It’s not always easy to tell trauma survivors in the midst of deep suffering that one day they’ll find meaning in what happened to them. We know that early on in therapy, beginning to discuss topics like abuse or neglect can be extremely stressful.
But according to Lisa Ferentz, author of Treating Self-Destructive Behaviors in Traumatized Clients, the first session is exactly when you want to introduce the possibility that one day your client will not only be able to make sense of their trauma, but even grow from it.
In this brief video clip, Lisa explains her rationale behind telling trauma survivors they’ll bounce back and find meaning in their trauma.
Lisa Ferentz, LCSW-C, DAPA, is a private practitioner, consultant, and educator specializing in trauma. She’s the founder of the Institute for Advanced Psychotherapy Training and Education and author of Treating Self-Destructive Behaviors in Trauma Survivors.
At the very beginning of therapy, Ferentz tells clients that together they’re “planting a seed” for their emergence from traumatic experiences, with a new perspective on life. “I say this to everybody,” she says, “because I never want to make an assumption about the ability of my clients to grow and heal. Clients can continually surprise us with how they work through the most horrific trauma.”
Did you enjoy this video? You might also want to check out Ferentz's article, "Transcending Trauma," in which she shares the story of one of her most challenging clients and explains why we need an alternative to trauma treatment "by the book." You might also enjoy reading about how trauma treatment has evolved over the past 25 years in Janina Fisher's "Putting the Pieces Together."