Recently, a client came in completely overwhelmed, and rightly so. She had a lot going on: divorce with legal challenges, recovery from an acute injury, inadequate pain management, catching up at work after missing several weeks due to said injury, dealing with the loss of a major support system, selling her house and moving to a new part of town and we were terminating due to my leaving the agency and her having used her quota of free individual sessions. While this would be a lot for anyone to deal with, for a client with complex trauma and a history of child abuse, being out of control can be very triggering of past events where she felt the same, and it’s all too easy to revert back to coping skills that she utilized as a child. Unfortunately, skills that can save a child’s sanity may not be as adaptive for an adult, and sure enough her dissociation and avoidance were not as effective tools as the ones she had developed in the past year of therapy.
I’m extremely visual and when I start having a vision of a tornado as a client is talking, I know that we need to slow down. I needed her to get a grip so that she could employ her more adult coping strategies.
from Nothing is Too Big for a Post-It: A Case Study
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