Finding Comfort in Yourself Before Starting Trauma Therapy

Posted on July 31, 2023 by Corner Canyon Publishing
Finding Comfort in Yourself Before Starting Trauma Therapy

Trauma is an unfortunate reality in many lives. Whether it is due to one traumatic event or repeated experiences, its effect can have far-reaching ramifications on one’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Therapy is one way of recovery, but before embarking upon that path, one must find comfort within. In this article, we will explore why building strong foundations of self-comfort should precede trauma therapy through various strategies for nurturing compassion. Self-care and resilience within ourselves are necessary for the healing journey ahead.

Understanding the Importance of Comfort

Having comfort within yourself is not a privilege but a right everyone has. Although reaching that inner comfort may sound simpler than it is, the benefits are worth the work it takes. Understanding the importance of reaching a sense of inner comfort can help you stay motivated to reach this state before beginning trauma therapy.  

Deliberating Self-Comfort

Self-comfort refers to providing yourself with emotional support, reassurance, and a sense of security during challenging or stressful circumstances. This involves developing an unconditionally compassionate relationship with yourself. Your self-relationship should provide relief, understanding, and acceptance. Each of these characteristics is important when managing trauma therapy sessions and preparing for therapy itself.

Connection Between Trauma and Comfort

Trauma can profoundly alter our sense of safety and well-being, leaving individuals feeling unsafe, helpless, vulnerable, disconnected from themselves and others, overwhelmed, and vulnerable. Traumatic experiences heighten the need for comfort. Accessing it may prove more challenging due to feelings of shame or unworthiness of comfort resulting from trauma therapy itself. Recognizing this link between trauma and comfort is critical to prioritize and nurture it before trauma therapy begins.

Trauma Therapy Requires Self-Comfort for Success

Self-comfort serves as the cornerstone of effective trauma therapy, helping individuals create a sense of safety within themselves that facilitates healing. Being able to comfort yourself allows you to face challenges better. Some of these challenges may include revisiting memories or exploring emotions. These may arise during therapy. With greater resilience and self-compassion, self-comfort skills can assist with triggers or emotional distress outside sessions, thus furthering your ongoing growth and healing.

Cultivating Self-Compassion

It can seem challenging to cultivate self-compassion at first, but there are many practices that you can engage in to help do this. Experiment with each of these practices and find which one helps you increase your levels of self-compassion and comfort.

Cultivating Compassion Despite Trauma

Self-compassion entails showing kindness, understanding, and acceptance toward oneself during times of suffering or difficulty. For individuals who have endured trauma, cultivating this trait may be particularly challenging due to feelings of shame or negative self-perception. These feelings are often associated with trauma experiences, yet cultivating it can bring tremendous comfort for healing purposes.

Practice Self-Compassion Exercises

Exercises and techniques designed to foster self-compassion can be extremely useful in helping you further understand how to be accepting of your true self. Some of these practices may include:

  • Writing a letter acknowledging any emotional suffering and offering words of understanding and support
  • Engaging in mindful self-compassion, where mindful awareness brings forth kindness and empathy when responding to feelings
  • Guided meditations focused on cultivating an internal dialogue of kindness centered on self-compassion. 

Establish a Positive and Supportive Inner Dialogue

How we communicate internally has an immense effect on our emotional well-being. Fostering positive and supportive inner dialogues is an integral part of building self-comfort. Listen carefully when talking to yourself internally and challenge negative or self-deprecating thoughts with encouraging ones, replacing self-criticism with encouraging words, and reminding yourself that love, care, and kindness await you as your reward for the effort put forth to build this habit of self-care. Although this process takes time and dedication to achieve results, it will eventually cultivate self-compassion.

Prioritize Self-Care

Self-care is often discussed in the realm of improving mental health or overcoming any psychological disorders, including trauma. As stereotypical as it may sound, self-care is essential. Self-care may include the typical activities people hear about, like taking a bubble bath. However, it also includes participating in activities you enjoy, getting enough sleep, and nourishing your body. By prioritizing self-care, you are setting yourself up for success as you move forward through your journey at Corner Canyon Health Centers.

The Healing Potential of Self-Care

Self-care involves purposefully engaging in activities designed to foster physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Prioritizing self-care before beginning trauma therapy is vital as it will allow you to create a sense of nourishment, rejuvenation, and stability in your life. Engaging in self-care practices may bring comfort, reduce stress levels and strengthen resilience against trauma-related challenges.

