Healing From Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD

A journey to healing from complex trauma.


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My article on questions to ask therapists, is ruffling feathers ~ Lilly Hope Lucario

My article on ‘questions to ask potential therapists, about complex trauma’ – is certainly ruffling a few feathers.

Article here @ https://healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.wordpress.com/2016/05/16/published-by-the-minds-journal/

This article has been published by the Minds Journal.

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Some feedback, is great and is giving survivors confidence to ask questions and know whether the therapist is adequately trauma informed, or not. And I am glad this is giving people confidence.

Other feedback has stated therapists are refusing to answer the questions and fumbling the answers.

One survivor stated the therapist after being asked the questions…. refused to answer them and then told the potential client – she was not taking on any new clients.

Red flags….

All this confirms to me, there are inadequately trained/educated/insightful therapists out there, as I knew, who are working outside of their professional capacity.

And that is very dangerous to a complex trauma survivor. Suicide is a high risk for many complex trauma survivor with severe complex PTSD. And the risk after being re-traumatised and having secondary trauma from a therapist, intensifies this risk. And deeply embedded issues of trust, can be severely impacted and worsened, by bad/inadequate therapy. Continue reading


So thankful for professional’s feedback :)

I was very thankful to receive this feedback about my article on ‘Questions To Ask Potential Therapists About Complex Trauma’.

See article here published by The Minds Journal http://themindsjournal.com/questions-ask-potential-therapists-treating-complex-trauma-lilly-hope-lucario/

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Amanda Williamson, is a counsellor in UK, see @ http://www.amandawilliamsoncounselling.co.uk/


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I think it’s time to change counsellors.

I think I have an unhealthy attachment to my counsellor. I think that is not changing and in fact, increases over time. When she’s away, I miss her. Too much. I think about her too frequently. I care too much about what she thinks of me.

I find it hard to talk to her about some things. Some things I can’t talk about at all.

I think it’s time to face, I need to sever that connection and move on from that. I already have a complicated enough life.

I know it will involve grieving and it will hurt, for some time.But, I’ll get over it. I always do.

 


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Missing my counsellor.

My counsellor is away. I always struggle whenever she is away. Something I feel embarrassed to admit, but is true. I know that’s normal and okay, in a therapy relationship. A therapy relationship, is like no other.

I really want to talk to her about my book, how I’m feeling. I miss her. I miss hearing her say things that make me think. I miss being able to ask her advice, run past ideas and my discuss my thinking and emotions. I miss having that weekly regular time.

It’s weird to miss someone, who no doubt doesn’t think about you at all, outside of the therapy room.

In fact, the more I think about that, the more anxiety I am getting.

It’s all too familiar in my life. One way relationships, where you care about someone, and they don’t care back. Continue reading


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My doctor/counsellor, is the only safe relationship, I’ve ever had.

I’ve been in counselling for 4 years. My doctor/counsellor, takes time off for training courses she conducts around the world, and for annual leave, for 3-6 weeks at a time.

As much as I am totally okay and supportive of all her work and need to take time off, I am also always very uneasy whenever she is away.

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Just knowing that I don’t have that weekly time, to talk about whatever is needed and have her encouragement and support, is not a place I like being in.

My doctor/counsellor, is the only safe relationship I have ever had. And that is a big deal for me. It’s a big deal for any childhood complex trauma survivor to feel….. safe. Or as safe as is possible. As safe as I am capable of feeling.

I feel a bit lost, when she’s away. Clearly, I am still not at a point Continue reading


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Questions To Ask Potential Therapists About Treating Complex Trauma ~ Lilly Hope Lucario

I am aware of the vital necessity, for any therapist treating a survivor of complex trauma, to have enough insight, education, training, experience, empathy and knowledge about complex trauma.

Without these, many complex trauma survivors are harmed further, re-traumatised and this can greatly harm their healing journey. It can lead to suicide. It can lead to the survivor, never seeking help again.

There are many deep and complex layers of trauma, involved in complex trauma. Complex trauma is severe, ongoing interpersonal abuse, where the victim does not have or perceive a viable escape. Trust has already been destroyed during the abuse occurring. Often boundaries have been abused and the client’s survival tools, will include a lack of trust with anyone. Very understandably.

The therapy relationship may be the only relationship the client has, to talk openly and without fear of judgment, invalidation, minimization of the suffering caused.

More information about complex trauma, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can be found on my website

@ http://www.healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.com/.

My website is supported by many mental health professionals, in the trauma field.

Building a relationship with a therapist, will likely be a challenging journey. But, a ‘safe enough’ therapy relationship, will be required. Safety, for many complex trauma survivors, is a fear inducing situation. It can take considerable time to build up enough trust and safety with a client. That is normal.

I advise people seeking therapy, to find out whether the potential therapist, is adequately skilled, to provide the quality of therapy required.

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The following, is a list of potential questions I recommend, to discern if the therapist will be suitable.

And remembering the therapist is there to provide a service to you (the client) and they should be receptive to questions. It is needed to know whether any potential therapist is suitable for a complex trauma survivor.

It may feel awkward to questions, but it is our right, to ask. In not asking questions, we have no gauge as to the quality of therapy and that can result in more harm, or being further traumatised.

Questions.

1. Ask the therapist, what they know about the differences between trauma and complex trauma?

They should have an in depth knowledge of this subject. They should know trauma can be caused by events such as a one time sexual assault in adulthood, a car crash, military combat, the unexpected death of a loved one etc.

