Safety and trust, are the two biggest issues of any complex trauma survivor.
In order for a complex trauma survivor to feel ‘safe enough’ in therapy – they need to know they are being listened to, are being allowed to speak, are being allowed to express all their needed emotions.
As Pete Walker wrote in his book – when you add anything around the subject of compassion for abusers, forgiveness for abusers, too soon in the therapy, it will destroy that survivors trust and deeply harm their healing. Much work is to be done before these subjects should even be raised.
I will also add to this – if a counsellor tells a survivor they are wrong with how they feel about abusers, wrong in how they are trying to deal with their emotions about their abusers (in my case labelling, educating myself about personality disorders), patronises, demeans, rejects their views/thoughts – that will destroy any trust and safety they need and harm their healing.
Complex trauma survivors have had their emotions, needs and feelings shut down continually by the abusers. So when a therapist also repeats this, the damage will be great. It will destroy any trust, as the survivor will feel unsafe.
Therapists need to learn to keep their opinions to themselves, until the survivor has dealt with all their emotions. Yes, help them deal with emotions safely, but do not create barriers to them expressing their emotions.
You don’t help a complex trauma survivor, by mirroring what the abusers did Continue reading