There are very few “have  to’s” in trauma recovery. 

Which is good news, because we trauma survivors often don’t do all that well with “have to.” 

Oh, there will be people who will try to convince you there are “have to’s.” 

You’ll get people telling you meaningful trauma recovery takes (x) many months or years in treatment. 

You’ll get people telling you that meaningful trauma recovery MUST include (whatever) type of therapy. 

Sometimes you’ll even get therapists effortfully arguing that “the science” only supports THEIR preferred theory or modality for trauma recovery. 

(“The science” says no such thing, by the way— research suggests that a number of different therapy approaches can be helpful with trauma.)

My experience is that the trauma recovery tools that work best for you, are the trauma recovery tools that work best for you. 

What works for you may or may not align with what works best for another human being. 

The thing is: there’s an entire INDUSTRY of trauma experts and programs that profit of off selling their particular approaches. 

They’ve learned that, from a marketing perspective, it is more profitable to claim that their approach is superior to other trauma treatments— because they’re very aware that a dollar spent at treatment program (Y) is a dollar NOT spent at treatment program (Z). 

But that’s all marketing and industry bullsh*t. That doesn’t have anything to do with YOUR recovery. 

The truth is, most peoples’ recovery involves a combination of tools, skills, and philosophies that we pick up in lots of places— many of which we modify to meet our own needs. 

Don’t get me wrong: if you happen to get all of your trauma recovery tools in one place, that’s awesome. Good for you. 

But the marketing bullsh*t that happens around trauma work (psychotherapy in general, really) can be really destructive to real world recovery. 

We have to remember that even psychotherapy isn’t the end-all, be-all of trauma recovery. 

Therapy is ONE tool in the fight. Some people get more mileage out of the tool of psychotherapy than others. 

I don’t, actually, think all trauma survivors in recovery NEED to be in therapy. 

I think all trauma survivors in recovery NEED to be gathering, adapting, and regularly USING the appropriate skills, tools, and philosophies to keep THEM safe and stable. 

In my book, that’s the only “have to” in trauma recovery. 

Don’t get overwhelmed or discouraged by the hundreds and hundreds of worlds that can come at you when you dip your toe in the world of trauma treatment— including the words I write. 

Meaningful recovery does NOT require you to do it a certain way. 

There are ways that I think tend to be safer and more effective than other ways— but I’ve worked with a teeny, tiny fraction of the trauma survivors in this world. 

(Yes, even though I’ve worked with HUNDREDS of trauma survivors, it’s STILL a teeny, tiny percentage of the MILLIONS of trauma survivors out there— even the hundreds of thousands of survivors likely reading this.) 

The “experts” are gonna say what they’re gonna say. Remember that they’re often just reinforcing their brand— not telling you something important about your recovery journey. 

YOU keep coming back to YOUR struggles and needs TODAY. 

YOU keep track of things that actually work— for YOU. 

YOU keep track of ideas, skills, tools, and philosophies that YOU can modify to your needs. That resonate with YOU. 

All of the bullsh*t manufactured by the trauma treatment industrial complex doesn’t mean a goddamn thing if it doesn’t help YOU make it through the day— or make it through the night. 

Breathe; blink; focus. 

Recovery is about YOU feeling and functioning better in the real world. 

That’s it. 

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