Autobiography about recovery from childhood trauma

Blog post 2 – 17th November 2022

My life was a mess, until I cleaned up my childhood developmental trauma…

Autobiographical story about recovery from childhood developmental trauma…

By Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

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Hello, and Welcome.

Kindle coverYou might think you are managing your life from conscious choices, but that life is resisting you. You might be surprised to find that a little child, in the basement of your mind, is “driving the bus” of your life.

We humans are storytellers in a sea of stories.

And the stories we make up in the first five years of life are the most damaging ones, if we are living in a traumatizing or highly stressful family environment. (If you were born into a “good enough” family, you will have created a good life script for yourself; but not otherwise!)

“The unexamined life is not worth living!” Plato

I have been exploring the story of my life for a long time now.

I have recently written a new version of the first forty years of my life, to explore the journey I had to go on in order to fix the damage that was caused to me in the first two years of life by my incompetent, very young, damaged mother.

Here is an extract from the Preface I wrote for this new book:

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Author’s Preface

By Jim Byrne

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“Childhood is a nightmare. Children are vulnerable to emotional distortion. Take good care of them, if you know how to love.”

Micky J. Moran, A Very Peculiar Tragedy. (Page 4).

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Preamble

Kindle coverTo those who say it is extremely vain of me to write my own autobiography – as if I was “somebody” – I must retort that I did not write this story to enhance my battered ego, but rather to try to heal and recover from a very sad case of childhood developmental trauma.

To those who say it was unfair, unreasonable or paranoid of me to hide behind a fictionalized account of my life, I have to say that I have used fiction to reveal my life rather than to conceal it!

How could that be?

Well, as a matter of historical fact, I retain very few conscious memories of my childhood, as is normally the case with developmental trauma disorder. My childhood is stored in black boxes, in the basement of my mind – beyond direct conscious inspection.

So, since it is impossible to directly inspect my childhood, to see what went wrong, I had to ask myself, “Is it possible to indirectly inspect my childhood, to maximally reveal what went wrong?”

And it was that question that caused me to consider the possibility that, if I created an ‘alter ego’[1], and walked him through what I assume to be the phases and stages of my childhood, this would throw up many insights into how I was deformed and distorted by my childhood experiences.

So I “created” Daniel O’Beeve – (or was he “given to me” by my non-conscious mind?) – and I walked him through many of the pages which constitute the present book; revealing many interesting insights and stories.

But if that was all I had to go on, it would seem a bit thin, as a personal history; so I also considered the possibility that my dreams and reveries might also contain clues as to what had gone on in my family of origin; and so I began to collect my dreams and reveries in my journal.  It was Sigmund Freud who argued that “dreams are the royal road to the unconscious mind”, and so that is good enough for me, as a justification for that strategy.

Then, thirdly, I decided to write a more straightforward “psychological report” of those aspects of my work on my past which I did beyond the age of 22 years.

Kindle coverThe strangest development was that my therapy work – described in Part Two – gave me a couple of visual “archetypes” – or “literary devices” – known as “the little blue bear” and “the yellow-haired rag doll”.

Later, I was “given” other archetypes: Professor Valises, a little blue alien; Sheikh Exal Rambini, a strange sage and spiritual guide; “the little white goat”; and a whole host of others. Each of those archetypes evolved their own stories.

Then I worked hard, for a number of years, weaving all those strands of data into a coherent story of who I was as a child; how that affected my development; and how I escaped from the “stink pot” into which my birth and early life had thrown me.

Finally, by reflecting on my own journey, I was able to extract some guidance notes for readers of this book who might want to work on the healing of their own childhood wounds; and especially their mother-wound.

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For more, please click this link! Jim’s amazing story – from childhood trauma to Nirvana!***

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Dr Jim, Authorship Coach, 2022Best wishes,

Jim

Dr Jim Byrne

Doctor of Counselling, and survivor of childhood developmental trauma disorder.

