As a clinical counselor, I would estimate that 95% of the clients I see have experienced some kind of trauma in their lives. And that 100% of those clients would like their trauma to be “fixed”.
Trauma cannot be fixed. It can only be lived with, better.
As soon as I tell clients that there is no way to “fix” or get rid of or not be affected ever again by their trauma, they generally make one of two decisions.
They get upset and decide that I am a terrible therapist and that surely there must be one out there who can “fix” them or that therapy is bogus and they are never trying it again and they do not come back to see me again OR they decide they are willing to try to live better with their trauma.
You can remove trauma or at least obliterate it from memory. One way to do that is to have a lobotomy. Another way to do it is to undergo ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) or shock therapy. Hypnosis can make you “think” you have removed trauma, but it only replaces it with another thought or reaction.
Otherwise, trauma remains part of who we are, forever. It can control our thoughts. It can control our actions and reactions. It can control our lives.
If we allow it to do so.
Or we can gain control over our trauma and learn to live BETTER with it.
Step one, acknowledging and confronting all of our traumas. Knowing them. Being able to name them, talk about them, and recognize how they started. We must truly understand what our traumas are in order to learn to better live with them.
Step two, we must learn and accept how these traumas now control our lives. What emotions do they make us feel, what beliefs have they created in our minds, how do they affect our relationships with others, how do they affect our relationship with ourselves? Recognizing that how we live with trauma is how we live our entire lives. Every aspect of our lives.
Step three, we must work to change negative beliefs, emotions, choices, actions, and reactions. We must work to replace these with positive. We must work to confront these with the truth instead of the trauma-informed lies. We must consistently, constantly with every single one apply repetition and reinforcement to live better with our trauma.
It is exhausting work.
And this is the point where those who have chosen to stay at work to live better with their trauma start to reconsider. In the world of quick fixes, instant gratification, change at blinding speed, the work required to change our trauma-informed life can seem overwhelming. And many will give up at this point feeling that it is too hard and that living the way they have always lived is easier.
But it is not easier, it is just comfortable, familiar.
Those that stay after this point come to understand that by doing this work they can live better with their trauma — despite their trauma. As survivors.
Living better means having positive beliefs about yourself. Living better means having more positive emotions than negative in relation to your trauma and your life.
Living better means making more positive choices because you want to make them not because your trauma-informed lies direct you to make them. Living better means having positive actions and reactions based on what you truly want for yourself not what your trauma-informed lies tell you that you deserve.
Trauma cannot be fixed. As a therapist, I do not have a magic wand. What has happened to all of us happened, it cannot be erased.
It can be lived with — BETTER — with work, with understanding, with love for yourself.
Trauma creates change you don’t choose. Healing creates change you do choose. ~ Michele Rosenthal
Until next time be well,