Trauma work is often perceived to be backward-looking, to reawaken old pain that belongs in the past and is therefore irrelevant to the present. I am also not a fan of aimless digging into one’s trauma biography when it is unnecessary, and even potentially harmful.
The False Memory Movement originating from the USA goes so far as to accuse therapists of (unconsciously) constructing childhood traumas in order to have something to treat. This very real danger exists primarily for beginners who have not sufficiently processed their own early imprints and then project them onto their patients. In my opinion, therapy should be future-oriented and focus on the here and now, on the patient’s current internal structures that they want to examine and change because they are no longer serving them. This means that each of my trauma therapy sessions begins with a current issue brought about by everyday life. What brings the patient to me? What does he or she want to change? Where is the intended change not possible? What is hindering them? What do they truly want?
„Therapy, for me, means an inner realignment towards what corresponds to my psychological potential within the context of my life experience.“ (Michael Gollmer)
This issue, this future-oriented intention of the patient, is the starting point for working with the patient’s internal structures, which are often shaped by early imprints and traumas. However, we only work with past traumatic events if they are still relevant in the here and now, if they have led to the development of patterns and defense mechanisms that are currently blocking us, for example, by suppressing certain emotions. The actual work is not about working with traumatic events, but always about working with the patient’s internal psychological parts and states in the here and now. It is only where these parts are still stuck in past experiences that it makes sense to revisit them in order to collect the part from there and bring it into the present. Childlike parts that still feel vulnerable and helpless, for example, can gradually find more self-determination and autonomy.
The patient accesses these internal parts by resonating with them. This is a process that involves perceiving one’s own emotions and body, not just a cognitive or rational process, although understanding is always involved. Ultimately, this type of therapy is a process of self-encounter and self-knowledge. What has happened to us in life has shaped us and to some extent determines our identity. However, my belief is that as human beings, we are always more than the sum of our life experiences. This means that it is important to me that we view ourselves as transcendent beings, whose essence is of a spiritual nature. And wherever this spiritual level is significant, I incorporate it into my work. This brings a certain lightness to therapy, for which my clients are grateful.