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To see this book online, at an Amazon outlet near you, please click one of the following links. (There may be a couple of days’ delay in appearing on some Amazon outlets).

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Amazon.com, US+   Amazon UK + Ireland  
       
Amazon Spain   Amazon Italy  
       
Amazon Germany   Amazon Netherlands  
       
Amazon Japan   Amazon Brazil  
       
Amazon Canada   Amazon Mexico  
       
Amazon Australia   Amazon India  
       
Buying from Singapore   Flycrates  
       

~~~

[1] An ‘alter ego’ is a ‘second self’ or different (hidden) version of oneself (like Superman and Clark Kent; or Jekyll and Hyde).

Some difficulties of being a writer

Blog post – 20th October 2022

If you are a writer, what should you write? Thoughts about books and writing…

By Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

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Books about life scripts and problematical mothers…

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Are you aware of your own life script?

Metal_Dog__Long_Roa_Cover_for_Kindle (853x1280)It is not easy for a writer to know what to write.

There are so many books in the world, and so very few readers.

More than 25 of the many books which are queuing for your attention were written (or co-authored) by me.

Recently I thought it would be good to write a book entitled ‘What is your Life Script – and how to change your destiny’.

It took quite a while for me to realize that this would duplicate a large part of a book which I have already written. Here is a brief extract:

Front cover, Who are you“Most people spend the whole of their life living as largely non-conscious victims of a script that they wrote for themselves, with the aid of their parents, when they were less than seven years old, when they hadn’t got enough sense to write a really good script for themselves.”

(Source: https://abc-bookstore.com/personality-and-destiny-how-to-change-them/)

That book is titled as follows: Who Are You, And Where Are You Going? Transformative insights from psychology and the philosophy of psychotherapy.

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The Mother Wound

Anyway, before I could make much headway with sketching out the content of a new volume on life script, I was overtaken by the desire to write a book about the way in which many humans are harmed, in the most vulnerable period of their lives – in the first three or four years – by damaged or difficult or unskillful mothers.

(Of course, motherhood is an impossible job in the modern world [and perhaps it always was!]; and it always surprises me that it works out as well as it does, for the exploited and oppressed mothers and their strangely resilient children!)

This volume would be like a cheese sandwich, with my Story of the Relationship with my Own Mother as the cheese; and with an opening slice of bread that would explore the nature of “mother wounding”, the symptoms resulting; and how to heal a “mother wound”. The final slice of bread would be about how you can assess whether or not you have a “mother wound”; and,if so, how to heal your own “mother wound”, resulting from neglect, abuse or abandonment (physically or psychologically).

However, in the process I overloaded myself, and had to mothball this project for a quieter time in my later life.

Metal_Dog__Long_Roa_Cover_for_Kindle (853x1280)And, in any case, I have written at great length about my relationship with my mother, in my fictionalized autobiography: Metal Dog – Long Road Home.***

The writing of that book was a significant part of my own personal-therapy journey – and it came close of healing my “mother wound” – with just a few bits left over which has since been cleaned up.

The extract from Metal Dog shown on the ABC Bookstore does not focus on my relationship with my mother; but the core of my fictionalized autobiography is about that relationship, and the aftermath of its dysfunctionality.

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The compulsion to write – as it anybody gave a tish!

Dr Jim, Authorship Coach, 2022And this morning – Thursday 20th October – I awoke with an uncontrollable urge to write something about books and the arts of reading and writing; and also about the frustrations and difficulties of living in a world in which there are too many books, and not enough readers; and not enough time to read all those things we could benefit from reading. For more, please go to this blog post: Too many books will never be enough; The books that build us up and tear us down!

