Trauma and Abuse Counselling

 Trauma is grounded in pain, fear and loss, which can generally lead to breakdown and overwhelm. Proper care, counselling and guidance can help traumatised individuals transform into compassionate, functional and deeply spiritual beings.
Trauma is generally not something most people can talk about easily with their friends. Vietnam Vets were told to keep stories amongst themselves, migrants who have survived atrocities find that people in their new country have no idea what they have lived through and don’t know how to respond and friends often find it too painful to listen well or allow you space to sit with the pain. Instead friends tend to try and cheer you up, effectively stopping all expression of negative emotions. Trauma exposes victims to things that most people would prefer not to know. Trauma is best aired with a counsellor trained to deal with trauma so they can hold a safe space and listen well, journeying with you through that pain to evacuate it.
Generally most counsellors are not specifically trained in trauma and abuse counselling. Here at Hands Full of Hope Tania works using trauma and abuse counselling. She uses gentle techniques and works slowly, a teaspoon at a time helping people evacuate the pain of their trauma experiences. She uses Jungian, Briere and Grant as her basis for counselling trauma. Not all trauma needs to be revisited and in fact this can be dangerous as it can re-traumatise people, but it does need to be worked through in subtle ways which release the emotional charge, freeing traumatised people into a life without triggers and terror.
She can also help people work through and learn how to deal with triggers so they can have less interruptions of trauma impacting on them over and over again. Tania uses creative techniques for those comfortable with them to help the process such as clay and sand.
Trauma work is slow but effective when done properly. Here at Hands of Hope I offer a personal environment which is casual. Tania does not force clients ever to do things against their own wishes and she earns trust, she does not demand it. She nurtures people through the detraumatisation and integration process, empowering them to be the best they can.
I understand here at Hands Full of Hope that trauma can cause a person to see life very differently to others. What was important once may not be anymore and some things seem frivolous to get upset over while other things are hugely important that other people don’t even notice. This does not fit with the rest of society’s responses often after trauma. Trauna can also greatly impact the spiritual aspects in your life of faith and hope. Tania helps her traumatised clients work through all of this while empowering them and holding a safe space for them to explore terrifying events.
Trauma can be war, witnessing events involving death or catastrophie, abuse or surviving what you thought was a normal upbringing at the time but now realise was not so normal. It may also be school bullying or work place bullying. Trauma can be any event or string of events that changed or shaped your life dramatically in a negative way.Samantha had seen some horrific things in Africa and lived through more, until she came to Australia, but none of her African friends seemed to want to talk about the bad things in her country. Samantha was however not sleeping well, having bad memories intrude into her thoughts at very inconvenient times and often felt angry for reason unknown to her. Samantha started becoming angry at people because they didn’t see the world the same way she did.
When Samantha worked slowly and gently through the horrific events in her life she was surprised to find how easily and gently her counsellor was able to help her. It was slow but gentle so she was able to cope. Samantha learnt that a lot of her anger was coming from the anxiety she experienced a lot of the time and also from the way she couldn’t take life for granted any more but other people treated it like it was a thing to expect. The way she viewed the world was very different from the way most people who lived in Australia viewed the world. Samantha was able to work through all of this and her nightmares. She is now free from the effects of post traumatic stress and settling in to a smoother, less chaotic existence with her family.

Lizzie grew up with a mentally ill mother who was not able to really care well for her. Lizzie remembers as a child waking up to her mother screaming at her and telling her they were coming to get her. Terrified Lizzie would obediently sleep under the bed each night not on it, because her mothers mental illness would not allow anything else. Lizzie had times when her mother thought she a little child was trying to kill her mother. Her mother would then retaliate from her psychotic delusions by trying to kill Lizzie. Lizzie made it to adulthood but still feels the effect of her tyrannical mothers treatment. Lizzie suffers as an adult with poor sleep, often thinking she would sleep better under the bed if she could fit. She is timid and nothing seems to run smoothly in her life no matter how hard she tries to make it. Lizzie has a great job but the rest of her life is a real mess and she feels hopeless. She hides who she really is at work and feels lonely because no one knows what its really like being Lizzie. Lizzie flares up with anger and puts on a sweet face. She hates herself and struggles with friendships. Lizzie could see no way for life to get better even though she was doing all the right things and she was ready to give up. Instead she called a counsellor at Hands Full of Hope and got help. She didn’t realise she had such a difficult childhood. She always just thought it wasn’t that bad. Actually Lizzie had been through trauma and was very affected by it now. Lizzie was able to work slowly, a teaspoon at a time through the events she had not even remembered and through all the feelings that overwhelmed her as a child. Lizzies counsellor Tania was different to the other counsellors she tried in the past because Tania had been through trauma too, so understood what it was like for Lizzie. This was a great comfort to Lizzie because it helped her feel safe. Lizzie has been getting less and less chaotic and is surprised because before she didn’t even realise she was chaotic. She feels so much calmer and happier most of the time. The most surprising thing to Lizzie is that she always hated being on her own and hated making decisions. She didn’t think this would ever change. In counselling Lizzie worked through how her mother often would make her comfort her and how Lizzie was not really allowed to grow up. As a result Lizzie didn’t ever get a sense of who she was but always made decisions based on what others wanted and always lived her life based on making others happy, not herself. Lizzie just didn’t know who she was and had kind of missed out on getting to be separate from her mother and separate from other people. Now when she started counselling that separation terrified her. With counselling she began to notice what she needed, liked and disliked. Her counsellor taught her to listen to herself and how to be herself around other people. Lizzie developed a sense of who she was and is no longer afraid of being separated, which gives her more freedom to live her life making decisions for herself based on her desires. This makes Lizzie much happier than she ever thought possible.Lizzie is learning to accept herself and like herself.