Some facts on recovery from trauma include:
1. We should never downplay the horror of trauma. Trauma is trauma, and its impact is profound … And life after trauma is absolutely awful.
2. Recovering from trauma is slow and difficult. Nothing works for everyone, or every type of trauma. There is no ‘one size fits all’.
3. It is worth trying different types of therapy. If the therapy you try doesn’t really seems to help, then try something else.
4. It is important that we have our story heard. We need to have our suffering witnessed and affirmed. We can’t suppress and hide that kind of intense pain forever.
5. Cognitive approaches are helpful on some level. They can help us to identify unhelpful false beliefs – like “I am worthless”; “I deserve to be rejected.” However, changing core beliefs is often very difficult.
Thus, although it can be helpful to “see” we’re not to blame, this knowledge in itself doesn’t usually set us free. For example, we might know that a betrayal was not our fault, but we still feel ashamed and inadequate.
6. For healing to occur we need to alter the brain circuits, and scientific evidence appears to indicate that moving the body is often helpful for this. For example, exercise and yoga appear to make a difference.
EMDR and meditation are effective as well.
(Note: EMDR appear to be more effective at healing trauma associated with ‘single event traumas’ – such as car accidents – and less effective at treating relationship trauma, like domestic violence and betrayal trauma.)
7. People heal from trauma at very different rates. For some, it is straightforward – when they face what they’ve been through, and get proper support, and find a helpful therapy.
For others, it’s a longer, and a much torturous road. It may take years – or even decades – and they’re triggered constantly.
8. People have a powerful drive to truly live again, despite being deeply hurt or being profoundly traumatized. In fact, traumatized often people find unusual ways of carving out a meaningful life for themselves.
“Progress. Just make progress. It’s OK to have setbacks … It’s OK to draw a line in the sand and start over again – and again. Just make sure you’re moving the line forward … Take baby steps, but at least take steps that stop you from being stuck. Then change will come. And it will be good.” – Lysa TerKeurst