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That’s all for now.

Best wishes,

Jim

Dr Jim Byrne

Doctor of Counselling

ABC Counselling and Psychotherapy Services

ABC Bookstore Online UK

The Institute for E-CENT Counselling

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Creative writing as self-therapy

Blog Post – 21st September 2022

Updated on 1st October 2022

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Creative writing as self-therapy and therapy for my readers…

By Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

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Counselling client on skypeCreative writing might seem to some to be a form of self-indulgence. A mere ego trip.

However, my experience tells me that I have done some of my best and most productive self-therapy when writing about my childhood, and the sex-love relationships of my early adulthood.

As I see it, fiction is particularly helpful for the following reasons:

  1. Firstly, many of our traumatic experiences are repressed out of conscious awareness, but they can often be accessed by allowing images to arise in our minds, as in the process of writing fiction.
  2. Secondly, if you had a traumatic experience, and then tried to write about it, you would run the risk of simply re-traumatizing yourself. However, if you create a fictional character – who might be a disguised alter-ego of yours – and put that character through a similar traumatic experience, then you are sufficiently “distanced” from the action to be able to process it to some degree.
  3. And if you repeat that process several times, you may very well burn out the entire traumatic memory; or reprocess it and strip it of its originally intense emotional charge.

Metal_Dog__Long_Roa_Cover_for_Kindle (853x1280)I know this very well because I wrote the first forty years of my life as a fictionalized autobiography, and it healed a lot of my wounds. (For more, please see Metal Dog – Long Road Home).

Recently I wrote a short story which explored the life of a four-year-old boy who experienced maternal rejection and neglect; and that may well be another example of further completion of some of my own childhood experiences. (For more, please see Blue Boy Karma).

Immediately after completing Blue Boy Karma, I wrote a new story about A Young Woman in Transit. I have no idea how that relates to my own life, or my own therapy. This is how that story begins:

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A Young Woman in Transit…

A short story by Jim Byrne

Copyright © Jim Byrne, September 2022

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Nothing moves on the silent, moonlit platform, where no train is due till morn. Nothing, that is, apart from the young woman in the cocktail dress and patently ludicrous stiletto heeled party shoes. Red shoes; blue dress; blonde hair; and bare arms. Biting September coldness shudders through her goose-pimpled skin. Autumn has arrived early.

The only other body on the platform is motionless. Lying face down on the stone slabs. A small red stream is still running from the back of his head, glinting gold-like in the bright moonlight.

A little while ago he was full of cocky bravado; proudly announcing that, although his wife could not be got rid of right now, he would, given time, find a way out of his pointless marriage.

But the young woman in blue and red was not easily mollified.

“I’m five months pregnant, Michael”, she shouts. “Five months gone.”

She turns suddenly and takes two steps away from him. Then she turns back and raises her voice even more, to cross the gap between them:

“Soon I’ll have to stop working. How will I feed myself?”

“Keep your voice down”, he implores her, even though there is no evidence that anybody could possibly hear her raised voice. They haven’t seen another human since they left the main road, ten minutes ago, and walked up the narrow track to the railway station.

“Be reasonable, Steph!” he begs her. “A man can only do what he can do.  Miracles take a bit longer.  I never said it would be instant!”

She had walked away from him then, clicking her way up the platform, and into the ladies toilet to cry.  Up the duff, with no idea how to survive. And the bastard, after all his promises, is prevaricating.  Worried about his comfortably-off suburban bank-clerk wife.

She peed, and then pulled her panties up to just below the now visible bump of pregnancy.  The death-knell of her youthful adventures. No more parties; no more foreign holidays.  Just a dusty bedsit, and a social security giro cheque; and a baby to care for.

Poverty faced her like the yawning mouth of a fun-eating monster.

… End of extract.

