People who have suffered childhood trauma and abuse leave their adolescence and enter their twenties – in a deep state of shock. My experience as a therapist is that their adolescence is a period of forgetting, and for many, by the time they enter their twenties they have buried most or even all of the memories. Most will have developed compensating ‘disorders’ and dysfunctions, most will have serious deficits to their attachment systems that will put future intimate relationships at risk. But the developmental period we call our ‘twenties’ is a time for getting out into the adult world, being truly focussed on whatever the interest or passion is, developing adult relationships as well as entering the workforce or getting qualifications. A very particular time in the human lifespan. For most, NOT a time for introspective therapy.

But the wounds of childhood ARE wounds, which have not healed. And eventually the organism that is us, will find a way to demand that the still-open wound is given some attention. For many people, that way is via dysfunctional choices that have led to unhappy lives. In other words, ‘things just aren’t working the way I’d like, and I don’t know why.’  In some form or other, this is why most people seek ‘professional help’. Typically, people reach this point around their mid thirties to early forties. The youthful excesses of the twenties have been left behind (usually reluctantly!), life has settled into various kinds of routines of work, marriage, children, study or avoidance of these. Reality is kicking in, and the consequences of the long-ignored wounds are becoming harder to avoid.

I believe very few people know, when they arrive in a therapist’s room, what the real problem is, but they have identified some of the surface issues as needing attention. Fortunately there are now many qualified therapists of various modalities, so it isn’t too difficult to start somewhere. For many, the kind of therapy they choose will focus more on present-day problems and will look more like counselling. For many, that is all they want.

But I believe that many or most survivors of serious childhood trauma know that something is very wrong, deep down. And when they seek out some help, and suddenly find that this person is really listening to them, is asking them about their early years, has a ‘feeling’ of safety and kindness, and is speaking in a new and surprising language that part of them understands, that is the moment when the inner self begins to stir, and say ‘this is what I have been waiting for.’ At that moment the door is open and that person has the opportunity to step through and start their healing journey.


IMG_3052 - Version 2

The website “Good Therapy” has a comprehensive list of the many available varieties of psychological therapy – and there are many.  Reading through the list and stopping to look at a good sample, it seemed clear to me that many, if not most, of these varieties have a common foundation. As a therapist who works mainly in the field of posttraumatic stress disorder and Complex-PTSD/Developmental Trauma, I could see that my own approach is informed by many of these apparently different models.  Here is the site, which I recommend as a comfortable starting point. The many options may get confusing, if so, one strategy would be to limit yourself to, say, five entries per day, digest these, and move to the next. In the end, it won’t be the therapy model that counts so much, as the quality of the therapist.



More on The Healing Journey

Therapy – Why do it?


Essential Issues in Trauma Therapy

The Arts Therapies

Emotional Release Therapy


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s