1:1 Therapy for Adults
From adverse childhood experiences to trauma recovery, healing and post-traumatic growth
"What if it isn't me?"
This is a question that can arise when you begin to realise that the emotional issues you have been struggling with aren't your fault. Perhaps you have done some personal research, and this has led you to reflect on the circumstances around your childhood experiences and upbringing. You may have "known" on some level that something wasn't quite right in your family, but you've struggled to make sense of it all.
Have you sometimes wondered if you are:
- Too sensitive
- Inherently defective
- Flawed in some way that you cannot put your finger on?
Do you suffer from low self-esteem, and feel lost or anxious in a way that seems difficult to express in words?
If so, please read on.
'What's wrong with me?' or 'Why am I like this?' are questions you've asked yourself quietly time and again...
These internal feelings are common if you suffered early relational trauma as a child. The good news is that there isn't anything "wrong with you," and things can change for the better.
Once you're ready to tackle your beliefs and feelings about yourself in therapy, you'll find that they can be reassessed in the light of your emotional experience as a child. Step by step, you'll make sense of your emotions, body, nervous system and relationships.
And all of a sudden, there is hope.
What is early relational trauma?
Early relational trauma stems from relationship injuries in childhood, that we suffered with those closest to us. Trauma can happen even if there are no overt signs of abuse, such as physical and sexual abuse. Sometimes, it's about the things that were absent, that you as a young child could reasonably expect: emotional nurture, loving care and warmth.
Infants are born with genetic expectations; that there will be at least one safe, caring adult to attach to, that there will be friendly faces to look into, that there will be gentle hands to hold them. They expect playful, attuned 'serve and return' interactions as well as protection from too much stimulation. It helps them figure out who they are and what they need - essential skills that we take with us into adulthood.
Young children need consistency of care (ie. that their physical and emotional needs are met most of the time) so they learn to develop trust that someone will be there. (If not, they will learn helplessness and despair). These things are must-haves, not nice-to-have. Without good-enough emotional care, we will struggle to develop a sense of self and understand and regulate or feelings. And we will wonder where our anxiety or low mood comes from.
Many people who have suffered early relational trauma say:
"I don't understand why I feel so bad, I had everything as a child! There was food on the table, and I had clean clothes."
But that's just one aspect of caring for a child.
The first unspoken messages we receive about our worthiness is how we are held and handled in our earliest months of life.
Our first experiences of emotional regulation come from being soothed by a calm, safe other.
Early relational trauma is as harmful as the other types of trauma including physical and sexual abuse. And it is always a part of the latter two. The good news is that things can get better. Your past has brought you to where you are now, but it doesn't define you. And exploring early relational trauma is about understanding how your experience has affected you, not about blaming parents.
Relational therapy is particularly good for this type of trauma, because relationship is the remedy that brings us back to a place of safety and belonging. Research has found that the therapeutic relationship is at the core of successful therapy.
Depth-therapy is a textured journey that will illuminate the hidden, unspoken and often unconscious experiences of the traumatized self. As it is longer-term, you can give yourself the time you need to figure out how your early emotional experiences impact you in the present.
Through conversation, embodied story-telling and self-inquiry, you will begin to invite inner peace and relational harmony and shift towards self-compassion and the dissolving of shame.
This way, you can begin to reparent and heal your inner child, instead of engaging in unhealthy ways to 'fill the buckets' of what you missed out on.
If this resonates with you and you would like to find out how I can help you, I would love to hear from you.