Since the launch of Gaia’s Light, I have met so many people who have experienced trauma in their lives. Indeed, I’ve come to realise how prevalent it is whether it’s Trauma with a capital T or trauma with a small t. My early ideas of Gaia’s Light were primarily around offering Reiki and energy work but I soon realised to be an ethical and responsible practitioner, you need to be able to handle a range of ‘unscripted’ situations as they arise – and at the very least – know where your level of expertise begins and ends.
I’ve always made sure I had Insurance and my First Aid supplies (and certificate) up-to-date, as well as a list of handy phone numbers just in case. I always make sure I understand any medical conditions or allergies when I take on a new client too. Thankfully the Insurance or phone numbers have never been called upon, but I have had to use First Aid along with some skills around bringing awareness back to the breath. Helping people come back to centre and ground either during or after a session is so important before you send them back out into the world again.
The reality is, however, that given the majority of us have experienced some level of trauma – indeed it may be the very thing that’s set us on our healing and spiritual path in the first place – why aren’t we (practitioners) as equipped to identify and deal with trauma activation? How do we know when we risk re-traumatizing our clients? CPTSD, PTSD, anxiety, and even unexpected ‘tears’ are seen as mental health disorders and therefore ‘scary – not in our remit’? The reality is these conditions are not disorders – they are adaptations and responses to perceived ‘threats’ and with understanding and awareness can either be avoided completely – or eased significantly. Moreover, these adaptations are not just about the brain – they affect the ‘soma’ – the body too.
Trauma comes in many guises
There are so many forms of trauma. Covid was a period of ‘collective’ trauma – and the ripple effects of this will be felt for some time. Parenting styles, generational traumas, financial worries, work issues, abuse, addiction, poverty, relationship problems, illness, and grief – all leave their mark on the psyche. All these things become part of our story and can leave a traumatic imprint in the body – and that imprint can cause havoc, not only on our nervous system but across our day-to-day lives too. Our traumatic imprint can hold us back from achieving our goals and dreams and trauma can affect our whole identity.
It’s one of the reasons I created Write from Source©. So many people have a story inside them – but they are still suffering the effects of whatever happened to them. In this situation, it’s practically impossible to write about these experiences without becoming deeply emotional, overwhelmed, or re-traumatised. This assault on the nervous system is completely the opposite of what either of us wants and sets the healing process back substantially. The end result is, at best, writer’s block, but worst-case scenario, a complete activation of the trauma response. Write from Source© is designed specifically to help people navigate that healing journey carefully, sensitively, and safely.
I would suggest anyone with Trauma with a capital T, seeks help from a fully-fledged, reputable Trauma Psychologist, while using Write from Source© or Gaia’s Light as a ‘complementary’ therapy to that treatment plan.
I am not a qualified Trauma Psychologist (top-down approach) with a degree. I am, however, a qualified practitioner with ‘Lived Experience’ and am committed to ongoing study with a policy of Continuous Professional Development (CPD) in aspects of Trauma therapy and care across both businesses. Having ‘Lived Experience’ means I can meet clients and walk with them in the areas where I have walked – so I understand the belief systems and thought processes which come part and parcel with domestic violence, sexual assault, or even grief and bereavement (for example).
My own Trauma Therapy was life-changing and sparked something within me – it led me in a new direction. Over the years, I have devoured books, attended workshops and completed training across a range of related disciplines – all of which encompass trauma to some extent. I have explored areas such as ‘soul’ retrieval (disassociation therapy), narrative therapy, art therapy, colour therapy, bibliotherapy, and grief and bereavement counselling to name but a few.
Many of these learnings/teachings and principles will be woven in through my course offerings on Write from Source© – but all in good time. Life and work are still hectic around here but I’m excited to be working on this in the background. I know it’s going to help so many of you.
One piece of advice I can give you if you are a client with a history of trauma, looking for a practitioner, please always practice discernment. When dealing with diagnosed conditions around Trauma, you must always seek help from a qualified professional such as a psychologist or doctor in the first instance. A holistic practitioner may tell you they are trauma-informed (and they may genuinely believe they are) but if they do not understand the basics about creating personal ‘safety’ I personally would evaluate whether this was a place where I felt safe or ‘vulnerable’.
The trauma-informed toolbox
Some of the courses I’ve undertaken are intense and extremely useful, but they do not equate to the years of formal study and qualifications gained for my writing career, nor do they equate to the qualifications required to be a Trauma Psychologist. I simply view these certificates as evidence of a deeper understanding and awareness of a specific topic. I do genuinely worry about those who think they have an actual ‘Diploma’ after studying a modality for a few weeks – but that’s a subject for another blog.
In the meantime, I am chuffed with my little certificate here. This was a short course but packed full of information. I highly recommend taking this course if you are working with clients so you can recognise behaviours and patterns. To be able to create and hold ‘safe space’ is fundamental to the work we do as practitioners, so it’s good to have a process or structure in place if trauma hasn’t been on your radar before.
At the end of the day, we want to help our clients on their healing and spiritual path. We are living in times where so many of our family and friends are suffering, perhaps some trauma awareness would come in handy for all of us – maybe even (dare I say it) as important as that First Aid certificate.
If you would like to learn more please visit The Centre for Healing. Alternatively, if you are a practitioner, I’d be more than happy to help you create a trauma-informed policy and checklist for your workplace.