By Susanna Sweeney, MSc, MBACP, CHT
I have been working as a trauma therapist since 1994, helping people overcome the effects of trauma that were holding them back in life.
You have come to the right place.
I have been working with a lot of clients in my time. Most were dealing with major trauma such as child abuse, or sexual assault.
I am trained in sensorimotor psychotherapy which uses cutting edge systems, models and maps specially designed for trauma recovery. Although clients were making a successful recovery, I still found that talk based therapy can be very hard on the client. The slowness of it frustrated me too.
Hence I went looking for other ways of working because I wanted to be able to get better results for people like you, my potential clients.
In latter years, I have replaced pure talk based psychotherapy with much more advanced tools such as hypnosis for trauma, and Havening Techniques. You can find plenty of information about those methods in the section on healing mind and body.
I now understand trauma much better, too. One useful image for explaining how trauma works is to imagine your mind as a pressure cooker. At the moment, the pressure cooker is only luke warm, and there is some water in the bottom, the everyday content of your life.
Then, life brings you stresses and strains. The heat of life gets turned on underneath that pressure cooker. Inside, incidents like bereavements, surgeries, accidents, painful relationship breakups and also major traumas such as for example witnessing or being subjected to domestic violence, being the victim of crime and so on- all accumulate.
Steam builds. And eventually, when your mind cannot take any more, the pressure cooker will blow up.
By now, a critical amount of traumatically encoded memories have accumulated on certain receptors on the lateral surface of the amygdala. This is the moment that people become symptomatic, for example with anxiety, fears and phobias, addictions such as alcohol or food addiction.
Sometimes, a major trauma such as a car accident can act as the trigger that makes the pressure cooker blow up. Other times, there isn’t any one trigger but rather, symptoms come on slowly, over time.
Whatever symptoms you are experiencing that have brought you here to read my article, please know that there is help available. You do not have to carry this around with you forever.
With the work I do using hypnosis and Havening Techniques® I can help you to dismantle those receptors on your amygdala which are responsible for keeping traumatic stimulation in place. Once dismantled, the symptoms will stop, and we can then build up your resilience to prime you for living your ideal future, the life that you love.
I look forward to hearing from you and to working with you, helping you with this process, whenever the time is right for you.
My typical programs consist of four session which are, on average around 1.5 hours in length. During these four sessions I expect major change to take place. You can expect to feel lighter, brighter and more joyous, looking forward to your ideal future.
After that, some clients book a few more sessions if their work isn’t quite complete yet. Everybody is different. However, achieving major change in the way that I work will never become long term work.
Compare that to psychotherapy. A few years ago, when psychotherapy was all I had on offer, I had to ask clients to commit to a minimum of two years with me before they could expect to feel substantially better. With weekly appointments over two years, you can calculate for yourself what that would cost.
In contrast, my programs deliver major change in a short space of time and for a fraction of the price.
When I started first, in the early nineties, I only used simple talk therapy. Listening to people, without judgement, reflecting back what you heard, asking simple questions about meaning and emotions in relation to the story line.
During the first little while in counselling, many clients would experience benefit in talking. Often, they had never told anyone before what had happened to them.
Reassurance that what they were experiencing was a natural response to trauma was also helpful because it made people feel less broken where for many years they might have felt there was something very wrong with them.
But once they had talked about the parts of their story they did want to talk to, many pieces remained that they found too difficult to talk about at all- typically the actual nitty-gritty detail of the traumatic events.
I worked hard to ask the right questions leading to deeper exploration. That’s what counselors and psychotherapists are taught to do. Their tools are talking tools. But a lot of the time, these questions would not lead anywhere. Avoidance and staying in the comfort zone would win the day. I had internal conflict about this. I wanted to be able to help people better. At the same time, I did not want to push people into anything they did not want to do.
And then there were those clients, especially youngsters, who found no real benefit in talking at all. They could not find the words. The trauma was almost physically present in the room with them. Just sitting with me could be enough to bring up powerful negative feelings such as shame- feelings to overwhelming to put words on. Those clients would often drop out after one or two or three sessions, never to return. And very likely feeling as bad as they did before they first came in.
Of course there is always that edge in trauma work. Who wants to willingly engage with their traumatic past and the feelings attached? It’s the one thing we all work to avoid the most, and it’s the one thing we all need the most at the same time. So that we can grow. So that we can let this trauma go, and move on.
These were the kinds of questions that led me on to search for other ways of working with trauma- ways that were going to be easier on both the clients and the trauma therapist. I am delighted to have found some answers and to be in a position to offer you my assistance.
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