A Hero/Heroine’s Journey: A Road Map to Trauma Healing by Rev. Federico G. Carmona (STH’02,’08) Published on Counseling Today
This article was originally published by American Counseling Association in the July 2021 issue of its flagship publication Counseling Today. It is also published online by the same institution on July 8, 2021 and can be found here.
Federico Carmona is a certified clinical trauma professional working as a trauma therapist at Peace Over Violence in Los Angeles. Federico works with survivors of domestic and sexual violence and child abuse who are experiencing the devastating effects of posttraumatic stress disorder, complex trauma, trauma bonding and related psychological afflictions. Contact Federico at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A hero/heroine’s journey: A road map to trauma healing
By Federico Carmona
“Counselors can encourage clients on a journey to transform their pain and fear into a guiding wisdom that leads them toward self-awareness and emotional growth.”
We tend to perceive and pursue healing, happiness, meaning and self-fulfillment as a linear and clear destination. However, these quests are meant to be experienced as a journey and not as one’s end goal. In the progression of the journey, one can experience healing and continue to pursue it. That is because there will always be something to heal in our physical, emotional and spiritual selves. Life never stops giving us challenges that provide us with valuable experiences.
Overcoming psychological trauma, while growing emotionally, intellectually and spiritually, is a journey that can be viewed as both challenging and rewarding. I would go so far to say that healing from trauma is a sacred journey. It requires venturing into the deep self to plant the seeds of healing, ultimately bringing forth a better version of one’s self. However, this journey requires a hero. The person affected by trauma is the one who embarks on this journey, and there is no vicarious substitution for the journey.
“Many people would prefer to decline the invitation or call to healing because there is something comparatively cozy about that state of trauma.”
The proposed road map to trauma healing works well in 12-week psychoeducational groups of 90-minute sessions. The idea is to empower qualified participants with a concrete structure and strategies to do the work on their own. Each session is designed to introduce group members to new coping skills and life strategies to help them:
- Establish a sense of safety
- Achieve emotional regulation
- Integrate traumatic experiences
- Move beyond trauma