Blog Post No.3 on 13th September 2021
By Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling
Childhood trauma is a common cause of individuals ending up in counselling and therapy as adults
Because there is no training in parenthood, as a general requirement for family reproduction, individuals who were damaged as children – by cruel or neglectful parents – tend to pass that trauma on to their own children, through harsh words, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or serious forms of neglect of the child.
Over the past 23 years, I have helped well over one thousand individuals to recover from all kinds of emotional, behavioural and/or relationship problems.
I guess that at least fifty or sixty percent of those clients were carrying some form of childhood trauma.
I was unable to collect precise data on that, but I do have some insights which I will list below.
Feedback from grateful clients
In the Sunday Times Magazine, yesterday (12th September), in the regular column, A Life in the Day, Marie-Claire Chappet interviewed Wim Hof (“the extreme athlete”) about grief and healing.
Hof has helped many individuals to improve their physical and mental health through his unique approach to physical therapy. I was struck by these words of his: “I think back on all the extraordinary things that I’ve done with my life and the best thing is when someone tells you that your teaching has made a difference to them”. (Page 58, Sunday Times Magazine, 12th September 2021).
I agree with Hof. One of the most moving things I can do is to review a few of the unsolicited client testimonials that I have had from my clients over the past 23 years. Here are just three examples from traumatized individuals:
♣ “Hi Jim, Your support helped me to get in touch with my Inner Strength. I was feeling very weak and discouraged, and feeling so bad about myself, but you helped me to change all that. I don’t know how you turned me around, but I owe you a debt of gratitude…”
C.M., Wadsworth, Hebden Royd. (Received two days after the sixth session of Skype counselling for family trauma after-effects).
♣ “Hi Jim. You have already exceeded all my expectations in only two sessions of telephone counselling. And I am extremely grateful for these most generous follow-up notes and handouts, which contain important insights and guidance. You have helped me a lot, and I have much to contemplate and integrate before our next session.”
B.J., Blackburn, Lancs. (Two sessions of telephone counselling for early childhood trauma and current relationship problems).
♣ “Hi Jim, I didn’t believe you would be able to help me, because of my age, and the fact that I’ve tried many times before and failed to make any improvement in my anxiety, panic and social withdrawal. But you really got me working on those hidden traumas from early childhood, and I’ve been able to ‘digest them’, as you put it, and they have disappeared from my mind! It was difficult facing up to the pain, but it certainly has proved to be worth it.”
K.N.P., Rochdale, (Three sessions of Gestalt therapy, and re-parenting, for childhood trauma).
Writing up my experiences
The other thing that gives me great pleasure is when I realize how much I have learned, and how hard I have worked to write those experiences up in the form of books that can be used by self-help enthusiasts to transform their lives.
Over the past year or more, I have worked very hard to update my book about the processing of traumatic experiences, to make it even more relevant to childhood developmental trauma, and to incorporate more body-psychotherapy into my systems.
In effect, I have written up the kinds of processes that I have used with my own clients over more than twenty years, in a form which is usable by self-help enthusiasts. And it could also be a good learning resource for new counsellors and psychotherapists who are moving into the field of trauma work.
These processes can be summarized as follows:
Process 1 – Re-framing (re-interpreting, or re-storying) of traumatic experiences (starting with low level upsets; and proceeding upwards with caution);
Process 2 – Confronting and completing (in body-mind forms) medium range traumatic experiences;
Process 3 – And, finally, digesting higher intensity traumatic symptoms; through processes including: writing therapy, combined with re-framing and completion; and with bodily sensations and breath-work; and several other whole body-brain-mind strategies.
(Of course, this work has to be done slowly and gradually; and the individual has to achieve a sense of safety and security before any of this work can begin!)
Some key outcomes achieved
The benefits to be derived from this kind of work are enormous. Sleep is improved; digestion and breathing become normal; anxiety and depression are cleared up; social relationships become less stressful; physical and mental health improve; and so on.
To find out more about this revolutionary new psychotherapeutic strategy, please take a look at: How to Resolve Childhood Developmental Trauma.
Before I could help my clients to work on their own childhood developmental trauma, I had to process my own horrible childhood, which I did in a book titled, Metal Dog – Long Road Home.
That’s all for now.
Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling
Email: Dr Jim Byrne***