The Talking Cure for Trauma – holding freedom – you are the lotus

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Quick overview: There are many aspects to the trauma recovery process such as support, empowerment, finding new meaning, and engaging in techniques which help to ‘rewire’ the brain. In this blog I will talk about the benefits of talking to a trusted, supportive and safe person such as a therapist (or to your loved ones or to a group of survivors with the assistance of a therapist). Talking about a traumatic incidence in a safe and supportive setting can free a person to experience repressed emotions (emotions affect us whether we are conscious of their existence or not), to make new meaning of the occurrence, and to become empowered by his/her ability to take control over the subject.

 

* You dictate your own reality through the stories that you tell yourself and others about how you perceive your world.

 

* Traumatic experiences have many effects on a person’s well being… one noteworthy effect is related to oppression and a coinciding feelings of a loss of freedom.

 

* Your freedom to perceive yourself as in control of your destiny, and your emotional and physical reactions can be taken from you after experiences of trauma.

 

* Talking to someone in a supportive setting is a way of taking back your freedom.

 

* Talking about trauma allows you to control the story line … the very same story line which had historically oppressed you.

  • You then take back your right to dictate the meaning of the traumatic occurrence.
  • You can begin to choose how the experience will shape you by controlling the moral or subjective meaning you reach concerning your traumatic story line.
    • You may move from victim to survivor.
    • You may move from oppressed to heroic or courageous.
    • There is power in finding that you have the ability to create your own story… the occurrences that you experienced were perhaps out of your control… but you control the impact that story will have on you and on others.
      • Your story can in fact take power back from the very thing that traumatically exerted its’ oppression on you.

 

Other people hearing your story – this makes your story more true to yourself as it becomes a truth to other people.

 

Truth is not a permanent entity– it is based upon a chosen collective perception – truth is what we have collectively chosen to agree upon.

  • By sharing your story with others you take control and power over your own truth.

The importance of groups – as you are able to share your story with other people who have survived similar traumatic experiences your powers come together to create a network of support.

  • Emotional support coming from empathy and compassion.
  • Existential support coming from listening to the meaning that others have created.
  • Support for the empowerment of your chosen identity.
    • The group will help to allow you the freedom to create your own identity – an identity that is no longer dictated by the trauma.

 

Humans are relational beings – we heal within the compassion, trust and empathy of supportive people.

  • Though techniques differ from one supportive group to the next the truth is that supportive groups themselves are inherently healing… How they are run (what techniques and theories are used) is not a particularly important variable in relation to outcome (assuming that the leader maintains an atmosphere of safety and support).

 

One aspect of therapy which is difficult to understand is why simply talking could have such a profound effect on a person’s perceived well being – as well as a visible effect on the individual’s brain.

  • Talking allows a re-experience of the trauma in a dramatically different context. The brain can then store the experience differently.

 

As a person speaks of their trauma is a safe and supportive environment that individual takes back a degree of control concerning how the traumatic experience is encoded in their brain.

  • The story can be encoded with different physiological responses, with different views of power and control, with different meaning, and can utilize more diverse selections of the brain.
    • This is the basic idea of why bi- lateral stimulation (EMDR is the most well known) is an effective intervention for trauma – by stimulating both sides of the body (sound, sight, touch etc) at different times (around 4 second intervals) you can encourage both sides of the brain to interact with the story line.
      • This creates different association between the traumatic story line and the person’s emotional and physiological responses.
        • Example: where the story line would have created just fear responses and a sense of no control – you might now receive less or different automatic physiological responses and feelings of resiliency.

 

The lotus flower metaphor – a beautiful flower which grows from the dead muck and compost of a pond.

Some of the most beautiful aspect of this world come from or grow from the suffering, death, the difficult, the oppressed, and the less pleasant.

Many religions (if not all) believe that resiliency and acceptance in the face of suffering and adversity is the surest way to enlightenment.

 

You too have the potential to be the lotus flower – you can grow from the muck into something beautiful enough to be considered enlightened.

 

 

William Hambleton Bishop is a practicing therapist in Steamboat Springs Colorado.
William Hambleton Bishop
William Hambleton Bishop is a practicing therapist in Steamboat Springs Colorado.

14 thoughts on “The Talking Cure for Trauma – holding freedom – you are the lotus

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