1. I think one of the best points I've read is that Trauma is diagnosed based on memory (of an event) and so logically you might think that the treatment is about the memories, but not so...
2. Trauma is seen behaviorally (what others see in the person suffering from trauma) - they outwardly appear as irritable and angry and lack engagement with people and keeps people at a distance. So, logically you might think that the treatment is about anger and stress management, but not so fast...
3. Trauma is experienced as feeling disconnected, feeling different, lost, loss of hope, loss of interest, questioning life/god/purpose/meaning, not feeling they belong, guilt and grief. So... logically you might guess that treatment is about helping the person CONNECT and ENGAGE in their own life and with others. This treatment would look completely different from the treatments in the first two.
4. Self-Help and Alternative Treatments that help trauma that I know of and have experienced and used personally and professionally are: somatic mindfulness, Qigong, yoga, EFT/Tapping, NLP, Emotrance, EMDR, and the body-oriented 'Trauma Release' method.
5. Wellness treatment would be about developing a daily routine of wellness, self-care and self-love, social support from others recovering from trauma and dealing with emotional flashbacks (see Jeff Walker's book "Complex PTSD" and read his '13 Steps To Managing Emotional Flashbacks'.) The more times you read it, before, during and after emotional flashbacks, the better it works.
6. The best help from others would come in the form of validation, validation, validation.
"Don't focus on the diagnosis or the symptoms, focus on the inner experience and on wellness treatment (develop wellness routines) which in other words is helping with self-nurturing, self-care and self-love."
Feeling safe is the big issue, so loving self and being supported is a huge factor before someone is ready to work on connecting and engaging with others again. They first need to connect and engage with themselves and their old interests and their strengths and accomplishments and hobbies, art, nature, relaxation, pet therapy, etc.
Rather than focus on memories of the past, or actions and behaviors of the present, focus on activating interests in the near future. Make it easy and fun and help yourself by seeing yourself doing it later today or in the next few days. One of the easiest ways to do this is to give yourself some coloring sheets to color and color for relaxation for 5 minutes this week. Then build on that.
You're teaching yourself to move and to move forward and to move forward into recovery by doing something for yourself now - even while going through pain and issues and depression, etc. Doing is not thinking, not analyzing, not trying to feel or not to feel anything, just focus on the DOING (engages yourself in activity, connects you with your creativity), see yourself doing some coloring in the near future.
Validate the present, empathize the past, but focus on the near future taking baby steps into engaging in life again.
1. Focus on self-care and safety
2. Use EFT/Tapping to decrease distress with relationship issues such as codependency (see my book at the end of this post, "EFT for Codependency").***
3. For domestic violence or child abuse survivors, I suggest a daily reader such as "Encouragements for The emotionally Abused Women" by Beverly Engel. (See it on the right-side panel or search on Amazon for it.)
4. For grief there is a daily reader type book called "Dance With Grief" by Christina Rasmussen.
5. For abandonment there is a little book called, "Black Swan - The Twelve Lessons of Abandonment Recovery".
6. Books on healing from Narcissistic Abuse are helpful to many.
7. There are a lot of YouTube videos on all of these topics to find comfort, validation and good tips.
8. Fake your way through acting or thinking about your interests, do something that gets your attention, give yourself approval and permission and homework to do things you used to do even if you don't feel like doing them. Going through the motions of doing them helps the interest slowly come back.
9. List of 81 Self-Nurturing activities are very easy and gentle and helpful when you can't think of anything to do. (It's part of my "Miini GRAPES Booklet" Click here for your copy. )
10. Lastly, get psycho-education on PTSD and Trauma. Educate yourself, discuss it with others who are trauma-informed, read about it.
Often times there is depression also.
I've read that depression is caused by two things:
1. unmet needs (see the 9 Human Needs article)
2. lack of pleasurable activities which stimulate the brain's neurotransmitters to produce feelings of safety and well-being.
It makes sense to treat yourself by first attending to your human needs and then scheduling in your calendar pleasurable activities a little at a time.
If you go on living with unmet needs, you feel pain and fear. Painful memories of not getting your needs met are always being triggered and fear of future needs being met are always being doubted.