They should also know complex trauma is ongoing interpersonal trauma/abuse, caused by people. It is long term abuse, or multiple abuse/trauma. It is within a captivity situation, where there is no perceived means of escape. It causes deep, pervasive and complex issues with trust, emotion regulation, sense of identity, emotional flashbacks, inner critic, toxic shame and social anxiety. To name a few.

The therapist, needs to be very aware of the deeper issues caused by complex trauma, as  opposed to other types of trauma.

2. Ask the therapist, how many clients they have treated for complex trauma?

They need to be experienced in providing therapy. Continue reading


Counselling homework… What I am/am not.

Several weeks ago, we started art therapy. The issues that have needed to be dealt with, over the last few weeks, have side-tracked this art therapy. But, I said today, I do want to get back to that. And my counsellor, was encouraging of this.

I also said tomorrow, I am having a whole day off social media and blogging, and have a day creating a collage of the fab family pictures I have of my 7 year old’s Birthday at the zoo. She was very encouraging of this too and asked to see photo’s when I’ve finished it. She is a great believer in creativity helping people to deal with, process trauma. And for general wellbeing, for everyone. She is creative and does a lot of patchwork/sewing.

So, now we are back to doing the art therapy, I have to think about a list of things I am, and things I am not.

This is hard for me. I know I am considered brave, honest, intelligent, insightful, not your average person  …. but after that, it gets a little difficult.

I have heard a lot of people give me their opinions of who I am. Good, bad and ugly opinions. And it’s always easier for me to believe the bad things, than the good.

I have issues still, due to my childhood… where unless I am really amazing at something…. it’s not ‘good enough’. And I feel like Continue reading


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Fear & Panic Lead to Irrational Self Protection Mode…

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Something the last few weeks have taught me (I always try to learn from all experiences)…. is that when I am struggling, I can still revert to self protection mode, that is not always rational.

A perfect example – listening to my counsellor speaking about mental health on a recording I found online. (I’ve blogged about this). I listened to one tiny beginning part ….. heard things that seemed shocking and totally unexpected. I panicked and didn’t listen to anymore, through complete fear I would hear more that would be horrible to hear.

What I heard, also played into my awareness of the issues many church people have of the way they view mental health. Having already been spiritually abused by church people…. I was in a state of shock to hear what I assumed to be the same attitude from my own counsellor. Who I would never have assumed, would have the same abusive attitude.

Fear. Panic. Often can lead to irrational thinking and coping behaviours.

So, in my already low overwhelmed state, I immediately went into panic, walls up, protection mode fully on. I didn’t ask her what she meant by the words I heard. I didn’t listen to the rest of the talk, because I had too much fear of hearing more that would shock me. I just completely assumed she had the same abusive attitude towards mental health, as many church people have.

I confronted her, in a state of mind that was not rational, or willing to listen, because I was so hurt that this woman who I had trusted more than anyone else, believed horrible things, that meant I could not and should not trust her. I’m not good at confrontation. It’s something I find difficult. Probably because all my life – any confrontation that I tried with people who were definitely doing harm – got me more hurt. So I am pretty bad at confrontation – especially when really hurt and fear is motivating my thinking.

I was wrong. Really wrong.

And I am willing to admit when I am wrong. I feel really bad for how I reacted and spoke to her. It doesn’t sit well with me, to treat anyone inappropriately. No matter the reasons. Continue reading


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The grenade, my counsellor decided to throw in…

I went to counselling today. I shouldn’t have gone. But, I did.

The whole ‘mental illness is the dark side’ issue was discussed. She gave an explanation that I don’t trust to be the truth. I think she believes I am demonic, she just doesn’t say that to me, because counsellors probably aren’t allowed to say that.

I know I’m not demonic and I don’t give a fuck what she thinks of me anymore. I’m aware how abusive church people can be.

But, it was interesting what she decided to raise…… when she knew I was already really upset and struggling. And I had told her I was having suicide ideation.

She decided to tell me paedophiles can love their own children – in the context of ‘bad people do good’. This was her choice, to defend paedophiles. Wow. It was like a grenade she threw in, just to finish me off.

She knew this would be a  huge trigger and would be way too upsetting to discuss, when I’m already in a highly emotional state.

I think she did it intentionally, to upset and trigger me.

No-one is that stupid, to raise that conversation at a time when a victim of paedophile abuse – is already struggling and suicidal. She knows the reaction that would create.

Maybe she just wants to push me over the edge. Maybe she was pissed off at me challenging her and she wanted her revenge. Continue reading


I have increased anxiety. My counsellor is away.

Whenever my counsellor takes time off, I realise how much I need counselling. And I am honest to know and recognise now, how much I probably take it for granted. And that is not okay.

She is away for 2 weeks. As soon as she told me this, my anxiety went up.

Being someone who thinks differently to many people, I have no-one else except my counsellor, to share my thoughts with. She helps me to put into words, the thoughts I am processing.

Often she explains the psychology terminology/basis, or Biblical verses, to confirm my thinking. Often she confirms the emotions I have, and how they are needed. Which in a society mostly wanting people to suppress, avoid their emotions, I realise how much her support and willingness to listen to me, and validate my journey, is vital in my life and healing.

I think I would have gone insane, if I had not had her to share my journey with. Because I do not know anyone else in my life, who understands my thinking.

My thinking is so different from anyone I know, that it has at times, made me feel like I must be crazy. But, I do know, I live in a crazy, bizarre world, and I am not crazy, at all. Far from, according to my counsellor. I was so relieved when she explained my capacity for deeper thinking and my honesty, insight and self insight, are a ‘breath of fresh air, and rare’. And how I teach her and have wisdom to share with her, in the same way she has wisdom, I learn from. Continue reading