~~~

Perhaps this is about my mother; or one of my sisters; and the kinds of traps some young women have fallen into for decades, or perhaps even for centuries.

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Postscript – Dated 1st October 2022

Within days of writing those two stories, I wrote (or rewrote) another two stories, as follows: One about my first love affair. And one about the end of the affair I had after the end of my first marriage, when I was a relatively green thirty-year-old infant, in a foreign land.

Then a added a pre-existing story to produce a book of five short stories, as follows:

A book of short stories by Jim Byrne

Wounded hearts wandering hopelessly…

Five short stories about love, sex, passion and parting

Front cover, Wounded HeartsIntroduction

Let me tell you a story. I’d been living inside of some very depowering stories for nineteen years before I was woken up by reading Catch 22, by Joseph Heller.

Over the subsequent decades, I used the reading of fiction to teach myself about the mysteries of the human heart. and the way stories shape, and reshape us.

We live inside of stories we got from our parents and teachers, right at the start of our lives. And we use those stories, outside of our awareness, as our map of the world. Many of those stories are helpful or benign; but many are false and misleading, and they cause us to crash into all kinds of invisible walls, as we struggle to find or create a viable road through this very difficult world.

The five stories in this collection have the potential to clarify some human values, and to heal some human suffering, by experiencing it to the full for the first time.

I hope you enjoy these five stories, and that they change your life for the better!

