How can you not believe you “deserve to be okay and safe”?
“Alan had a history of childhood sexual abuse and was in an emotionally abusive relationship. He was fearful of leaving the house, unable to relax, and had high anxiety and difficulty sleeping.
Alan was often triggered by smells that brought up memories of his abuse and led him to go into fight or flight. To help him manage this we increased his awareness of how current life triggers were activating his trauma symptoms. He was supported to notice how the smells created strong bodily responses that were linked to past memories of trauma. He started to stay connected to the present, rather than perceiving them as a threat linked to past experiences. Alan was then able to link this with his substance misuse, which increased his motivation to reduce substances and engage with drug and alcohol services. Alan found this a difficult period. Once he started to reduce his alcohol intake, he found it hard to believe that he deserved to be okay and safe. Therapy explored the roots of this belief, eventually shifting it enough to help Alan engage in stabilisation strategies.
Over the weeks, Alan significantly reduced his substance misuse, began to stabilise his trauma symptoms and engaged well in drug and alcohol services. He moved from being socially isolated and fearful of leaving the house to being more connected – engaging in recovery groups and making friends. Alan also started to challenge his abusive relationship and eventually left his partner.
At the end of counselling he said he felt out of crisis but was still struggling. He was referred to the Southmead Project’s pre-counselling group for further support and will shortly be seen for longer term counselling here.”
Find out more about Southmead Project by exploring the Cumberland Basin Route on Bristol Giving Day.