Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o’er wrought heart and bids it break. -William Shakespeare, Macbeth
Trauma-focused, cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) is a common practice in helping people overcome painful memories. A qualified practitioner will openly share their areas of expertise (adult/children, psychoanalysis/sensorimotor, nontraditional, medications, etc), and they ought to immediately acknowledge that with every individual and act of trauma the healing process will look different. If they behave or speak in a way that assumes their methodologies are the ONLY way, then drop everything and run in the opposite direction.
Georgia, Olivia, and Nathan began TF-CBT twice a week within a month of the call. It was excruciating in the beginning. The amount of energy that goes into covering up shame and creating a hardness of feeling does not immediately transfer to an enthusiasm for breaking down walls and discovering hurts. We even needed to move Georgia to a different therapist after 3 months of semi-weekly appointments with no positive movement. That decision was difficult for us because it meant starting over with developing a trusting relationship before beginning the deeper work of addressing the trauma.
But nearly one year later and I can say, without a doubt, that TF-CBT is worth its weight in gold. It is not the only thing we use. And I don’t believe it is best used entirely alone. Other therapies like neurofeedback and EMDR are necessary components of our treatment plan. However, the benefit of working through the pain of their abuse by giving Georgia, Oliva, and Nathan a venue for voicing anything they need/desire to has dramatically improved their healing. And it sets an enormously healthy pattern of recognizing the need to speak of fears, hurts, desires, anger, and hope.
We are broken, but we are healing. One word at a time.