Posted on March 28, 2017 at 10:50 PM
Trauma has many layers; which makes it very complex to resolve. Often the focus of treatment is on the resolution of the negative effects of experiencing a trauma. These negative effects include memory fragments which surface unexpectedly. Most people have experienced trauma in their lives. Some common examples include an automobile accident, divorce, termination from a job, death of a family member, rape, a serious illness, child abuse...It is hard to go through life without living through many traumas. Often psychotherapy focuses on resolving the painful memories of the trauma. EMDR is an excellent treatment that can resolve memory fragments such as sudden, intrusive thoughts during the day or nightmares at night. Most trauma treatments focus exclusively on trying to resolve the memory of the trauma.
So what's missing? When a person goes through a trauma, there is often damage to the ego. A person in a crisis selects only some parts of the self to cope with the trauma. It is too painful to be fully emotionally and mentally engaged during a trauma. A person in crisis will automatically and unconsciously utilize the part of themselves that is most useful in adapting to the trauma. After the trauma, it may feel like a part of themselves got lost along the way. They wonder, "what happened to the old me? I used to do this activity or I used to be interested in that topic". They may say things like: the trauma "took a piece of me" or "shattered me" or "left me a changed person." Often people feel emotionally weaker and unable to face the challenges that were previously easy. The missing piece of trauma treatment is ego repair. It is important to reconnect the pre-trauma self with the post-trauma self. The lost traits and strengths of a person can be restored. Trauma forces a person to utilize their personal strengths in new, previously unrecognized ways. One's strengths seem to be buried with the trauma. Therapy can restore and enhance these strengths in a powerful way. A therapy called Revisioning can restore pre-trauma ego strengths and combine them with the positive growth that has occurred because of the trauma. In my opinion, trauma therapy is not complete until the ego has been restored and made stronger. It is important to feel like you've got your old self back again-only better.