So, deal with pain, fear and anger around your unmet needs and start adding in pleasurable activities to meet those needs.
Think of 3 things you can do each day to do this that are easy or fun or both and do them like brushing your teeth, make it a habit or part of your regular routine.
Create a new routine that addresses your human needs. This can grow over time, it's easier to start out slow.
Deal with barriers, negative self-talk holding you back, triggers and red flags by creating a list of strategies of your favorite coping skills.
Chart moods and activities so you can see how they affect each other.
***Note: "Thought Field Therapy (TFT) for the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms" is one of SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices". TFT is another form of EFT Tapping. So even the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has approved of and agrees there is evidence for using Meridian Energy Techniques (Tapping) for PTSD symptoms.
Tapping helps take the charge out of distressful emotions, decreases the intensity of painful and stressful emotions and helps the brain think more clearly as a result which aids the recovery process.
Tapping is like "acupuncture for the emotions without the needles". There are tons of YouTube videos with Tap-A-Longs to follow so you can start using it right away.
A note on fear. When you feel fear, write down what you are scared about and then question the assumptions you have that are scaring you. Then explore the opposite of our worries, focus on what might be gained if we changed our actions (to more recovery actions), What if you get better? What good can come of this?
Instead of letting fear take over your mind, ask your mind what would help you right now. Rewrite your fearful stories to ones with happy endings. Fantasize not about what bad might happen, but about what good might happen. What would be optimal for you at this time? Day dream about that.
It's OK to feel fear, just make sure you also put your mind on the opposite of fear because we don't know what will happen in the future. We are free to fantasize about the worst or best case scenario.
For every negative, try to think of 5 positives. An easy way to do this is to do a gratitude list. Think of 5 new things you're grateful for every day.
Learn techniques and processes that help you connect with your inner self so that you will be able to later connect with the outer world, people and experience again. You might find that you do so even better than ever before as you practice these healing suggestions.
"When worried or depressed, do art or work", is a quote I read years ago and can't remember where, but I remembered it and used it many times.
I either lose myself in art or engage in a goal-directed activity like work, house work, yard work, whatever, and both of these activities have helped me get out of myself and give me a relief.
Doing nothing makes you feel worse and lets your head take over even more, beating yourself up, further lowering your mood and fatiguing your body. Doing work or art helps you break up that pattern. Forgive yourself for failing to do any of these tips. Each day is a fresh new day to give it another try.
Write a "Success Log". Every day write down what you did successfully that day.
Re-live successful and positive experiences from the past.
Learn to re-frame negative thoughts. Ask yourself, "what good can come of this"?
List your favorite songs. Listen to them more often.
Try yoga poses or just stretch during the commercials if your stuck on the couch.
Practice seeing yourself having positive experiences with others and doing positive things in the future. Even if you can't see yourself doing them now, see yourself doing them in your future. Use the wonderful tool of your imagination! Your brain takes that in as a goal and a hope to shoot for. The more you think on positive things, the more etched the groove gets in your brain's neural pathways.
Same goes for the more you procrastinate or let your mind beat you up or scare you, which continues the downward spiral of doing nothing, feeling bad. So it's a huge chore to do, but, what else is there to do? Just make yourself do it one time.
You only have to do 1 thing to get the upward spiral started. You'll go through ups and downs, but keep focusing on recovery tips above, pick your favorites, and you are self-healing and supporting the upward spiral of recovery.
Finally, it takes courage to recover, you may have to fight your way through to it, but you can face your fears and embrace your courage. Use these tools to help you. You're not alone and you're not the only one. These tips have been used by thousands of sufferers who report recovery helped them feel better and get their life back on track. Even if it takes a long time... time is going to go by anyway, so now is a good time to start planting seeds of your intention to recover and heal.
For A FREE Self Help Guide for Trauma, Click Here!
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There's someone out there would will appreciate you for it.
JP Bailey, M.A.
Interested in EFT for Codependency Recovery? Get Relief from Emotional Pain & Relationship Issues! Kindle Book: "EFT for Codependency"