The Trauma Recovery Institute

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CORRECTIVE ACTION IN THERAPY

Correction action is the premise with which we engage in interpersonal relating with the client, which is different to that in which the client experienced as abusive in the original trauma. In this article abuse is defined as anything less than nurturing. When we experience abuse in childhood such as physical, emotional, psychological and sexual abuse we experience a violation of personal boundaries. These feelings of abuse and violations cannot be successfully processed due to their complex and overwhelming nature, these feelings are dissociated and repressed into unconscious awareness and stored in our bodies.
The only way to address these feelings as adult clients in therapy is to re-experience these dissociated affected states in the here and now but this time as an adult and within a safe environment within a therapeutic frame of compassion and strong boundaries which helps to set up conditions which can be portrayed as opposite to that of the environment in which the original trauma took place. We as therapists also need to portray that unlike before when the client was a child and felt alone and unable to communicate the trauma with a supportive care giver that now we can be the supportive care giver and witness the client in the pain of the abuse and completely welcome the clients pain in a compassionate non-judging validating way.
If the therapeutic framework has loose boundaries then rather than holding a different environment to that of the original trauma, the environment and relationship on an unconscious level feels similar to that of the original trauma and will block the client from successful therapeutic outcome. Even if it feels like on a conscious level that the client is doing well because they may be very comfortable in a space with poor boundaries as it is very familiar to the client. This is a common illusion in therapy. Eventually the client will drop out of therapy, possibly as a result of unsuccessfully working through of transference due to an inability to successfully communicate the unconscious discomfort in the therapeutic framework.
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