Understanding Your Self-Care Needs

Self-care is deeply individualistic. Take time to identify activities or practices that bring joy, relaxation, and an increased sense of well-being for you. These may include spending time in nature, engaging in creative pursuits, practicing mindfulness or meditation, engaging in physical exercise, or connecting with loved ones. Prioritize these activities within your routine so you can consistently meet the self-care requirements in your daily life.

Establish Healthy Boundaries and Routines

Establishing and upholding healthy boundaries are integral components of self-care, including trauma healing. By setting clear, reasonable, and healthy boundaries and routines in relationships and daily life to protect both emotional and physical well-being, healthy boundaries help create supportive environments which foster comfort and well-being for you as an individual. Having clear boundaries set within your relationships can help create a safe and supportive environment for you to work through your trauma and feel comfortable with addressing these heavy emotions. 

Building Resilience

Resilience is another important component of self-comfort. Not only do you have to engage in self-care and establish a sense of self-compassion, but you also need to understand the importance of resilience.

Understanding Resilience within the Context of Trauma

Resilience refers to our capacity for adaptation, recovery, and rebound from hardship or distress. Building resilience can be particularly useful when healing trauma and preparing for therapy sessions. Traumatic experiences often disrupt our sense of security and stability. This accentuates why building resilience is vital to coping with potential obstacles encountered throughout therapy sessions as you work to overcome trauma.

Enhancing Emotional Resilience

Mindfulness and meditation practices can be powerful tools for building emotional resilience. Through mindful observation of thoughts and emotions without judgment, these practices help increase self-awareness and emotional regulation while relieving stress, increasing relaxation, and providing a sense of calmness. This feeling can be especially valuable during trauma treatment, as high emotions are likely to arise.

Engaging in Physical Activities to Build Resilience

Physical activity plays a central role in building resilience. Engaging in regular exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins are natural mood-lifters produced in your brain by exercise. These chemicals help to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve sleep quality, and enhance overall well-being. Make physical activities part of your routine. This can be accomplished by implementing walking, yoga, or swimming to create stronger resilience foundations for yourself and build on that resilience over time.

Find Your Support System

Having a support system is always important during any therapeutic practice. Knowing that you have a strong support system to rely on when working to overcome trauma can help relieve any anxiety that may arise. To have this sense of comfort, it is important to build a foundation for your support system before beginning trauma treatment. 

Benefits of Social Support

Establishing a network of supportive individuals is integral for finding comfort within yourself before beginning trauma therapy. Social support provides emotional validation, understanding, and a sense of belonging, as well as motivation during the healing process. Connecting with those who share similar experiences or seeking comfort through trusted friends, family, or support groups can make an enormous difference in one’s well-being and overall happiness.

Connect With Understanding Individuals

When seeking support, the people you choose to associate with must be empathic, understanding, and nonjudgmental. Surrounding yourself with people who validate your experiences can create a safe space where it is easier for you to express your emotions freely. Surround yourself with those who listen actively, and show kindness without judgmental opinions imposed on themselves or expectations placed upon them by others.

Join Support Groups

Support groups that are tailored toward trauma survivors can provide a sense of comfort, understanding, validation, encouragement, and a sense of belonging. Being part of such communities allows participants to share similar experiences while finding strength from those who understand their journey. Both of these aspects offer access and convenience for connections across diverse backgrounds and geographic locations. At Corner Canyon Health Centers, you have the opportunity to work with others who are going through similar issues and receive these benefits.

Accepting That Progress May Not Be Linear

Healing from trauma is not a linear journey. You should expect breakthroughs and setbacks along the way. Recognize there may be times when you are more vulnerable, or experience triggers that require extra self-care and support. Embrace this journey wholeheartedly and be kind and understanding with yourself when progress feels slow. Remember, even small steps forward are important and meaningful contributions toward your overall healing process.

Engaging in Self-Reflection

Self-reflection involves taking time out for yourself to explore your inner thoughts, emotions, and beliefs. This is an opportunity to deepen your level of self-awareness while gaining new perspectives about your past experiences and reactions. Engaging in self-reflection before trauma therapy allows you to better comprehend both yourself and your therapeutic journey, providing insights that could aid the therapeutic experience.

Journaling as an Approach for Personal Reflection

The practice of journaling can be an extremely helpful method of self-reflection. Take time each day to record your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in writing. This practice can help you identify patterns, reveal hidden emotions, and keep track of your progress over time. Use your journal as an outlet to express yourself authentically while exploring your inner world freely without judgment from outside sources.

