Most of us have experienced trauma at some point in our lives, and there are many kinds of traumatic events.
Perhaps as a child, you watched your parents fighting day after day, and it became so scary to see their aggression that you ran and hid to try and escape from the noise and the violence.
Perhaps as a teenager, you were sexually assaulted and you didn’t know who to talk with about it.
Perhaps as an adult, you were involved in a car accident and it felt like hours before anyone came to help.
Some of us are at higher risk of post-traumatic stress than others. Research doesn’t give us any answers to why this is, but it is important to note that if you are experiencing post-traumatic stress, you are far from alone.
Are you suffering from Trauma?
You may experience symptoms such as:
- Flashbacks – when it feels like you have gone back in time and are reliving the traumatic event;
- Poor memory of the event – you may recall certain images, smells, or sounds, but you struggle to piece the whole story together;
- Sensations that are similar to what you felt at the time of the event, eg sweating and trembling, anxiety or a feeling of dread;
- Diminished concentration and easily becoming irritated;
- Poor sleep – difficulty getting to sleep, nightmares, or waking during the night.
You may find yourself wanting to avoid certain places that remind you of the event (such as hospitals), or avoid certain behaviours or activities (such as driving).
You may even be avoiding thinking about any aspect of the event, or talking about it with others.
Why Narrative Therapy for Trauma?
If you have read this far, I bet you are thinking, “Why would I choose narrative therapy when the last thing I want to do is talk about what I went through?!”
Narrative Therapy allows you to have a safe space in which to share aspects of the trauma, to describe your symptoms and your fears, without any judgment from your psychologist.
It can help piece together the memory, and using relaxation and other techniques during the story-telling, you can gradually break the power that the memory of the event has had over your current physical and mental health.
And as YOU are the narrator, you set the pace at which the story is re-told, giving you control during the therapeutic process.
Naomi’s role as the psychologist is to support you as you share your story, and to encourage your mind to bring forward any missing pieces of the picture, so that in time, you are able to recall the event without it triggering unpleasant symptoms or responses within you. The aim is to reach a point at which you can put that story in its place in history, without it negatively impacting you in the present.
Author: Naomi Griffin, BA (Psych & Music); Grad Dip in Pastoral Couns; PG Dip Psych; Grad Cert Case Management; Grad Cert Ed Studies (Career Development); STAP; MAPS; MCCoun.
Please Note: Naomi is not currently practising at Vision Psychology, but is continuing to provide supervision for provisional (including 4+2 and 5+1) and registered psychologists, and for ministry agents in the wider Christian community. If you would like information regarding supervision, or want to book an appointment with a Christian psychologist, please contact Reception on 1800 877 924.