This blog is an integration and a follow-up to the previous blogs written by myself and by Nic Jonwik Strang about therapy options for trauma survivors. Nic is the founder of CPTSD & PTSD Research.
Complex trauma or Complex PTSD can develop as a result of repeated or on-going traumatic events. Complex trauma can happen at any time in our life, however, for the purpose of this blog, the focus will be on attachment trauma related to childhood abuse or neglect.
In recent years, trauma specialists have argued that the use of conventional therapy alone is ineffective in treating trauma and that a multi-level approach is needed. Trauma-informed therapy is gaining more recognition as trauma researchers examine and interpret their findings. They have shown repeatedly that a holistic approach, which includes both somatic-based and subconscious-based healing, is needed.
Some of the options to consider in terms of therapy for trauma are, but not limited to the following:
- Developmental Trauma
- EMDR / Brainspotting
- Equine Approaches
- Parts Work / Inner Child / Dissociation (e.g. Ego State Therapy , Internal Family Systems)
- Somatics and Attachment (e.g. Somatic Experiencing, Trauma Releasing Exercises, NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM™) )
- Polyvagal Theory, Trauma, Neurodivergence and Autism (e.g. Autism Reframe Technique (ART))
- Pre- and Peri-Natal Trauma
- Touch-Based Approaches (Bodywork and Somatic Education (BASE), NeuroAffective Touch )
- Trauma-Informed Mindfulness and Yoga (e.g. David Emerson’s work via Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga
There is great progress in the States and Canada when it comes to trauma therapy, however, it is still limited in the UK. I am hoping for this to change in the UK and across Europe. It is my mission to shift the limited approaches we have in the UK when it comes to trauma therapy and instead being able to offer appropriate holistic and embodied approaches to trauma healing, especially for those who have had years of medication and conventional therapy with no or little progress. One way I have tried to achieve this goal is by inviting a specialist trauma clinician from Canada to offer a 5-days trauma training to therapists, counsellors, clinicians, psychologists and mental health professionals in the field of trauma here in the UK. I am very pleased to be able to offer a very unique trauma and attachment training here in the UK as a host agency. This training will be delivered by the well-reputed Attachment and Trauma Treatment Centre for Healing (ATTACH). It will be an embodied approach that will consider the neurological, physiological, biological, emotional and psychological impact of trauma, and when working with trauma healing. As far as we know, we have no certification training like this in the UK. This training will be offered online, which means it will be accessible to the global community (UK time zone). You can read more about it here: https://steppingstonespsychology.com/events/trauma-attachment-certification-training/
I have also developed a number of specialist group programmes to support adult survivors of childhood trauma. I integrate elements from various trauma therapy approaches into these programmes The feedback has repeatedly been that participants had found the 6-weeks programmes more helpful than any Individual Therapy they had attended before. This positive feedback highlighted what was lacking in terms of trauma work and motivated me to expand my clinical practice. I have recently been working on a therapeutic membership package dedicated to those living with complex trauma/complex PTSD, and this is due to be launched on 1st August 2020. This membership will offer you a number of weekly sessions, access to a healing book club, a secret support group and also discount to all our future events. You can read more about this here: https://steppingstonespsychology.com/blog-resources/membership-launch/
Another common issue is the struggle parents go through when they have experienced trauma themselves. Something as trivial as their child crying, or climbing all over them, or wanting to play with them can be very triggering and overwhelming due to their past trauma. Issues such as emotional flashbacks, hypervigilance, dissociation and other survival resources kick in, and consequently interfere with the way one wants to parent. This awareness led me to develop a carefully planned programme to support parents living with trauma. Athena Moberg, the founder of CPTSD Foundation was very impressed by this work and has invited me as a guest speaker to speak alongside leading professionals in the field of trauma work, including Bessel van der Kolk (a big internal YAY! Super-excited about this one). I will be speaking about this sensitive topic which we often don’t mention, discuss or acknowledge: Parenting with a History of Trauma. My talk will be part of the CPTSD Foundation’s summit called ‘We are Healing Trauma’. This summit is aimed at survivors of complex childhood trauma/CPTSD and I am sure you will find the talks to be a helpful resource. You can find more details here: https://cptsdfoundation.org/wearehealingtrauma/
The summit will be a fundraising event by CPTSD Foundation. They do some fantastic work to support trauma survivors for a very low cost. As all of their services are virtual, they will be accessible to the global community. You can find out more about their services here: https://cptsdfoundation.org/
I am acutely aware that specialist trauma therapy and therapeutic services are not commonly accessible through the NHS or any other free services. This means that often those who are the most in need of this service are the ones who do not get access to it due to their underprivileged or disadvantaged circumstances. This is one of the main reasons why I ensure to offer a limited number of free and discounted spaces to those who are committed to attending our events but are unable to due to their financial situation. I will continue to offer this, however, as a business, I cannot afford to offer this on a high demand basis. I have therefore created a Bursary Fund which is a ‘pot of money’ that we keep for people who want to access our services, but who cannot afford it due to genuine financial difficulties. This will allow anyone to make a donation to the fund which will then go towards the access to our services for those who cannot afford it. Should you wish to donate, you can do it here: https://www.gofundme.com/manage/bursary-fund-for-trauma-survivors
Nic is researching into better support services for trauma survivors. Those of you who feel comfortable to have an opportunity to share your experiences with her in relation to the support and therapy you have received when it comes to your trauma healing. Please don’t share any information about your trauma history, only information about your therapy experience, and this does not need to be detailed. Providing something brief to give us a general picture will be more than enough and will minimise any risk of you getting triggered or destabilised. To let us know what is lacking and how can we fill that gap, email Nic at: Alexnicola4@gmail.com
I would also be interested to know if there is anything that you would like us to offer here at Stepping Stones Psychology to support trauma survivors or perhaps we are already offering it but you would like us to offer more of this.
All of this would really help both Nic and myself to think about how we can make a difference in the field of trauma work and support. Many thanks in advance.
Specialist Trauma Therapeutic Services: To find out more about the trauma-informed therapeutic services offered by Stepping Stones Psychology, please follow this link: https://steppingstonespsychology.com/events/
Specialist Trauma Therapy: To find out more about specialist trauma therapy by Stepping Stones Psychology, please follow this link: https://steppingstonespsychology.com/specialist-trauma-therapy/
Specialist Trauma and cPTSD Therapeutic Membership Package: To find out more about the membership for a Specialist trauma and C/PTSD Therapeutic Support Package. , please join our private Facebook group: www.facebook.com/groups/PTSDandTraumaSupportPackage/
Research for CPTSD, PTSD and Trauma: To support and partake in a UK-based research for survivors of trauma, PTSD and CPTSD, please follow CPTSD & PTSD Research UK via this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2348717965433957/
Vision & Mission of CPTSD & PTSD Research UK: This group involve research and resources, including some excellent trauma-informed blogs. CPTSD & PTSD Research UK is found by Nic Jonwik Strang, and you can read more about her story, vision and mission here: https://blog.ptsdresearchuk.co.uk/2020/06/about.html
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