Best wishes,

Jim Byrne, Hebden Bridge, September 27th 2022

For more, please click this link.***

~~~

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Writing Theapy book coverPostscript: For guidance on writing therapy exercises, please see my book on How to Write a New Life for Yourself!

That’s all for now.

Best wishes,

Jim

Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

ABC Counselling and Psychotherapy Services

ABC Bookstore Online UK.

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Facing up to your traumatic experiences, with support

Blog Post – 14th October 2021

By Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

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Current stress problems – which are intense or difficult to resolve – can be signs of deep, early developmental trauma

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Jim Byrne, Dr of Counselling, does health coachingI 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:

Hardback Trauma book, cover1“…, 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!

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Here is a quick insight into the approach I have developed:

The concept of Traumatic Dragons, and the process of healing

1, A New Dragons Trauma book coverTraumatic 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:

Initial requirements:

  1. 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!)
  2. 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);
  3. 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!)
  4. That they feel they have recovered the capacity to relate intimately and securely to at least one other person;
  5. 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;
  6. 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;

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Hardback Trauma book, cover1This 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.***

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I hope you find this information interesting and helpful.

Best wishes,

Jim

Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

Email: Dr Jim Byrne.***

Joint Director:  ABC Bookstore Online UK

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cropped-dr-jim-counsellor-therapist-hebden-bridge.jpgPostscript: 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/

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Trauma therapy for early childhood adversities

Blog Post No.3 on 13th September 2021

By Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

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Childhood trauma is a common cause of individuals ending up in counselling and therapy as adults

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Introduction

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.

My involvement

cropped-dr-jim-counsellor-therapist-hebden-bridge.jpgOver 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).

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♣ “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).

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♣ “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).

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Writing up my experiences

1, A New Dragons Trauma book coverThe 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

Metal_Dog__Long_Roa_Cover_for_Kindle (853x1280)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.

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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.

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That’s all for now.

Best wishes,

Jim

Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

Email: Dr Jim Byrne***

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Counselling and psychotherapy for childhood trauma

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Blog post 3 – 6th August 2021

Updated on 23rd November 2022

Do you need to dig up your childhood history, to resolve some current intractable problem(s)?

By Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

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Introduction

1, A New Dragons Trauma book coverMany people do not yet know that early childhood traumatic experiences – and that could just mean having a depressed mother who could not give you the face-to-face interaction and attention that you needed for your cognitive and emotive growth and development – predisposes them to being vulnerable to adult-onset Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Yes! It’s true. Most people who become traumatized by adult problems, like rape, mugging, house fires, plane or train crashes, are actually predisposed to having extreme reactions to highly stressful experiences, because they lack the resilience that comes from having a secure attachment to mother (and father) during their formative years[1]. Many of us have been abused or neglected in childhood; and physical and emotional abuse of young children are all too widespread, even today.

I have written about these kinds of connections, between childhood trauma and adult problems, and how to resolve such problems, in my book: Transforming Traumatic Dragons: How to recover from a history of trauma – using a whole body-brain-mind approach. Revised, expanded and updated: August 2021.

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My own trauma journey

I got into helping trauma clients, using strategies I had used to rescue myself from the damage of early childhood developmental trauma.

Long before I got down to writing about the trauma problems of other people, I had to work on my own childhood trauma damage.

One of the ways that I did that was to write my own autobiographical stories about my origins and my ‘relationships’.

Beginning with my story of origins, and moving on to my story of relationship problems, I eventually found my way into attachment theory and the work of Dr Allan Schore on the traumatizing experience of disruption of early attachment bonds between mother and baby.

Kindle coverOne of the main ways I did this work was to create an ‘alter ego’ – who I called Daniel O’Beeve.  I then put Daniel into those situations through which I have lived, and which I could dredge up from my memory banks; and I observed how he got on – from the ‘outside’ – (objectification!).  I then retrieved a lot of my old traumatic nightmares, and rewrote them in a literary style.

And then I created a set of ‘alien psychologists’ who could observe Daniel’s journey, through a “wormhole in space-time”, and to make comments about how to understand what is going on in his life, in a way that Daniel and I could never have commented! (Clearly this has to be called “a fictionalized autobiographical story”; and none of the characters in this story should be confused with any real individual, living or dead!)

I published all of that work in a book called Metal Dog – Long Road Home, which is now out of print.This book has been replaced by a more accessible, shorter book titled The Disconnected Heart of Daniel O.

And this is the Amazon description of that book:

Book description

Kindle coverThis book is about one man’s journey away from his homeland and his emotionally barren family and priest-dominated culture, to a place where he might find love, acceptance and personal liberation.

The author describes the traumatic events of his childhood, and the bleakness of life in Ireland at a time when the Catholic religion dominated the culture; and in a context where he and his family were country immigrants into an excluding city culture.

Much of his early childhood was repressed out of his conscious awareness, but his life did not work, in school, or as a teenager, because of the unconscious forces that made it difficult for him to relate to others, especially to girls.

In order to try to reconstruct his childhood, he uses a number of ingenious strategies, chief among them being:

– the creation of an alter ego (Daniel) who he follows through a kind of fictional life (based on scanty scraps of memories and family stories), to see how he responds to typical life events;

– the creation of certain archetypes, such as the little white goat; the little blue bear; a team of alien psychologists from another galaxy, who observe Daniel’s life, and discuss the psychological significance of certain developments.

– the development of a self-analysis, using various psycho-therapeutic ideas, insights and principles;

– and an account of the various therapy processes that he used, over many years to heal his heart and mind.

These strategies enabled him to re-experience and fully complete the previously non-conscious emotional wounds that had been hampering his personal development and his emotional and creative self-expression.

Kindle coverHe shares all of this information with the reader so that they too can complete any unfinished business from childhood which may be hampering their social or emotional performance in the world.

He also writes about his dreams and reveries, which contain various archetypal messages about the terrible suffering of his ancestors, which was passed down to his parents, and from them to him.

This is the story of that journey of digging up his childhood history and mythology, so he can digest it and understand it and draw its sting; and it is followed by advice about what you can do to heal your own early childhood emotional trauma; and to grow to the full capacity of your innate potential.

This book is written from the heart; woven out of metaphorical language of multi-faceted images; and haunting emotional scenarios.

For more information, and a substantial extract from this book, please click this link: https://abc-bookstore.com/childhood-developmental-trauma-autobiography/

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Would you like me to help you to process your childhood traumatic experiences? If so, please take a look at my page about myself and my main services, here: About Dr Jim Byrne.***

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Dr Jim in North YorkshireIf you keep trying to clean up the mess in your life – especially your relationship life – (but you keep finding that nothing seems to change for the better) – then it might be a good idea to

– consider the possibility that you were traumatized in early childhood;

– and get down to working on those experiences, so you can “rewire your right brain” for a happier life!

~~~

I hope this information helps.

Best wishes,

Jim

Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

The Institute for Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy

ABC Bookstore Online UK

ABC Counselling and Psychotherapy Services

Email: Dr Jim Byrne.***

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Endnotes

[1] Rass, E. (2018). The Allan Schore Reader: Setting the course of development. London: Routledge.

