As I’ve been digging in my new garden this last week, I have asked why? why? why? How is it possible there are quite so many rocks? How could the ground get in quite this state? Alas, my desire to squirrel out the story is to no avail, the mists of time obscure why or how my garden came to be as it is, what I need to do is deal with it!
“We don't need to know the story, we need to deal with the effects” Dr Joan Borysenko
I’m loving the parallels between my gardening adventures and my therapeutic work. In both, the story is really not the main event. The work at hand in therapy is to deal with the effects, for clients here and now, of whatever it is that has happened to them that contributed to them experiencing what they now do.
Talking through the history of past events can be hugely useful for clients, it may be important to be witnessed and heard, and to be believed. However, it may also be triggering. If done inappropriately, it may even re-traumatise. The work of therapy is to be clear about symptoms and goals, and to visit only what needs to be brought to mind, only to the degree it needs experiencing, to allow integration and healing.
When we do this, we respect our clients, and provide possibilities and ways forward for them to choose if they wish. Trauma treatment can allow the rocks of the past to relinquish their supporting role, and make way for new growth and transformation.