Trauma Counselling: is the First Step in ReBuildingYou after All Trauma, Physical and Emotional
How Do I ReBuild a Broken Life? Who can help? What can I do Myself? Where Do I Start? Where Am I Now? What happened? What can I do for my friend?
Debrief and Make a Plan
Trauma counselling – aka debriefing – is essential. Stop and take stock, find out where you are now and plan how you can recover – in exactly the way you choose. Your brain will do a surprising amount just as a result of ‘knowing’: find out why…
Whether you are seriously injured in an accident or someone you love is diagnosed with cancer or you lose a spouse it’s incredibly important to stop attend to your current emotions. (Even if it seems there aren’t any that need attending to. ‘Numbness’ is an emotion, crying out for attention.)
Do what the experts do: huddle. Stop and debrief. Learn from the best: military teams and football and rugby winners stop and assess what just happened and choose where to go next. It’s essential. Trauma counselling – debriefing – is a necessary precursor to get back to good health.
Use the information and tools in this website with your counsellor. Or Do-It-Yourself. Debriefing and making a plan may take weeks but it’s one of the most important ‘first steps’. In the panic and rush to get started, debriefing is often neglected. In the long run, it makes our road to recovery slower and less efficient.
The answers you seek are deep inside of you and these tools will help tease them to the surface. Only when you have stood still and re-assessed, can you make a good plan to move forward.
Use help from a trauma counselling professional (or a good friend) to make a blueprint for ReBuildingYou and start the healing.
Connect What You Feel With What’s Happening In The Brain
Connecting you feelings with what’s causing them and with what’s physically happening in your brain is important too. You can’t un-know knowledge? And knowledge of what’s happening seems to kickstart the healing process all on its own.
When the amygdala, the part of the brain that governs fight, flight or freeze and takes over during trauma, the frontal cortex, where thinking happens, shuts down. In this way thinking cannot take away or slow down from your automatic and much faster ancient brain reaction. You can’t ‘over think’. It also means that you don’t have the thoughts/words to remember the trauma. Talking about the incident later, in trauma counselling, people often shake their heads and wonder how on earth they did what they did. This is how: it was pure, unthinking, physical reaction.
A kind of emotional numbness – a zombie-like calmness – may come over you initially. It still feels overwhelming and terrible but this is nature’s way of protecting your core. This is your ‘survivor’ at its best:, flooding your system with natural chemicals and adrenalin, in pure reaction. And somewhat able to anaesthetize you, physically and emotionally, to allow you to get through this trauma and survive.
After the initial shock, trauma, reality sets in. Often some form of temporary use of medication is often helpful at this stage while you start to accept what happened and sort out the future. Often the feeling of anxiety is unbearable and you are sure that no-one else will be able to help. And in one sense you may be right: perhaps no-one else can help you put your life back together. Only you. With a lot of love and support.
The truth is that the answers to every possible problem we might encounter are buried deep in us. If we explore carefully, we will find them. At this stage, a good counsellor and/or social worker can help us to see what deep down we already know.
For the longest time life seemed a chaos of both physical and emotional challenges for me. One problem right on the heels of another I was a difficult patient. A very impatient patient! I didn’t want to just heal, I wanted the very best healing possible. My brain injury causes me to over-focus and I would work on one aspect of life, exclusively, and lose ground in another. Eventually I realized that total recovery is a blend of recovery in every area. And nothing less will do! You may feel the same?
Healing Requires Simultaneous Attention to your Physical, Emotional, Cognitive, Joy and Financial Needs.
Every time. All the time. At the Neuroscience Summit in 2017 it was officially confirmed that such integration was necessary for all successful healing.
With this website, I invite you to walk with me on your journey back to good health and design your healing, using what you read here as a guide.
Which Therapy or Trauma Counselling Is Best?
There are many great methods of therapy to build and re-build and to heal emotional trauma. The truth is that the key to our greatness lies deep within us, waiting to be coaxed out to lead the way.A good counsellor is a professional coaxer and supporter.
Particularly effective, I’ve found, are Imago Method, Non-Violent Communication or NVC, Trust Oriented Therapy or TOT (developed by Mahmud Nestman in Vancouver, BC, Canada) and EFT (tapping). Many other methods of counselling are excellent too.
Balanced Healing = the Only Real Healing
Stage One includes finding someone you trust to lead the debrief. We also have to find someone to be ‘in charge’ of each of the 5 areas of ‘us’, reporting to ‘the leader’, to start the healing process.
There is a page here devoted to that first stage. Eventually you’ll move on to Stage Two where life settles into a ‘new normal’ and most people take a well-earned break. You may still see your counsellor or social worker, but more emphasis will be on following through on your ‘plan’ for your post-trauma life.
Total healing – Stage Three – may take many years and despite the belief in some circles that healing doesn’t happen after the first year or so, after 30 years there are still areas I am healing. Maybe school will be your focus – part of cognitive healing – taking care to keep up with the social / fun, exercise, nutrition and financial aspects of your life at the same time.
There are 5 parts to healing: Physical, Emotional, Cognitive, Joy and Financial. These parts are important to all healing, both purely emotional and physical. Trauma is trauma. There is an important emotional component in all trauma, which is well covered by NVC and the use of ConnectionCue™ cards.
Trauma is trauma. Our losses are personal to each of us and need to be addressed – in all 5 areas of our humanity.
If you find you need some help to chart out and plan your recovery, please email me or ask your social worker for help to organize your recovery. Perhaps he or she would be willing to read these pages.
Never give up.
Best wishes and good luck!