What is proper therapy to recover after abuse?
There is a reason why therapy takes years. There is a reason why most survivors of abuse have huge difficulties to overcome depression, anxiety, flashbacks, self-doubts, shame, guilt, hopelessness, powerlessness, distrust, codependence, dissociation, and hypervigilance… One of the biggest differences between them and those who found a way to become free of the past is including bodywork in the therapy. Today a word about what is proper therapy after the experience of abuse.
TALKING THERAPY IS NOT ENOUGH IN TRAUMA HEALING
Abuse makes a big disconnection between the body and the mind. It is written in the body like it is still happening and that’s why there is no end for the trauma responses. At the same time, the mind tries to keep the disconnection to avoid the pain and it sabotages the healing process. It is like the mind says: ‘Nothing is happening because I choose to not feel the pain’. While the body screams: ‘It is happening! Listen to me, listen!’ It makes the mind go crazy causing all the struggles 🤯.
The problem is that most survivors in therapy are focused just on talking and understanding. This way they still stay in the mind instead of building the connection with the body that could give them the opportunity to heal. Talking is not an effective way to get through the defense mechanisms of the mind when you experienced abuse. Without the bodywork, there is no real healing.
TALKING THERAPY IS NECECSSARY BUT NOT ENOUGH
But don’t get me wrong. It doesn’t mean that talking therapy is not good. Just not enough in trauma healing although it is a necessary part of the recovery process! Proper therapy after the experience of abuse starts from awaking the body and then acknowledging, naming, and understanding your emotions through the mind work. Then healing is happening and it doesn’t have to take a long time before you feel good in your life.
Most of my students ask: Do I have to change the therapist if there is no bodywork included 🤔? Don’t worry! It is not necessary. There are many supplementary activities you can do with other professionals or even by yourself to fill this gap and make your healing much more effective and faster. And your therapist will be supportive in this process for sure.
WHAT IS BODYWORK IN THERAPY
Bodywork means techniques and therapeutic approaches that activate feeling the body and its natural expression that was blocked because of the trauma. There are many of them! For example, Trauma Release Exercises (TRE) – exercises you can do by yourself or with a professional to teach your body how to shake the stress out of your body. Bioenergetics by Aleksander Lowen – a therapeutic approach that connects the body and the mind work. Havening therapy you can read about in the interview with Sharna Hussain here. Or even proper meditation that should ground you in your body.
The mind work means all the techniques and therapeutic approaches that let you acknowledge, name, and understand your emotions, make decisions, and plan actions in your life to build self-care and a good life frame.