And:

Schore, A.N. (2012). ‘On the same wavelength: How our emotional brain is shaped by human relationships. Excerpts from the interview with Daniela F. Sieff (2012)’. In Rass, Eva (2018). The Allan Schore Reader: Setting the course of development. London: Routledge. Pages 20-27.

And:

Schore, A.N. (2015). Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self: The Neurobiology of Emotional Development. London: Routledge.

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Good and bad inner critical voices

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Blog Post D2: Theory of trauma impacts on self-criticism

By Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

26th June 2021

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Our legitimate (Good) Inner Critic (or conscience, super-ego, or Parent ego state) versus the Bad Inner Critic

Copyright (c) Jim Byrne, 2021

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Introduction

Six days ago, a person (called Mick Berry), on YouTube, contacted me about one of my videos – the main one on Anger Management – and suggested that I was simply reproducing the views of Dr Albert Ellis, despite my claim to have moved on from Ellis’s philosophy of Rational Therapy (REBT).  In my reply to that person – which can be read here: https://youtu.be/Esn9ZA6DHQE – I demonstrated that this was a misreading of my views.

Today, I completed Appendix D to my newly updated and expanded book on trauma recovery***, and it struck me just how far I have actually come since the heady (but simplistic) days of attributing the client’s emotional upsets to their “belief system”.

In Appendix D, I write about the client’s emotions, and various ways of processing their emotional problems through their visual and kinaesthetic channels; and then I move on to look in detail at their “feelings/attitudes/values/beliefs” about themselves – which cannot be boiled down to “mere cognitions”!

This is how Appendix D begins:

Preamble

Trauma victims are often very harsh in their judgements of themselves.  They take this harshness over from their abusers or victimizers.

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We each have a legitimate (Good) Inner Critic (or conscience, super-ego, or Parent ego state) which helps us to stay on the moral and legal straight and narrow path through life.

But we each also have an illegitimate, unjustified, and damaging (Bad) Inner Critic, which is based on an excessively harsh conscience; or self-hatred; internalized from others.

I call the legitimate (Good) Inner Critic your “Good Wolf” state, after the traditional view of the Native American Cherokee people.  They believed that we each have a war going on inside of us, between two Wolves; a Good Wolf and a Bad Wolf; and that the Wolf that wins is the one we feed.  So we need to make sure we feed our moral, loving, kind, compassionate, charitable, but also self-assertive Good Wolf; and to starve our immoral, hateful, hurtful and aggressive Bad Wolf.  (This has echoes of the European Christian view of the inner states of (1) sin [the Devil], and (2) the state of grace [or the indwelling Holy Spirit]. It also has echoes of Sigmund Freud’s distinction between the inner urges he called Thanatos [the Death urge] and Eros [the Love/Life urge]).

So our ‘Inner Critic’ ranges from moderate and moral – (which is the Good Wolf state) – to harsh and immoral (which is the Bad Wold state).

Therefore, our Inner Critic can be justified or unjustified.  (The only cases where it is justified all have to do with legitimate transgressions of moral rules or justified laws (or health and safety issues).

The inner critic is not justified in criticizing harshly your efficiency or effectiveness, or general judgements in life.

It also is not justified in blaming you for being victimized; or describing you as worthless or ugly, etc.

When we harshly criticize ourselves, and put ourselves down – especially when the criticism is unjustified, exaggerated or inappropriate – this damages our sense of self-esteem and self-confidence; and makes us miserably unhappy.

… End of extract. …

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Later in Appendix D I present a table in which I list the features of the client’s “Bad Inner Critic”; their “Good Inner Critic (or conscience); and their “Inner Coach/Mentor”.

Albert Ellis must be spinning in his grave!

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That’s all for now.

