatic Memories

In my own process of healing from childhood sexual abuse, a practice called Focusing was instrumental in helping me to recover my traumatic memories. I talk about it at length in my book, Confessions of a Trauma Therapist.

Focusing is the name Dr. Eugene Gendlin gave to the model he developed for accessing deeper levels of awareness than most people are aware of.  We get this knowing by paying attention to the way the body responds to every thought, feeling or situation. The body is always reacting and if we learn to listen to it, we’ll have a richer, calmer life. Read more

The Importance of Community

As I write this I’m sitting in my room overlooking the Pacific Ocean in a retreat centre in California. I’m attending the 23rd annual International Focusing Conference. I’ve attended most of these gatherings of Focusers from around the world.

What I want to speak about is the importance of belonging to a safe community when you’ve been betrayed by those who had power over you as a child. It’s so important to find a community where you are accepted and encouraged to grow. It’s about being connected to people who share many of your values and who will support you in developing your own beliefs and strengths, rather than insisting you follow some party line or creed.  I’m lucky enough to have two of these communities. Read more

Traumas that Inhibit Children’s Neurodevelopment

The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study is huge and looks at the common stressful traumas that adversely affect the neurodevelopment of children.

These are the stressors:

-Alcohol abuse in the family

-emotional, physical and sexual abuse

-witnessing domestic violence

-growing up with substance abusing, mentally ill, or criminal adults

The studies were conducted with 17, 337 predominately middle class, educated, members of two large USA medical care programmes over a period of 10 years. Read more