A lot of assumptions are made in the land of trauma therapy. One of the assumptions, under pressure from the insurance companies, is that healing from trauma can happen faster and faster. Another is that all traumas are the same.
I recently read in de newspaper that all traumas can be cured in one to ten sessions with EMDR. Even in case of multiple sexual abuse. Even though I embrace the power of EMDR (mind you, it’s only a technique, a tool), Ifind it inappropriate, to say the least, to give false hope in this way to a group of people with a high level of suffering resulting from early childhood trauma.
Under the influence of the insurance companies, so-called trauma centres have also come into being, in which people are relieved of their traumas in an eight-day pressure cooker.
This may work for traumas that occur later in life, but for the group of people who have suffered early childhood trauma, it really works a bit differently.
If, as a child, you have had to split off (dissociate) in an early period of your life, not only have parts of your consciousness become suppressed, but these parts have also stopped growing up.
As if parts of your psychology have become suppressed with the emotional age of a child. You can simply call this trauma parts or child parts or modes.
If in the pressure cooker of short-term therapy, the lid of these parts goes off, the turnips are done. People experience a lot and suddenly get access to all kinds of memories. Some consciously cognitive but many only emotionally and physically. The result is that their system becomes extremely overloaded by emotions and physical experiences in which they have not learned at all how to regulate this. Spasm-like experiences, shocks and raging emotions can be the result.
And what if exactly at this moment the therapy is over because the budget has run out?
Early childhood trauma requires much more time. People who have suffered this (including myself) know this. Often they have been in therapy all their lives. Unfortunately often unstructured, because few therapists recognize which phases need to be gone through in the healing of early childhood trauma.
The three-phase model is a good example of this, originally developed to recover from PTSD and dissociative disorders; stabilization, trauma management and integration. In this way the child parts (or the trauma parts) have sufficient time to experience safety and develop skills to cope with their split and suppressed emotions.
So, if you suffer the consequences of early childhood trauma; “Have mercy and be gentle”. don’t push. Give your child parts the time and the air to develop and grow up. Learn to think in years instead of weeks. Then you take the pressure off, and it can just go a lot faster.