Best wishes,

Jim

Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

ABC Coaching and Counselling Services

Email: Dr Jim Byrne.***

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Sleep-walking lovers make many mistakes

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Blog Post D1: Theory of couple relationships

By Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

23rd June 2021

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Give up sleep-walking through your unconscious relationship

Copyright (c) Jim Byrne, 2021

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Introduction

young ethnic couple arguing on street
Photo by Budgeron Bach on Pexels.com

We humans sleep-walk into and out of our romantic or sex-love relationships.

If we want to be happier in our relationships, we have to wake up and pay attention to the skills of happy and effective relating.

Our conscious and non-conscious goals

We humans have a ‘design fault’ which causes us to believe we are wholly conscious beings, who make our choices consciously.  However, there is lots of research evidence to show that we are not capable of consciously processing all the information that we actually process every second of our day. In fact, we probably are conscious of about one-millionth of the data that our body-brain-mind processes, second by second.

How to have a wonderful, loving relationshipThere is research evidence to support the conclusion that individuals have both conscious and non-conscious goals, including goals for relationship.  That is to say, a person may tell you that they consciously are seeking a ‘perfect partner’, with particular positive qualities.  However, if you then watch what they do when they are presented with a choice between somebody with those positive qualities (in a speed dating context, for example), and somebody who totally lacks those positive qualities, you will too often find that they go for the person who lacks the qualities that they believe they are seeking.  And what is the explanation for this strange behaviour?  It has to be this: They also have non-conscious goals for relationship, and the non-conscious goal is normally very much stronger than the conscious goal.

This is the best explanation for the reason that advising individuals to carry a list of the desirable qualities of their ideal love match will not help.

They will make their choice on the basis of goals which are below their conscious level of awareness.

Isn’t it true that you have seen this perverse behaviour in yourself, and/or some of your close friends or relatives?

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My work on couple relationships

Dr Jim in Thirsk001I have been researching and writing about couple relationships for more than twenty years; and I have helped dozens of couples to either improve their marriage-like relationships, or to dismantle them as calmly and amicably as possible.

Take a look at my Couples Therapy page.***

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Or my main book on how to build a happy relationship.***

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Or my slender volume on how to more quickly fix your couple relationship.***

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That’s all for now.

Best wishes,

Jim

Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

ABC Coaching and Counselling Services

Email: Dr Jim Byrne.***

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Attachment theory in counselling and therapy

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Blog Post B2: Theory of emotive-cognitive embodied-narrative therapy

By Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

13th June 2021

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Principle Number 2 (of 20):

Each of us is born with an innate attachment drive…

…which causes us to attach ourselves to a main carer

woman in beige sweater carrying baby

Hello, and welcome to this, the second of twenty blogs about the basic theory of emotive-cognitive embodied-narrative therapy.

The first blog in this series argued that, if you want to understand a human being, any human being, you have to start from the reality that we each begin our life as a helpless baby.

In this blog I want to present the second principle of emotive-cognitive embodied-narrative therapy, as follows:

“… I accept the Attachment theory proposition, that the baby is born with an innate attachment drive, which causes it (after a period of about twenty to twenty-four weeks of development) to seek to attach itself to a main carer.  The attachment bond that is formed becomes either secure or insecure, depending upon whether the mother (or main carer) is “good enough” – meaning sensitive, responsive, and caring enough to soothe the affective states[1] of the baby.  Later father and siblings become important attachment figures for the baby. And the baby forms a set of internal working models of relationship based upon those earliest relationships.”

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happy black woman drinking wine with boyfriend

Over the many years that I have been involved in counselling and therapy, I have worked with dozens and dozens of disturbed or unhappy couples.  Very often, what I find is that one partner has an insecure attachment style which makes them anxious about losing their partner, and so they cling to their partner for dear life – shadowing them and trying to control their movements – so that they, the first partner, do not have to feel intense feelings of fear of abandonment.

Sometimes the other partner also has an insecure attachment style, but of a different variety.  This other variety is an avoidant attachment style, which makes them feel anxious that their partner will try to control them, or be available for a while and then let them down.  So, this second partner hates it when the first partner clings to them, or tries to regulate their movements.

