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The pain of trauma is so overwhelming to the brain, body, and emotions, trauma makes it difficult to cope. Whether someone suffers from betrayal trauma as a result of a partner's porn or sex addiction, or another type of relational or relationship trauma, childhood trauma, PTSD, or Complex PTSD, all trauma is impossible to cope with alone.

Healing Trauma Together's goal is to offer a safe, supportive, and nurturing environment where people who are hurting can take whatever time they need to heal from their trauma and transform their lives.

Healing Trauma Together offers clients the encouragement and reassurance, wisdom and information, the space for discernment, and the direction and connection necessary to survive, to heal, and to thrive.

What is trauma?
Trauma is the very real and debilitating response to an intensely shocking, threatening, or overwhelming experience. Trauma affects a person's whole being: mind, body, and emotions, and interferes with his or her day-to-day life, relationships, and ability to connect.

Trauma can result from one, single experience or from a set of experiences over time. While people typically think of trauma as the result of a catastrophic event, trauma can also come from common, everyday occurrences, such as being neglected by a parent, being in an unhealthy relationship or unsafe environment, or regularly being treated disrespectfully by one's parent/s, spouse or partner.

Trauma is the result of the harm done to one person by another through any form of violence, abuse, neglect, abandonment, manipulation, or betrayal. But the harm inflicted by a stranger has a different impact from wounds caused by someone with whom you are in a relationship. The harm done to one person by another in a relationship is called "relational trauma" or "betrayal trauma." The wounds caused by someone you loved, trusted, and relied upon are much deeper and even more damaging and devastating, and can take more time to heal.

Trauma has two main components: 1) the presence of the absence of safety, which sends victims on a search to try to find something, anything, to help them feel secure, and 2) a paradigm shift, a change, be it sudden or gradual, in a person's world view: a shift in the way a person understands him/herself, others, the world, and even God. This shift in world view causes victims to re-evaluate themselves, their relationships, and the world as they once knew it. And most often this shift is from a positive view to a negative one. Trauma can also bring on a crisis of faith.

1 - What is "the presence of the absence of safety"? Whenever a person lacks security, stability, and predictability, and a dependable person to count on, then that absence of security, stability, and predictability will have an unmistakable, and often overwhelming, presence. Trauma sufferers feel instability and uncertainty in very deep, visceral ways. This creates persistent feelings of insecurity and anxiety.

2 - A change in a person's world view is a paradigm shift. Paradigm shifts can cause people to feel disoriented, disconnected, and alone or cut off from the world around them. An example of a sudden paradigm shift is 9/11, when the planes hit the towers in New York City. Prior to 9/11 almost no one understood the world to be a place where terrorists could attack the USA by crashing planes into buildings. Certainly no one thought it was dangerous to get up in the morning and go to work at the World Trade Center. Yet after 9/11 the security of simply going about daily life became more uncertain. By 9/12, especially for those of us living in the USA, our view and understanding of ourselves, the world, and others had forever changed. Whenever a shift in perspective like this happens, whether suddenly, as on 9/11, or more gradually, through persistent abuse and neglect, the core message received is "the world is a very dangerous and unpredictable place" or "no one cares for you." It takes time for a traumatized person to heal, find their footing, become grounded again, come to a new understanding of self and world, and to know who they can and cannot trust.

While these two components are not trauma's only ingredients, they are at the core of all trauma, and they disrupt a person's sense of well-being so much, and are so overwhelming, they must be healed if the trauma is to be healed.

How to heal trauma?
Healing trauma is a transformative process involving a person's whole being: mind, body, and emotions. This is why “talk therapy” and other similar approaches to healing trauma have proven to be less effective than the  more holistic approach. Healing trauma is a gradual, step-by-step process of moving from a place of anxiety and instability, where fear and pain can feel overwhelming, to a place of deep seated serenity, stability, and  confidence: a groundedness that can be maintained even during life’s most turbulent times. To heal psychological trauma is to transform, and the process is much like a lowly caterpillar changing into the most magnificent butterfly.

Trauma occurs because of either neglect or direct harm: A) some essential thing we need to survive, thrive, and connect with others has been absent or withheld from us, such as proper nurture, affection, faithfulness, trustworthiness, love, comfort, respect, security and other life necessities, or B) the presence of danger or harm through verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse; through violence; through abandonment and betrayal; or through catastrophic events and disasters. Separately or combined, both A & B types of trauma will affect a person’s ability to connect and to maintain the healthy, secure relationships that are essential to living a satisfying, meaningful, and healthy life.

