Today I was at a conference about addiction, trauma and self-care at Boulder County. The presenters Dr. Robert Scaer, Neurologist, Dr Paula Riggs, Psychiatrist, Rachel Katz, P.T. and Marguerite McCormack, MA, LPC. were all amazing experts at their topics and they gave us the attendees lots of valuable information which I plan to use with my clients.
What stood out most for me was the part trauma plays in the lives of most of us. Doing the work of helping others is often traumatic because of the clients we serve. We often receive secondary trauma as our clients share about the abusive lives they had as children and the abuse they either received or caused as adults. 80-95% of all the people in prison were abused as children; almost all of our clients were abused as children. Prisons do not rehabilitate they just re-traumatize people who were victims as children.
Yes I have mentioned prisons several times lately because I can’t get over the idea that we need to help these people in jail not punish them if we want to break the cycle of abuse. Trauma that goes without expression or healing resides in the body and over time tends to get worse. If you are abused as a child your self-esteem never recovers as long as the trauma remains in the body as tightness. This emotional holding zaps your energy, fills you with self-doubt, and often time leads to more trauma. The cycle can be endless unless the emotional scaring is brought into the light of awareness and worked with in some way that can return the person to wholeness.
Even what may have been forgotten trauma or what you thought was minor may be inside of you limiting your experience of well-being. There are traumas caused by: birthing, surgery, accidents, emotional neglect, addiction of your parents, hurtful actions, physical, mental, emotional and sexual trauma and many other forms. Have you buried any trauma in you from the past? Do you feel unable to experience certain feelings? Do specific circumstances cause you to strongly overreact? Is your body uptight or blocked in any ways? Was growing up in your family a traumatic experience?
Self-hatred can be a product of the traumas of our past. If you can take the time to develop some compassion for yourself, you have taken the first step toward the healing process
If you have trauma there are ways to deal with that. There is counseling which will help identify your blocks or issues. Talk usually doesn’t complete relieve the damage of the past. Often a body-oriented therapy is important. There are too many here to discuss but if you have some concerns drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will suggest some ideas. I will write more about this as I explore some resources I acquired through these presenters. Have a fun Friday and be kind to yourself this weekend.