This is a recipe for misery.

When I work with clients who have an insecure attachment style, either anxious or avoidant, I use my relationship with them to help them to feel what it is like to be in a secure relationship – unlike the insecure relationships they grew up with, involving their mother and father.

Front cover, DIY Couples, 2What was originally created in your relationship with your mother and father can be changed and improved in a relationship with a secure, attachment therapist.

And some people find that they can become more secure in their attachment styles, if they get involved in a romantic relationship with a person who has a secure attachment style.

Furthermore, some of the skills of being in a secure and happy relationship can be learned from books, and I very often send my couple clients extracted chapters from one or other of my two main books on couple relationships, as follows:

How to Have a Wonderful, Loving Relationship: Helpful insights for couples and lovers.***

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How to Quickly Fix your Couple Relationship: A brief DIY handbook for serious lovers.***

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jim-nata-couples-pg-w300h245

That’s all for today.

Best wishes,

Jim

Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

ABC Coaching and Counselling Services

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Email: Dr Jim Byrne.***

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Endnote

[1] An ‘affective state’ is a state of the body-brain-mind of an individual, in which there is physiological arousal and a felt sense of emotional attraction (‘positive affect’) or aversion (‘negative affect’).  For most practical purposes, among counsellors, the word affect may be used interchangeably with ‘feelings’ and ‘emotions’.

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Your childhood made you what you are

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Blog Post B1: Theory of emotive-cognitive embodied-narrative therapy

By Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

2nd June 2021

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Principle Number 1 (of 20):

We all begin as babies; and have our babyhood as our lifelong foundation

Dr Jim in North YorkshireHello and welcome to this, the first of twenty blogs about the basic theory of emotive-cognitive embodied-narrative therapy.

We forget our childhood at our peril. Unless we strive to remember our babyhood and childhood developmental experiences, and to “process it into a coherent narrative”, we cannot become fully human.

We are “grownup babies”, with all the scars and boons of our childhood hidden away in the basement of our brain-mind – unless and until we dig it up and make sense of it.

Most modern theorists of counselling psychology and psychotherapy make the mistake of “thinking” about humans as Adults; Adults who “think”, rather than former children who “perceive-feel-think” (or “perfink”) in Parent, Adult and Child-like ways.

Front cover, Lifestyle Counselling, 2020In our main book on emotive-cognitive embodied-narrative therapy (E-CENT), I wrote about that problem like this:

“Firstly, I do not make the mistake of extrapolating from adult functioning in order to understand the psychology of human nature.  Instead, I begin with the baby in the mother’s womb (where the mother may be more or less stressed, and more or less well nourished, depending upon the actual circumstances of her life).  I then move on to the baby post-birth, which is colonized by a carer (normally mother) who may be more or less sensitive to the baby’s signals of comfort and discomfort; more or less responsive to the baby’s needs; and more or less caring.  And I also take account of how stressed the mother was, by her life circumstances, even before the baby was conceived.  These are the foundations of human emotional and general psychological functioning.” (Page 49 of Lifestyle Counselling and Coaching for the Whole Person, by Jim Byrne, with Renata Taylor-Byrne).

What are the implications of this, the first principle of emotive-cognitive embodied-narrative therapy?

If you lose sight of your own foundations; or the foundations of those who are closest to you; or of you clients (if you are a counsellor, coach, psychotherapist, etc.), then you will end up dealing with the following false construct:

“The wholly autonomous, wholly conscious, independent, stand-alone, Thinking Adult”.

But no such thing exists!

– You can read more about this subject in the following book: Lifestyle Coaching and Counselling for the Whole Person.***

– Or you can review a range of books linked to the emotive-cognitive perspective, here: ABC Bookstore.***

– Or you can consult one of the co-creators of emotive-cognitive therapy (E-CENT) here: ABC Coaching and Counselling Services.***

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That’s all for now.

Best wishes,

Jim

Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

ABC Coaching and Counselling Services

Email: Dr Jim Byrne.***

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