I am always looking for more and better ways to cope with symptoms of PTSD/CPTSD. (Reminder, I was diagnosed with PTSD before Complex PTSD became an accepted term so I usually refer to PTSD.)
I follow two PTSD groups on Facebook. I don’t remember which one shared this but it was an interesting list of what is considered as best practices for working with someone that is an adult surviving child abuse.
Please, read the original. What I do here is share my perspective of each of the practices. So that my posts won’t get too long I tend to break it up over several days depending how much I have to say about each area.
This is my opinion and my perspective from living it. Someone else may see each of these differently. If you would like to share your perspective respectfully, I will be happy to post your comment. Please understand that I really do read every comment and if I consider them disrespectful or harming to others I will not post. If you want to comment only to me, ask me not to post it or you can post anonymously which I will also read.
I laughed at this very first one. Their answer is definitely from the perspective of the therapist. I never feel safe. Alone in a room by myself I feel danger lurking where none exists because much of the danger is inside my head and I carry it with me. After 7 years of counseling with one counselor he finally expressed his frustration that I ssttiillllll didn’t trust him. The look I flashed him indicated the “DUH” I was thinking. I called the counseling room, the Torture Chamber. I entered counseling in a deep dark pit of despair. My counselor imagined himself throwing a rope to me, what I saw dangling in front of me was a rope laced with broken glass. I knew if I grabbed a hold I would suffer. I also knew if I stayed where I was, I would die. Opening up to my counselor was an act of desperation and was painful. Cleaning out old wounds is much like cleaning out old festered cuts in the skin, pain comes first, then the healing can begin. If my counselor waited for me to feel safe to proceed we would still be waiting. What we did do was make a pact to move forward with the clear understanding that the process was necessary but not enjoyed by either of us. Some sessions were as hard on my therapist as they were on me. My counselor described the process more like a coach giving an athlete instructions to run a maze. His perspective was different from mine so could help me get past some of the hazards. I trusted him to some degree because he was on the other end of that ugly rope and if he let go, I felt there was no hope for me. He didn’t let go. He hung on and encouraged, nagged, persuaded, and badgered me into making healthier choices. I worked at lowering my guard, included all parts, and shared things that I shared with no one else. Because of my patchy memories, I realized that eventually he knew more about me than I did. That was very disturbing for me. I guess I did have a level of trust because I knew that knowledge was safe in his hands. He would not use what he knew about me to harm me. So to any therapist reading this blog don’t give up on the ones that appear to still not trust you, that line of connection maybe in their mind their only hope. Hang on. To those that are in the counseling process or deciding if they want to go this route, commit to it whole heartedly and feel the fear and do it anyway. Also stay aware that some counselors are not safe or don’t understand PTSD. I fired one counselor after 2 visits because the environment she put me in felt so unsafe to me I couldn’t focus on what I needed to say. She sat me with my back to the door and she was back lit with a large window behind her so I couldn’t read her expression. This was my second counselor so it wasn’t a case of this was new to me. She said she understood PTSD but her office screamed that she didn’t. Counselors attempt to create a space of safety, clients bring their courage and hopefully they can connect the two into a working relationship. Good luck.
In counseling, you bring in your puzzle pieces and try to put together your life; I just happen to be a 10,000 piece puzzle.