Systemic Trauma Therapy
breathing it out deeply
so that one can
breathe in again
And maybe being able to
speak about the sorrow
in real words
words which are related
which make sense
and which one is able
and which maybe
or could understand
And being able to cry
That'd be almost
Some experiences are so shattering and overwhelming for both the body and soul that the memories do not fade with the passage of time. These so-called traumatic experiences might include war events, childhood abuse, sexual violence, or assault, but could also be accidents, natural catastrophes, or life-threatening illnesses. Such experiences cause many people to develop psychological problems such as sleeping disorders, feeling over-anxious or tense, always worrying about possible danger, feeling "dead inside", being depressed, unable to concentrate, hopelessness, and finding it difficult to trust themselves, other people, even the world. For some people, these effects can last a long time.
And it is not just the people who have gone through these events who suffer; post-traumatic problems also affect those close to them, because trauma changes our ability to maintain and feel safe in our relationships. People affected by trauma can even pass these insecurities on to other people, especially their own children. In my work, I have found that the children of those who have survived severe traumatic experiences often develop deep problems that are directly connected to the dynamics of trauma. In couples where one (or both) partner(s) have experienced deep trauma, it can be manifested within their relationship through a fear of intimacy, or arguments that are much more severe and intense that would normally be warranted.
Systemic trauma therapy - trauma-sensitive psychotherapy
I have derived my systemic trauma therapy approach from these observations. I believe the need is not just to heal individuals, but also their whole social systems – i.e. their relationships with other people. This is especially necessary when violence is political and socially-rooted, or where systemic violence continues to unfold, as is the case in working with refugees.
As a systemic psychotherapist, I always work with a trauma-sensitive attitude and an awareness of the trauma dynamics within couples and families. I support traumatised people in their sense of safety and need for control. Some people, when they have developed a strong enough trust in the therapeutic process, want to look back on their horrible story (stories) so they can "put them away" in the presence of a witness, the therapist, and find their way back to a more joyful life. For others, the most important step is merely learning to have hope again, to believe that they can find healing, and to feel that they have begun on their path.
I have been trained in the psychodynamic-imaginative trauma therapy approach developed by Luise Reddemann, but I also use other tools such as hypno-systemic exercises, ego-state therapy, and mindfulness-based approaches, depending on the personal history and objectives of the person coming for therapy. Together, we discover a path that allows them to grieve and then breathe again, as described in Erich Fried's poem.
If you think you would benefit from trauma therapy, please contact me for an initial, free-of-charge appointment so we can get to know each other.