It is my Mission to change the approach of emotional trauma healing.
Even after years of counseling, psychotherapy or even medication many trauma survivors still feel no step closer to healing their emotional pain. This leaves them feeling helpless and hopeless. They may even feel as if something is terribly wrong with them for not being able to let the past go and move on. This alone should be enough prove that the current treatment options are less than adequate.
Traumatic events, no matter the type, affect not only our emotions, but our whole system. A victim will be affected on a physical, mental and emotional level and each of these levels have to be addressed individually. Let’s look at sexual assault and how trauma will affect a person on all levels.
THE PHYSICAL LEVEL
On the physical level lies the memory of the physical assault. The memory of the unwanted touch, the memory of the body being entered against the victim’s will. The memory of being helpless and powerless to the unwanted advances. When we think about the sexual act, we think about a feeling of pleasure, yet when someone is being forced into a sexual act against their will, it is a feeling of sheer disgust. There is not pleasure anywhere. This feeling is unlike anything I have ever felt and for someone who has never been sexually assaulted or raped, probably impossible to understand. This memory will never fade. No matter how many years have passed, a rape victim will always remember how it felt when it happened.
THE EMOTIONAL LEVEL
The emotional level holds all the emotions we experienced when we were assaulted as well as any emotion that was added afterwards – from lack of support by our loved ones, friends or caregivers, as well as any mental manipulation tactic our attacker may have used. Yet the greatest issue on the emotional level is that the longer we have to deal with our trauma, the more intense the emotions will get. What most victims don’t realize is that the actual act of the assault is only a small part of the emotional toll that keeps us hostage within our own mind. How we were treated afterwards, when we reached out for help, plays an even more vital role. If we were, for example, not being believed, this would at the very least instill feelings of unworthiness and abandonment.
THE MENTAL LEVEL
When a person is sexually assaulted, the attacker does so against their will. This means, a victim’s boundaries have been crossed and their wishes have been greatly disrespected. This will cause the loss of self-confidence, self-esteem and self-worth as well as a feeling of insignificance and disrespect. Our mental and emotional level are closely linked. Any emotions we feel will have an impact on our mental health. Depending on the trauma we had to experience, this can result in anxiety, depression, panic attacks and suicidal thoughts.
AS YOU CAN SEE THERE ARE MANY LEVELS WE HAVE TO ADDRESS IN ORDER TO HEAL EMOTIONAL TRAUMA.
Counseling is an important first step on a victim’s road to recovery, but it is not the only approach we should be taking. Emotional healing is a spiritual journey and as such, we need to treat the body as a whole to release any paralyzing triggers as well as sabotaging beliefs and behaviors, which are all aspects of PTSD.
Healing of emotional trauma is possible – we just have to find the right approach for us. And sometimes modern medicine can not give us what we need to heal.