In the realm of trauma recovery, it really does take a support network to help you heal. One of the most important members of that network is your trauma counselor. But if you want to successfully work with your counselor you’ll need to know how. Below are a few tips on how to successfully work with a trauma counselor so that you can recover.
- Test it out. Just because you’ve begun seeing a counselor doesn’t mean that you have to stay with that person. Before you choose a trauma counselor, keep in mind that you may need to try one or two people before you find the right fit. Don’t take it personally and be assured that the counselor isn’t taking it personally either.
- It’s a team effort. While most trauma counselors have the training necessary to help you through your recovery, they are not “healers” in the sense that they will carry you completely. Approach your counseling sessions as a team effort, and you will get much more out of it.
- Set boundaries. A big part of recovering from trauma and learning to trust again is setting boundaries and respecting the boundaries of others. If there are things that you’re not yet comfortable talking about, let the counselor know. Remember, people can’t respect your boundaries if they don’t know about them.
- Be honest. If you want to get on the road to recovery and stay there, you’ll need to be honest with your counselor about your feelings and experiences. In trauma counseling there is no right or wrong answer. Each of us experience and respond to events differently. So don’t be afraid to share the truth.
- Be uncomfortable. Since you’re working with a trauma counselor to help you recover from trauma, be prepared to be uncomfortable. Your discussions may bring thoughts and emotions to the surface that make you question yourself. That’s good. This feeling of discomfort is what’s necessary for change.
- Engage other helpers. Recovering from trauma isn’t a one shot deal; you’ll need to handle all areas of your life carefully if you want to heal. So if you’ve begun abusing substances such as drugs and alcohol you should consider enrolling into an addiction treatment program while also working with your trauma counselor. A good trauma counselor will consider your whole wellbeing not just your mind.
- Create real goals. Counseling will help you process your thoughts, emotions, and experiences; but it’ll be up to you to take real world action as you recover. If you’ve found yourself becoming more socially isolated, you might make it a goal to reach out to an old friend and talk on the phone. Or, if you’ve been staying in the house days on end, you may make it a goal to go for a walk outside at least once a week. By creating and reaching these small goals, you will get the most out of your counseling session.
If you approach the process the right way, working with a trauma counselor can help you get on the road to recovery and stay there.