Blog Post – 14th October 2021
By Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling
Current stress problems – which are intense or difficult to resolve – can be signs of deep, early developmental trauma
I have spent more than twenty-three years working with counselling clients with some degree of trauma, from childhood or later periods of their lives. Sometimes this showed up in the present as problems in couple relationships; or problems controlling anger, anxiety or depression.
Over the years, I developed a number of powerful strategies for helping my counselling and therapy clients to process, complete and get beyond their stored, traumatic experiences, from childhood or later in their lives.
I have written my experience up in the form of a self-help book, so that individuals can help themselves to process their traumatic pains, without the need for costly counselling and therapy.
However, there is one aspect of early childhood trauma which cannot be done on the basis of reading my book. At the end of Chapter 1 of my book, I wrote this:
“…, There is one thing we cannot do in this book, and that is to help you to work on your interpersonal relationships in order to achieve secure attachment. Appendix C, on self-assertion and maintaining your personal boundaries, will help you to some degree to begin to recover your sense of having rights to fair treatment. But it will also be important to make sure you either become securely attached to an intimate partner; or some very good friends who have been through therapy themselves. And/or to begin to see a good, recommended, Attachment Therapist; and/or somebody who practices Developmental Trauma Therapy (DTT), which was created by Dr Bessel van der Kolk.
Nevertheless, if you work with the strategies outlined in this book, combined with some healthy social relating, you will be able to recover from your childhood trauma, no matter how severe it might have been.
Good luck with your journey of recovery!
Here is a quick insight into the approach I have developed:
The concept of Traumatic Dragons, and the process of healing
Traumatic memories are painful, and so the vast majority of people are highly reluctant to face them down. To suggest to most people that they should revisit their traumatic memories would seem to be a form of madness; a kind of masochism on the part of the traumatized individual, and a form of sadism on the part of the trauma therapist. Why face up to a dragon when you can hide?!?
To ask them to turn around and face back (and ‘walk back’) through their history, reviewing the things that were done to them that made them most fearful, miserable, unhappy, stressed, anxious, horrified, shamed, guilty, and ragefully angry, must seem quite perverse to some people.
And yet, that can be an important part of the healing process; provided:
- That enough time has elapsed for some distancing to take place – which is not a problem for an adult revisiting their childhood abuse history. (The minimum gap that I recommend for trauma therapy is at least two years between trauma and therapy!)
- That they have done some form of body work, such as yoga, tai chi, judo, karate; or therapeutic massage, Feldenkrais, or craniosacral therapy; etc., to help to heal the body memories of their trauma – (including body-armouring and chronic tension);
- That they have been able to develop new perspectives upon human behaviour, and human experience, since the time of their abuse. This includes experience of re-framing (or re-interpreting) negative experiences – including the kind of re-framing taught in this book. (If their basic perceptions are still the same as they were when the trauma occurred, then revisiting their traumatic memories will simply prove to be a form of re-traumatizing themselves!)
- That they feel they have recovered the capacity to relate intimately and securely to at least one other person;
- That they are living with somebody they trust; who has agreed to support them if they become overwhelmed by grief or shame or some other difficult emotional state; or that they have a trauma therapist who will assist them over the phone or Skype;
- That they have the mental space to do this difficult work; and that they are not too busy, or too stressed by their current life circumstances, to take on this extra burden;
This book could help you to resolve some of your own traumatic experiences, or it could help you to help somebody else to recover.
To see the book on Amazon, please go to Amazon eBook on Trauma.***
But for more information about this book, please go to ABC Bookstore: Traumatic Dragons book.***
I hope you find this information interesting and helpful.
Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling
Email: Dr Jim Byrne.***
Postscript: If it is too difficult for you to contemplate working through this self-help book, then I can help you in face-to-face counselling, or over Skype or the Telephone system, to process your stored pain.
See my main counselling services page here: https://abc-counselling.org/about-dr-jim-byrne/