What is Trauma-Informed Therapy

"Recovery can take place only within the context of relationships; it cannot occur in isolation."
- Judith Herman

Judith Herman developed the 3 stage model of Trauma Recovery. Through her research she was able to establish understanding around the significance of supporting a person through the challenges of re-connecting with their body and sense of self. Judith Herman recognised; the healing of trauma is not linear. It is not a neat and tidy process; it is not a mathematical calculation. It is human, the human condition predicates there will be highs and lows, progression and regression. These need and deserve to be accepted unconditionally, empathically and genuinely.

Recognition of the impact trauma has on our brain, and our body, is information which provides us with the opportunity of choice. It provides us with the choice of self-awareness and self-compassion. It provides the opportunity to receive the knowledge, this is about what has ‘happened‘ to you, rather than, what is ‘wrong‘ with you.

With this awareness, the opportunity to explore the trauma, relationally and experientially is open. A person is able to explore and re-build in the way which suits their own needs. It is not essential to re-visit the trauma(s), it may be sufficient for a person to explore the sensations and feelings evoked. Another may feel their experience(s) needs to be heard by another, to be witnessed and acknowledged. There is a call for validation which deserves to be answered.

Following this daunting and difficult period, the seed of growth has taken root. Judith Herman refers to it as ‘Reconnection‘. Linking into my person-centred approach, I would refer to it as ‘post-traumatic growth‘, researched extensively by Professor Stephen Joseph. Either phrase feels to me a moment to respectfully acknowledge the past while moving on with the present. The self-awareness and authenticity which has been quietly finding strength can now begin to flourish, with care and nurturing. There is acceptance of self, acceptance of why we are as we are, acceptance of not being who we may have been, while able to embrace who we are, in the here and now.

"Suffering need not destroy" - Terry Waite CBE