One of the best parts of journaling is that it is only for your eyes. You can allow yourself to open up through writing and share some of your inner thoughts with the paper without any fear of rejection or judgment. It can be extremely relieving to put your emotions on paper in a private manner.

Seek Professional Guidance to Facilitate Self-Reflection

If self-reflection proves challenging or overwhelming, professional guidance could be beneficial. Therapy or counseling sessions provide much-needed support and valuable insight as you explore your inner world. Professional assistance can be used to help you navigate difficult emotions while uncovering hidden patterns to further understand yourself and other people around you.

Setting Realistic Expectations

Healing from trauma is a long and sometimes uncertain journey, and both progress and recovery mustn’t follow a straightforward route. Trauma healing may involve setbacks, ups, downs, and differing timelines depending on individual experience. Acknowledging that your experiences and pace of healing are valid should help put healing back on the right path for you.

Exploring Self-Expression

Self-expression is another important aspect involved with creating comfort within yourself before beginning trauma therapy. Explore ways that you can express yourself in a way that benefits your overall well-being.

Exploring Art and Creativity in Therapeutic Settings

Self-expression through art and creativity can be immensely therapeutic. Engaging in activities like painting, drawing, writing, or playing music can provide an outlet for emotions or experiences which may be hard to articulate in words alone. Utilizing these creative pursuits can also give you an outlet through artful creation to communicate more directly than conventional communication methods alone.

Different Modes of Self-Expression

Discover a unique mode of self-expression to suit you by trying different approaches to expression. Visual arts, writing, dancing, or photography are some possible avenues. You can attempt to engage in dance classes, singing lessons, or photography sessions. Engage in activities that enable authentic self-expression while tapping into creativity. There is no right or wrong way of self-expressing or limitations of the practices you can utilize. Let yourself experiment with different practices and find which ones resonate best with you.

Allow Yourself to Feel Vulnerable

Self-expression requires courage. It involves opening yourself up to being seen, heard, and understood by others. See vulnerability as strength and embrace it as an opportunity to connect more closely to yourself and others. Acknowledge that vulnerability can open you up for growth, self-discovery, and deeper connections on your healing journey.

Understanding Trauma Therapy

After you have begun to gain a sense of self-comfort, the next step is preparing to start your journey through trauma therapy and deepening your understanding of the process. Before beginning your journey through trauma therapy, it is important to be informed of the process of trauma therapy to set up realistic boundaries and expectations. 

Trauma therapies may involve exploring painful memories, processing difficult emotions, and challenging deeply held beliefs or patterns. Be patient, as progress may take time. Trust in both the expertise and guidance of your therapist while simultaneously honoring yourself and respecting your boundaries and needs as much as possible.

Self-Forgiveness and Trauma Healing

Traumatic experiences often leave individuals struggling with feelings of guilt, shame, and self-blame. Cultivating self-forgiveness is key to feeling comfortable before beginning trauma therapy. It requires letting go of self-blame while cultivating compassion and understanding toward yourself.

Challenging Self-Blame and Guilt

Recognize that any trauma you endured lies solely with its perpetrator rather than with yourself. Fight against self-blaming thoughts by reminding yourself that you did not cause it and deserve compassion and understanding from yourself as much as any loved one might expect of themselves in similar situations. Replace self-judgment with self-compassion by treating yourself like any of your loved ones would.

Accepting Self-Forgiveness

Self-forgiveness can be an ongoing journey that demands both patience and effort on our part. To start the healing journey of self-forgiveness, acknowledge and accept any pain or suffering experienced while choosing not to place blame or guilt upon yourself. Engage in reflective practices such as journal writing or meeting with a therapist as well as practicing self-compassion to foster its growth.

Becoming comfortable within yourself before beginning trauma therapy is an integral step toward recovery and well-being. By cultivating inner comfort, you’re building up self-compassion, resilience, and expression to support growth and well-being. Prioritizing self-care, building support networks, engaging in self-reflection and expression activities, and being open to trauma therapy are powerful practices to prepare yourself for trauma therapy. Allow yourself to create the framework for transformative trauma therapy experiences, leading to profound healing and growth. Trust that you possess all of the inner resources required for thriving and reclaiming your life. To learn more about gaining comfort within yourself before beginning trauma therapy, reach out to Corner Canyon Health Centers at (877) 717-6237.