Outpatient Treatment Center
Trauma and Beyond ® is formulated on the premise that initial trauma work is best done in a stage model. At Trauma and Beyond Psychological Center ®, an outpatient treatment center, we are aware that clients can become re-traumatized if the work is moved into too quickly without the proper creation of structure, support, safety and stabilization. Some clients may come into therapy with the desire for “symptom reduction,” and at that point a person may decide they are satisfied with the work or they may decide that they’d like to continue the work more deeply into greater depth of understanding of how their past continues to color their present in order to be able to make choices rather than acting out in the present based on habit, or unhealthy patterns.
Clients may also come into therapy and say I’m here to do EMDR, which is wonderful but they need a well-trained therapist to teach them about the importance of the stages of work. What they may not initially know is that there is a neural pathway to strengthen or build before one should get into the “trauma” reprocessing. We want to start with the foundation. Just as you don’t build a house without the proper structure, foundation, the base, trauma work is similar. We want this in order to prepare the person’s internal foundation for this type of work. We also want to build a relationship so that there is security in the “interpersonal” space between therapist and client to support the trauma therapy corrective experience. This foundation between therapist and client is part of the attachment healing, it is not just the historic facts that are necessary for the work but it is also about creating a secure attachment relationship with the therapist as a foundational need.
Once the structure and foundation is completed we can move into Phase 2, the phase which we can work through attachment wounds and process the trauma whether that is through EMDR, SE, Sensorimotor, NARM, Art, Yoga, etc., and probably best with a combination of methodologies to help integrate the new data as it becomes conscious and no longer repressed or dissociated.
Another point of the importance of the foundational work is because there is a reason that the “trauma” material continues to haunt or color the way one experiences and perceives the world. There was something so distressful or dysregulating occurring that the information was pushed from the left-brain consciousness into the right-brain unconsciousness or if so severely dysregulating the material will lead to a dissociation, a “freezing,” of the mind/body versus a repression into the unconscious. (Note: This is a pretty technical explanation and we are happy to explain it further, feel free to contact us with any questions). Either from a dissociation or repression standpoint, the gentleness of our work is what facilitates the emergence and untangling of this material and provides the space for the corrective emotional experience and a completion of responses that were left unsaid or undone and frozen in the mind and body. Through the work, we help our clients develop the ability of our consciousness to be able to be “the watcher” of the material and watch it rather than “relive” it as a new trauma in the present. We help our clients “watch” and “revise” the traumatic experience from their adult self-state thus experiencing it in a different “format.” As the watcher a person can step outside the past experience and see it as a happening in the past, rather than an ongoing experience stimulating the nervous system, the thoughts, the sensations in the present moment. The present can become just that, the present, without the unprocessed and untangled experiences of the past.
I like to think of Phase 3 as the “sense of wonder” phase. As expressed by Allan Schore and Rachel Carson, this sense of wonder is a return to or even a first-time experience of seeing the world as exciting, beautiful, awe-inspiring, and full of wonder. This sense of wonder can be dampened or destroyed by the experience of developmental trauma. A child loses (note: if she/he even developed it at all, since trauma can occur prenatally, at birth or any time after that) this sense of awe when she/he feels neglected, feels different, not lovable, not seen, not important. These are all negative beliefs about oneself that a child may create about as an answer to “why is this happening to me?” A child is wired through basic survival needs not to blame the parent but to blame herself/himself. The trauma work includes uncovering these core negative cognitions and helping clients develop a sense of positive self-belief. Through all 3 of these phases of trauma healing the client has the therapist to accompany them on this journey of rediscovery, but most especially in this 3rd phase, the “beyond” phase, is when the healing brings a person into an empowered and hopeful place of mind.
We thank you for exploring Trauma and Beyond Psychological Center ®, an outpatient treatment center, as a place of your healing or for the healing of a loved one. Please contact us for a free initial consultation at (818) 351-3511 or read more about us at https://www.traumaandbeyondcenter.com/
The 3 Stage Model to a Sense of Wonder
Dr. Lynne Friedman-Gell and Dr. Joanne Barron