Book Recommendation, Trauma Therapy

Book Recommendation: Becoming Your True Self

Broughton’s little handbook on trauma healing, ‘Becoming Your True Self,’ is a helpful guide for those who wish to better understand themselves and their own inner trauma structures, a prerequisite for becoming a ‘healthy, independent adult.’

In this completely revised new edition, Broughton delves specifically into our earliest influences. Early emotional wounds can arise not only from experiences of violence, but also from what was lacking in our earliest developmental phases. What, for example, happens to us if we were not welcomed as children and did not experience genuine love and security? Well, we learn to live with it. But at what cost? In her book, Broughton describes how those very adaptation mechanisms and survival strategies that protect us from the pain of lacking affection during the early stages of our lives can lead us to lose ourselves: ‘These survival mechanisms negatively affect our ability to achieve our goals, establish good relationships with others, be happy, confident and productive, make clear decisions, feel love, and feel loved.’ Broughton’s path back to oneself is a path towards independence, towards a state of self where we are no longer dependent on the judgment of others, but draw our self-esteem from within.

In line with her concept of trauma, we are all more or less affected by trauma, victims of early psycho-traumas, even though they often remain in the dark. But there are ways to handle the consequences constructively and heal. Broughton’s clear definition of trauma is helpful in this respect. According to her definition, trauma can be identified if the following four criteria are met: The trauma victim feels overwhelmed and is no longer able to regulate their body and mind on their own. They feel powerless and at the mercy of the situation. They feel existentially threatened, become resigned, and fear that they may not survive the situation. In order to ensure survival, their psyche splits off the devastating experience. These inner splits can be worked through. Broughton achieves this by lovingly resonating with her patients. It is a process of self-exploration, an understanding of one’s own inner structures, an inner clearing-out. Any pain and other emotions that have been split off are gently made accessible again. Any inner protective mechanisms that hinder us today can be gradually dissolved, as we need them less and less.

Broughton’s book is a manual for trauma healing in the best sense: It provides us with a theoretical framework that we need for self-determined therapy. But it also emotionally guides us, allowing us to feel within ourselves and observe where we resonate as Broughton mentally takes us through our time in the womb, through birth, and the first years of life. It is precisely these early preverbal developmental phases, for which we have no cognitive memories, that are crucial.

This book is available at