“There is no deadline for recovery” were my client’s exact words in a session. She described how safe she felt during our psychotherapy & EFT sessions. She was able to be open up about her feelings and patterns, and she didn’t feel pushed to change. She felt she wasn’t given a deadline to heal!
Unfortunately a lot of people never experience safe connections with their caregivers while growing up. Because of early childhood trauma and neglect they develop a faulty neuroception wherein their ability to detect safety and danger get mixed up. As a result of this, they may feel safe in risky situations and threatened in totally safe situations.
To develop the ability to detect safety in safe situations and caution in threatening situations requires a therapeutic alliance where they can experience safety and acceptance without the fear of being told off or abandoned by their therapist. If a client starts sensing that their therapist will disown them if they don’t meet the preset goals, they will lose that opportunity to develop a healthy neuroception.
It’s only through a safe therapeutic alliance that the damaging effects of past unsafe relationships can be repaired and clients can begin to heal, grow and seek healthy connections in their lives.
Being trauma informed is not a one time pill that can be taken by attending a single or multiple courses. It requires reflection on our part as therapists after every single session to see whether the client felt safe in the session or not.
For example, do they feel safe enough to bring up their issues with you as a therapist? Do they feel they’re being heard in the sessions?
And most importantly, how do you handle critical feedback from your clients?
Rupture is a part of any relationship and repair is only possible if the rupture is acknowledged.
I made so many mistakes as a rookie therapist when I started out, but I made it a point to keep learning from those mistakes and honing my skills. Becoming a trauma informed practitioner is a life long process and your client is your best teacher.