Sometimes in addiction treatment, just getting free from using drugs or alcohol can hijack all our attention. I cannot stress enough how important it is to recognize trauma’s role when we talk about addiction treatment and recovery. The article “The Link Between Trauma and Addiction” by the Maryland Addiction Recovery Center made this point so well. I want to follow up from a trauma-informed care perspective.
The phrase “self-harming behavior” may call up images of troubled teenagers with cuts on their arms. But self-injury can occur for people of any age, in children, adolescents and adults, whether male or female. This is not at all a teenage fad!
From the outside, it seems puzzling that any person could develop an eating disorder like anorexia, bulimia or compulsive overeating. When we see someone starving themselves or eating themselves into obesity, the temptation is to criticize or correct them: “Just stop it! Can’t you see you’re hurting yourself?”
But criticism or judgment is the last thing a person with an eating disorder needs. If we want to help people Continue reading
We know that good relationships are so important to our happiness, yet we may not know just how vital they are to our health and well-being.
What do our connections to others give us? And what happens when we don’t have them?
Many people struggle to take a compliment. It doesn’t matter if the compliment comes from a loved one, a stranger, or a trusted source, like a therapist. The struggle goes much deeper than manners, modesty, or cultural norms.
I’m talking about the inability to accept what therapists call positive affect. The issue for some is about feeling, deep down, that you don’t deserve it, that you can’t believe it, that as a person you are not worthy, and that you can’t allow or take in the experience of feeling good about yourself, or even believing someone else feels good about you either. Continue reading
People seek therapy to get help making an important personal change, by their choice or urged by loved ones.
Maybe you are being proactive and preparing for a happy event such as a wedding or a new baby, and you want to get off to a strong start.
Maybe you are struggling with a relationship, a diagnosis, alcohol or substance abuse. You may be experiencing thoughts and feelings that make it very difficult to get through each day.
Regardless of the reason, you want an effective therapist to help you find the insights and new abilities you need. Continue reading
Survivors of childhood trauma deserve all the peace and security that a loving relationship can provide. But a history of abuse or neglect can make trusting another person feel terrifying. Trying to form an intimate relationship may lead to frightening missteps and confusion.
How can we better understand the impact of trauma, and help survivors find the love, friendship and support they and their partner deserve? Continue reading
What Causes Substance Abuse and Dependence, and How to Help Break the Cycle
On the day Amy Winehouse died, my whole body caved in. My warped logic was that if Amy’s manager, her family, her doctors, her bodyguard couldn’t keep her alive, then honestly, what hope did we have? Us or any of the families… who reluctantly tag along on an addict’s grand tour, seeing sights we never wanted to see, meeting people we never would have chosen to sit next to at breakfast, in the cockeyed hope that one day our loved one might come home to us. Continue reading
PTSD: Why Does It Happen? How Survivors Can Heal
A traumatic event is something no one is prepared to deal with. You may feel your mind and body are in a state of shock from the experience. You may have nightmares, feel jumpy, or find yourself re-playing the event in your mind. You may even feel disconnected from the world around you. What happened was traumatic, and any person would feel shaken up. This is natural and human. Continue reading
The journey toward mental wellness and self-care can be especially challenging for trauma survivors. “Trauma literally means ‘wound, injury, or shock,'” according to the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD). “It refers to extreme stress that overwhelms a person’s ability to cope,” writes Esther Giller of the Sidran Institute. The impact of trauma makes it difficult for survivors to understand their own experiences, and can interfere with their ability to get the help they need.
A trauma-informed therapist develops skills to become mindful of the impact of trauma to aid in working with clients. This awareness is the basis for a therapeutic relationship that is responsive to the needs of trauma survivors. Understanding the trauma-informed approach is important because it can help all of us recognize the challenges trauma survivors face when seeking healing and support. Continue reading