top of page

How to: Take Back Your Power

Hi friends! I hope you are doing well! Here in Oklahoma, we are enjoying a lovely summer so far. Last night, I sat on the porch while watching the rain softly fall, and it was a delight. If porch sitting were an Olympic sport, I'd be a gold medalist.


Onward to today's topic! How to take back your power... (after an event outside your control happens). This came to me when I was thinking about the later stages of working with clients who initially come in for trauma therapy, after a scary event happens for them, like a sexual assault, a natural disaster, a car wreck, etc. The first portion of trauma therapy is pretty similar for most clinicians and clients. I'll tell you a secret: all therapies work. There is no perfect therapy for trauma! EMDR works, CBT works, IFS works, CPT works, Brain spotting works, ART works, DBT works, and so on and so forth. Therapy works on trauma by doing a few different things: desensitizing the system to triggers by exposure and relaxation, and creating new belief systems after the trauma that allow us to re-establish our trust in ourselves and the world.


Taking back your power is typically a later-stage recovery period in trauma work. I'd argue that most clients don't always make it to this stage, because they get through a majority of trauma counseling, and feel better and they cease treatment. No shame in that at all. Sometimes that's all you want from counseling is to feel better and when you've accomplished that goal, you're good (for a while). When clients come to see me, it may be because they're like, "Oh, so I thought I was done, but this stuff is still stealing my power." Our work then becomes about how to take their power back, how to empower yourself again, after your sense of power and control has been stolen from you.


Step one is to define what a good life for you looks like post-trauma. It's different for every client. I can't define it for you, and neither can your mama, your boyfriend or your nosy neighbor. You have to say, "Okay, I'm alive. I made it after the terrible thing happened. How do I thrive again?" For one client, it was creating art again after an event had made her question her ability to create. All of us have to decide what thriving looks like for us as people and then go recreate that life in small measurable steps. You won't get there in one day, and you won't get there in one year. But, if you keep moving forward, you will get there. I promise.


Step two is setting boundaries that ensure your sense of safety, but still allow you to forge relationships at a pace that is doable for you. My clients that are healing from toxic relationships with childhood caregivers often still long to be close to those people. And to that, I say, "You are an adult now. You can keep yourself safe. You set the pace of any and all relationships in your life. You accept when people won't change and you change whatever you need to, to maintain your wellbeing."


Step three is learning to trust yourself again. If we think of trauma as disrupting our relationship with trusting ourselves and the world us, it makes sense that we have to work to get to a place where that trust can be fostered within ourselves again. Your child parts are longing for you to be in charge, to keep them safe, to listen to their warnings and heed their lessons. Trust is built in the small everyday actions of showing up for yourself and all of your parts, even the ones you aren't sure you love. It means taking care of your needs, and prioritizing them even in the face of a people pleasing attitude, often cultivated in a chaotic, scary childhood. It means giving yourself credit when you make mistakes, take responsibility and attempt to fix them. It means being there to catch yourself when you fall, to remind yourself that no matter what, you've got this. You will survive.


You are worthy of long-term recovery from trauma, and you deserve to take back your power. Know that I am rooting for you, and if you decide you want to work towards that goal, please send me an email or reach out to me for a consultation. I'd love to partner with you on the next step of the journey.


Take exquisite care of yourself,



Comments


bottom of page