To illustrate what complex trauma recovery may look like, let me share a little about my own experience with it. Everyone is different!
To illustrate what complex trauma recovery may look like, let me share a little about my own experience with it. Of course everyone is different! This is just a tiny snapshot of my experience. And my journey isn’t finished, but I’ve come a really long way.
I was in addiction recovery for several years until I recognised that some of my childhood experiences had been traumatic and had affected me and the way my brain and physiology developed.
What helped me in the beginning is to read and learn about trauma. I also went to a 12-step program that deals with trauma, which was wonderful because I learned a lot about trauma and could put a name to my experiences and find a tribe that I could relate to. For me, both in addiction and in trauma recovery, having a community has been instrumental!
Being able to draw on a resource bigger than myself was (and still is) very important for me. Through my addiction recovery, I was already very familiar with following spiritual pursuits and cultivating a relationship with what I call ‘Spirit’. I was also familiar with doing self-care and bodywork, including meditation, yoga, pilates, acupuncture, massage, cranio-sacral therapy and Chinese medicine, chiropractic, reiki…and many more things! Bodywork really helped me. Art and dancing have also been part of recovery for me, as well as being out in nature and going to silent retreats.
I studied trauma because of course, the motivation for being a therapist comes out of my own life experiences. I also did different types of therapy with various therapists. I found hypnotherapy, EMDR, brainspotting, Somatic Experiencing, Internal Family Systems, and Deep Brain Reorienting all very interesting and helpful in different ways. I know it’s not everyone’s thing but I personally enjoy experimenting with different healing modalities and I usually do my own therapy in whatever modality before I decide to train in it so I can offer it to clients.
I spent a fair amount of what trauma therapist Pete Walker calls ‘grieving and angering’. That means, I spent time being angry and resentful and really processing the things I missed out on as a child, and the things that happened to me. And grieving for what was lost or didn't eventuate.
Since I’ve come across Internal Family Systems, I have adopted it as my main modality both for my own therapy, as a lifestyle, and in working with clients. But I keep experimenting with various healing modalities in my own personal work and am always fascinated to learn more about trauma. My journey is not finished. It brings a lot of meaning and purpose to my life.
Once again I want to say that everyone is different and what worked for me may not be relevant to you. But I hope in sharing my experience a little bit, it can give you an insight of what trauma recovery might look like, and demystifies it a little bit.