Recovering from Trauma

While the impact of trauma can have lasting affects throughout adulthood, the good news is that healing emotional wounds is possible and reactions to trauma can be improved with supports. Professional support from a therapist can help guide you down the path of healing at a pace that is appropriate since it is essential to first establish safety and stabilization, along with basic coping strategies before processing trauma memories.

Here are a few visual images to inspire your healing journey!

A flower growing through the crack in a sidewalk…

To me, this demonstrates resilience in the most unlikely circumstances. Perhaps you did not have the optimal environment growing up. This may have included harsh environments, exposure to danger, and being left vulnerable to the outside elements yet you have survived and found strength amid adversity.

A large tree…

Perhaps you relate more to this image if you grew up in an environment that felt stable and nurturing, providing opportunities to play and learn independently while having a safe base to return to. Despite this image, something traumatic that has happened to you, a loved one, or outside your sense of security has left you feeling fragile and unrooted.

Wassily Kandinsky, “Composition VII,” 1913 (Photo: Tretyakov Gallery via Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)

A work of art…

Maybe your life feels like a big mess—chaos, complications, and unexpected events that keep moving you in many different directions. Think of the colors representing various emotions such as anger, sadness, jealousy, fear, happiness, joy, and loneliness. Having an outlet such as art to express yourself has externalized the thoughts, feelings, and experiences held inside to a beautiful visual representation of art.

Kintsugi Pottery

After trauma, one’s view of themself and their worldview often changes. They may feel “broken” “unlovable” or “unworthy” and may no longer see themselves as valuable. The Japanese art of repairing broken pottery using a special technique of using lacquer mixed with precious powdered metals of gold, silver, or platinum is Kintsugi . This technique embraces the flaws and brokenness instead of hiding them, creating a product this is stronger and more valuable in the end.

Which one of these images did you most resonate with? Is there another image that comes to your mind that has been helpful?

By using visual images such as art and metaphor, it can make it easier to not only relate to trauma but also to begin to process one’s experiences.

Written By : Charlotte Johnson, MA, LPCC

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