Trauma symptoms can initially include shock, denial, and disassociation. Other symptoms can be indescribable fear, hypervigilance, unpredictable emotions, anxiety, panic attacks, flashbacks, headaches, nausea, feeling numb, a pattern of negative and/or intrusive thoughts, negative self-evaluation, racing thoughts, suicidal ideation, insomnia, confusion, dissociation, anger, crying, and feelings of helplessness and isolation. Please know these are all normal reactions to trauma.

Trauma can come as the result of a single event, like 9/11 or the sudden discovery that your spouse has been living a secret life. Or trauma can be the result of multiple events over time, such as repeated exposure to neglect and abuse. Multiple event trauma is called "complex trauma” or “complex PTSD.” Complex trauma needs more time to heal than single event trauma because of the way the brain and body link together each and every instance of trauma when multiple traumatic events have occurred.

When a person's trauma is the result of wounds inflicted in a relationship, such as from betrayal, neglect, abuse, abandonment or the withholding of affection — any relational trauma — this harms a victim's ability to trust and connect. That difficulty or inability to trust and connect must be healed, too. This is especially true with betrayal trauma.

Betrayal trauma is the term used to describe the trauma experienced whenever trust and confidence has been shattered in a primary or intimate relationship, such as a marriage relationship or a parent/child relationship. Betrayal trauma is, unfortunately, increasingly common in adults today, due to  the epidemic of pornography and sex addiction, or compulsive sexual behavior, in our culture and society. Children can also suffer relational trauma from this as well.

All psychological trauma is best processed and healed when victims are able to connect with others in safe, therapeutic, nurturing relationships and in a community of trust. Caring, nurturing, safe, and authentic relationships and are essential  to healing. And those are the kind of therapeutic relationships Healing Trauma Together offers and fosters.

Support services offered.
Healing Trauma Together offers a variety of healing and support services , so that clients can choose what best fits their personality, needs, and schedule. Offerings include

one-on-one Spiritual Direction
and Trauma Coaching

one-on-one or small group
Guided Workshops and Retreats

and our unique, 24/7 online, facilitated
Healing Trauma Cafe

Spiritual Direction and Trauma Coaching are therapeutic, one-on-one, relationships designed to help clients concentrate on becoming more grounded and centered so that they can heal trauma and focus on the future. The process includes recognizing obstacles and exploring how to overcome those obstacles, making plans and setting goals, and identifying the next steps in one's healing journey.

Both direction and coaching support clients as they examine and attend to their thoughts and emotions, and the goal is for clients to become more familiar with their thoughts and emotions so they can recognize how their thoughts and emotions drive their actions and affect their overall sense of self, ability to connect, relationships, health and life. Both Spiritual Direction and Trauma Coaching draw upon the latest research and studies in trauma, attachment theory, the science of how the brain works, and neurofeedback.

Coaching is primarily focused on the future and helping clients identify and take the next step in their healing journey. Spiritual Direction is designed to help clients deeply dive into healing their trauma and exploring the meaning and purpose of their lives as well as God’s unique calling for them. Spiritual Direction acknowledges and draws upon the rich history, wisdom, and tradition of the contemplative practices in the Christian church and employs a theological response to healing trauma. Spiritual Direction is a transformative process which includes healing both past and present wounds while strengthening and deepening one's relationships and connection with self, others, world and God.

Please note: while Coaching and Spiritual Direction can supplement and enhance psychological counseling (whose goal is to diagnose and treat mental illness and mental health issues), neither is a substitute for psychological counseling. 

In addition to one-on-one therapeutic direction and coaching, Healing Trauma Together offers online workshops and retreats. For information on upcoming workshops and retreats, click here.

Clients have the option to do guided workshops and retreats in either a one-on-one relationship or together in a facilitated group with others who are also on the healing journey. No matter the choice, each has its own unique benefits.

In addition to one-on-one Spiritual Direction and Trauma Coaching, and our Workshops and Retreats, the Healing Trauma Cafe is another place clients can connect and focus on healing. The Cafe is an online, and open 24/7, space where facilitators will post topics for discussion, exercises, journal prompts, podcasts and more — all focused on healing trauma — so that individually and together clients can continue to focus on healing trauma and becoming creative agents for change in their lives.   

All content on Healing Trauma Together is under copyright by Lynda Ward. For permission to use in any form or format, please contact Lynda (2017).