Trauma and abuse have many different tones, textures, shapes, forms and colors, all of which make up an inner world that may be so painful that it remains sealed off from the light of day. Whether currently taking place or having occurred in our past, the experiences of trauma and abuse may haunt us in our daily life and overwhelm us with unprocessed feelings that result in symptoms such as depression, anxiety, flashbacks, intrusive images and physical symptoms.
Establishing a trusting therapeutic relationship is our first priority, which is greatly supported by having a consistent therapeutic relationship. Rather than unearthing all the traumatic details at once, we will work together to find a slower rhythm, being mindful of your autonomic nervous system, which is easily overwhelmed. We will also discuss tools for healthy self-care. By minimizing emotional distress and making room for your own rhythm, the psyche/soma relationship can begin to settle into a place of comfort.
It is important to remember that trauma for one person may not be experienced as trauma for another. Unresolved early childhood trauma predisposes us for later trauma reactions, causing symptoms of complex trauma. Our experiences of trauma and abuse will create feelings of dissociation and disorientation within time and space as well as within relationships. Symptoms such as emotional or physical numbness or sudden increase of fear, changes in body sensations, overwhelming or highly charged emotions, along with other challenging behaviors and sensations, are frequently reported. Whether emotional, physical or psychological trauma, it is not uncommon for individuals to lack words for past experiences, particularly if the traumatic experiences or abuse memories occurred by the hands of a childhood caretaker.
Dreams, art and sand tray images often reveal the inner world of unspoken traumatic experiences and memories held within the psyche/soma memory. During my two year group and individual supervision with Don Kalsched, Jungian analysis and psychoanalytic theories along with dream material and the expressive arts were encouraged when working on early complex childhood trauma. These creative and imaginative approaches are legitimate and powerful ways to address the Self care system and its archetypal defenses (Kalsched, 1996) so as to bring about healing.