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The Importance of Practicing Self-Compassion during Trauma Therapy

Recovering from trauma is not a linear process.

You may experience progress as well as regression at times.

It is important to know that these ups and downs are a normal part of the process. Sometimes the simple act of "seeing" can be triggering. Taking a look inward and accessing earlier experiences that we may have pushed away so deeply can be triggering. Learning about PTSD related symptoms and experiences can be shocking-especially if they were not something you were aware of before starting therapy.

New experiences may trigger old wounds.

You may experience flashbacks, negative thoughts and feelings. These experiences are not a sign of failure. You may feel as though you've taken 5 steps back- but that doesn't mean that you’re not going to get back to the place you were at in recovery.

It's important to look inward with curiosity versus judgment or shame.

Leaning into these experiences with curiosity can help you and your therapist identify triggers to target and reprocess, as well as resources that are needed to provide support and sense of safety during your recovery. Practicing self-compassion during your recovery will allow you to look inward with a growth mindset versus defeat.

Some ways to practice self-compassion include:

Ask yourself:

If my best friend was feeling this way, how would I support him/her?

Practice mindfulness:

Allow yourself to acknowledge and identify your thoughts, feelings and emotions without judgement.

Reach out to others:

You are allowed to need support from those you trust when you are feeling vulnerable.

Treatment is not one-size fits all.

There is no "magic number" of how many sessions it will take to heal. The recovery process is unique to you. It can take as long as it needs to, so be easy on yourself. Remember, the damage was not your fault and there is no timetable for how it should feel. Everyone heals at their own pace. Be gentle with yourself during your journey to heal.


Annabella Lipson is a Mental Health Counselor at Peaceful Living Mental Health Counseling

She incorporates a combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), EMDR Therapy and Mindfulness practices with her clients.

Annabella is available for morning, afternoon and evening appointments virtually or in-person


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