What to expect from ACC trauma therapy with me.

It can be scary at first, so some things to know that at the beginning:  we will not be talking about the trauma at the beginning. We spend time getting to know each other and building up a good relationship. We take things at your pace, you are driving the bus here.

I take what I do very seriously, I only use best evidenced-based models of therapy, and I do a lot of training to keep up to date. The trauma field is an evolving and changing field, especially now, there are some new advances that are helping drive new models of treatment, I like to keep up to date. I am passionate about my work, but also laid back, for example, I swear quite a lot, so if that is an issue, please let me know!

At the first session, we will be focusing on getting to know each other, on being used to being in therapy.  I will be introducing myself, letting you know who I am, discussing the process of therapy and answering any questions you have.  The first session is for us to meet, for you to see if I am someone you can feel comfortable with, if therapy is something that may work for you, at this time.

I will outline the ACC process and what your options are in this regard. We will discuss consent and confidentiality. You are welcome to bring a support person with you. What you need to focus on in this session and the following: Is this working for me, do I feel as comfortable as I might realistically expect?

After the first session, you go away and consider if this is a good fit for you at this time? Once you make the decision to continue, there is the usual paperwork of gathering your name address, phone number etc. As sessions progress, we will gather more information about your life, timeline and the difficulties you are facing now that bring you to therapy. But there is no rush for this, we can do this at your pace.

Therapy generally involves three stages.

The first stage is getting to know each other, getting used to therapy, filling in paperwork, and beginning to learn about trauma and its effects. We will be looking to learn new skills that will help you be able to regulate your emotions, to reduce upset and pain. Once we can have this well underway, we can begin to consider moving to stage two.

Stage two is where we process the trauma. It takes some time to get to this stage and once we begin with this, you will find we move back to stage one for some time, then back to do more processing when you feel ready. We can not get into this stage if you are not ready, you will determine and have control over when this happens, there is no rush, at all. During this time, we will continue moving back and forward between the two stages.

Once the processing is complete, we will then look to move to stage three, this is where we integrate the changes you have made, look at improving existing and making new relationships, consider what you would like your life to look like, set some goals you would like to achieve and generally monitor how things are going. We often have some movement back and forwards between the stages for a little while, before settling here and beginning to work towards discharge and ending therapy.

All this sounds pretty simple, but I do not want to understate a couple of important points here.

  1. This all takes a long time; therapy can be anything from one to several years.
  2. You do not have to do it all at once, people can take breaks and return to therapy whenever they like.
  3. It is difficult at times, but persistence pays off and it is important to know that people can and do recover from trauma. It is possible to reduce or eliminate the upset and disruption trauma causes in your life. It is hard work, but it can be done.