The effects of trauma and its consequences are experienced immediately, months and years afterwards. What makes the effects of trauma more difficult is the experience of aloneness in it’s immediate suffering and in the aftermath of overwhelming emotional experience. The terror, shame, shock and pain grips us in our inner world, without witness or understanding. This makes trauma boundlessly more difficult from which to recover. This aloneness makes it difficult to establish trusting and intimate relationships in the future and confuse us about what and who is safe. It can create havoc as we try to regulate our emotions in reactions to current experiences in our lives and can imprison us behind defenses and walls that keep us feeling emotionally isolated. We don’t turn to others when we feel distress; we turn to substances, compulsive behaviors, self-harm.
Therefore, it is the undoing of this aloneness that is the key healing and therapeutic action for the therapist and client. The therapeutic relationship needs to be felt as a safe haven, a secure base to face the many consequences of trauma and the many losses it has caused. It is the therapeutic base from which current life challenges can be faced and their emotional reactions harnessed to face and heal what the past has left behind. But this time not alone. Undoing the aloneness, therapist ,and client together facing, feeling and dealing, is our therapeutic aim. With sensitive and careful moment to moment attunement, engagement, and guidance, this is the foundation, with which I approach working with trauma, whether it is physical violence, emotional abuse, neglect, loss, heartbreak. All other techniques or tools which I can utilize are only effective when this foundation of safety and undoing the emotional aloneness is the foundation of our therapeutic action.