Sunday, July 15, 2012


What do I mean by "Inside-Out"? It is a multi-leveled concept for me, including; the internal and external experience of trauma response, the mind/body connections in recovery; how the trauma survivor is viewed by the self vs. how they are seen by others; the influence of my own trauma history to the work I do; and probably a lot of other things that will show up along the way.  

I am a survivor of trauma, having had breast cancer fourteen years ago.  It was a full year of fear, loss and pain which changed me forever.  While it might sound trite, in retrospect it was the most extended, meaning-filled time I have ever experienced.  That was an inside-out time where the betrayal of my body (tho' I have to ask, "who betrayed who in the first place"?), turned into the unkind gifts of discovery and re-prioritizing that now allows me to speak with authenticity to those in need of my perspective.  

The shock of the diagnosis at 38 years old, with a young family depending on me, a brand new doctoral degree and an active psychotherapy practice, was profound.  It was another inside-out event for my aging parents and my sisters and brothers to have to come to this new possibility of loss, and restructuring of roles, from having their busy, organized and healthy daughter/sister suddenly in mortal danger.  

Other inside-out effects emerged around the people I thought would be there for me, who faded away, and those I barely knew who rose to the occasion to support and encourage me.  In my practice, clients surprised me by demonstrating strengths and reflecting growth in ways I'd never have know possible before that time.  It was then that I realized that I was one of them, a trauma victim, on her way out of a profoundly inside-out experience, and on a journey of uncertain recovery, and it was time to go find a way out.

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