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Peeling Away the Layers of Trauma: Survivors II

Dr. Georgia Fourlas, LCSW, LISAC, CSAT
Clinical Director of Workshops, Rio Retreat Center at The Meadows

There is an undeniable link between childhood trauma and the ability to cope with adult trauma. Traumatic experiences seem to build upon one another, and not in a good way.

Most people have the resources to overcome a few traumatic experiences, even if they are really severe traumas. However, when people deal with trauma repeatedly and over time, they develop maladaptive ways to cope. They can become depressed, anxious, addicted, disconnected, and/or distrustful of others. They can begin to feel as though the world is an unsafe place where they can find no relief from the constant barrage of bad things that happen to them.

Big T and Little t Traumas

The Meadows categorizes traumas into “Big T” traumas and “little t” traumas. The Big T traumas are the more obvious or overt traumas—they are the types of events that anyone can look at and immediately recognize as severe trauma. Big T trauma examples might include physical abuse, sexual abuse, a major accident that caused severe physical damage, or becoming a victim of a violent crime.

“Little t” traumas are more covert, less obvious, and often are viewed as less important. Little t traumas are relational traumas. Examples include abandonment, neglect, enmeshment, and emotional manipulation.

Although it may seem that the really big and overt traumatic incidents are the difficult ones to overcome, that may not be true. More subtle, covert traumas or relational traumas can actually be just as damaging, and sometimes more so. It is easier for little t traumas to accumulate unnoticed for years, chipping away at a person’s sense of self, self-esteem, sense of well-being and ability to trust themselves and others.

The big T traumas are usually the ones that receive the most help and attention, while the little t traumas are often minimized. They are minimized by others, but more importantly, minimized by the person experiencing them. These traumatic experiences are part of what form a person’s relationships with others, themselves, and the world they live in. Help is necessary and usually needs to be ongoing.

Living in Contentment and Abundance

At The Meadows, we describe our therapeutic approaches, particularly those utilized in our workshops, as peeling away the layers of trauma. Those layers of trauma prevent people from being their authentic selves and from living in contentment and abundance. Our Survivors workshops are an ideal place to being peeling these layers.

Survivors I has been the most popular workshop at The Meadows for many years. The focus of Survivors I is childhood trauma and the way it set us up for issues that arise in adulthood. Many people describe Survivors I as a profound and life changing experience. Often times, they are so happy with their experience that they want more of it! They either want to do more inner child work, more extensive work with childhood trauma, or they want to experience the same kind of healing and relief from their adulthood trauma issues. They can do all of that in Survivors II.

Survivors II: Continue the Healing Journey

Survivors II is our more advanced Survivors workshop. Participants are in their small group beginning the first day. Lectures are more advanced and experiential work takes up more of the week than in Survivors 1. Survivors II is only for people who have already completed Survivors I. The psych-educational lectures in Survivors II build upon what was already learned in Survivors I. The experiential work in the advanced course is customized to each participant and covers a more extensive depth and breadth of traumatic experiences and responses.

Both Survivors I and Survivors II workshops are grounded firmly in the widely respected and long-standing work of Pia Mellody and her books Facing Codependence and The Intimacy Factor. They are held on the campus of a beautifully restored historic dude ranch at our Rio Retreat Center. For more information, or to enroll in one of our Survivors workshops, please call our intake department at 800-244-4949 or send us an email.

Contact The Rio Retreat Center

Intensive Workshops • Facilitating Healing • Empowering Emotional Growth

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