Unravel the Trauma: Understand Addiction

heal ptsdJudy Crane is the founder of The Refuge – A Healing Place, and is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Certified Addiction Professional, Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, a Certified Hypnotist, EMDR and a specialist for healing trauma and PTSD. She shares her perspective about trauma, addiction and recovery here: 

Trauma is visceral, sensory and cellular. It’s a Soul Wound that impacts the very core of who we are, what we believe about the world and our place in it. We experience trauma with all of our senses: taste, touch, sound, sight, smell and our 6th sense, intuition. When we consider even the most benign or loving experiences in our life, every experience we have in a lifetime is imprinted on our senses, on our spirit, on our soul and trauma events have a huge and lasting impression on the viscera.

Understanding the signs and symptoms of PTSD is understanding this concept.

Trauma survivors experience flashbacks, dreams and disturbed sleep, dissociation, body memory, somatic issues and a diminished sense of self, low self-esteem, despair, hopelessness and a myriad of other sensory symptoms. Healing trauma must be visceral, sensory, and cellular, and must heal the soul.

At The Refuge we utilize experiential, sensory and somatic modalities which are incredibly effective in processing trauma resolution. Trauma healing is a process of pendulation, going into the trauma story, experience some of it, coming out and building more resources, going back in deeper each time and then building more resources.

Experiential therapies create the environment for this process, for instance psychodrama becomes a safe vehicle for engaging in observation of a trauma event. Amazing healing happens in this process.

Peter Levine‘s model of Somatic Experience® is a modality that we use, as well as hypnosis, DBT, EMDR, art and music therapy, grief work, equine and adventure therapy.

It is absolutely important in trauma work for clinicians to recognize that substance and process addictions and self-harming behaviors are coping mechanisms that are often created by traumatic events. Our staff are trained in all of these modalities as well as having several Certified Sex Addiction Therapists (CSAT) and Eating Disorder Therapists. Everyone is trained in trauma and addictions.

OCD, ADHD, anxiety and depression can all be a result of a trauma history that is never explored. The questions most often not asked are:

• When did you start having OCD behaviors or when were you diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety, depression? • What happened at that age? Or what was going on in your life?

Too often clients come to us on many medications with a list of diagnoses but no one has asked those important questions. As clinicians we need to ask these questions. We need to not be afraid of the questions or the answers.

When we can assist our clients in understanding that their behaviors make sense as a result of their trauma history, we give them the answer to the puzzle they have been struggling with for a long time.

We know this: When you Unravel the Trauma Story, the behaviors all make sense.

When you can give this gift to clients, healing takes place; clients can move from shame, guilt and remorse to healing the Soul Wound and becoming the person they are meant to be.

Blessings, Judy


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