Trauma counselling helps survivors move forward

As a survivor of childhood physical abuse, he always downplayed the impact of his abuse

“I was at the end of my rope,” said Justin (not his real name).

His wife was threatening to leave him, his boss had given him several warnings, and he was losing hope in his future.  He seemed to be losing his temper more and more.  He had nightmares, couldn’t sleep well and had little concentration.

As a survivor of childhood physical abuse, he always downplayed the impact of his abuse.  However, since becoming a parent, he could feel the past creeping into the present.  Despite his best intentions as a father, he found himself losing control and screaming at his son on a regular basis.

He felt desperate for help and decided to try counselling based on his doctor’s recommendation.

“My counsellor helped me understand that getting beaten as a kid might have caused traumatic stress, which is what soldiers get“, explained Justin.

Justin and his counsellor worked on developing a set of personal tools that he could use on his own to help him stay in the present and soothe his frayed nerves. He was still stressed, but able to function better. When he was ready, John and his counsellor used some evidence-based techniques for processing traumas from the past that were intruding into his present.  He started to feel even better.

“I knew I was really doing better when I started laughing and having fun for the first time in years,” he chuckled. “I also knew I was getting better because other people noticed. My son looked me in the eyes and said he liked being with me lots more than before.  While I used to get triggered over almost anything, these days I don’t take things as personally.  It’s a lot easier on me and everyone around me.”

Justin reports being grateful to the local non-profit society that helped him, North Island Survivors’ Healing Society. It offers professional subsidized counselling for men and women affected by trauma and abuse.  More information is available at 250-287-3325 or www.nishs.ca.