Discussing trauma in therapy

How do you avoid skimming the surface of every traumatic event in therapy? I feel scattered (or possibly overwhelmed). At first, I’m not sure where to start, and then I’m all over the place. How do you “start wherever you want” and get anywhere?

Hum, I don’t believe that’s a bad place to start.

Imagine you break a piece of glass. It falls on the floor, and you are wearing nothing on your feet. Anywhere you move, you will cut yourself.

Where do you start? From whatever is closest, or brighter, or stands out in some way … there is no logic …

Similarly with your trauma …just blurt it out … there is always time to perfect the narrative and straighten the semantics.

It’s like planning, it starts from brainstorming.

It’s like order, it stats from chaos (yes, you got it, chaos theory!)

So, just let it come out. It doesn’t have to make sense to start with. It’s just gotta come out …

However, that is the case if you REALLY NEED to talk about it.


Because we don’t do that. Don’t get me wrong, at first, we have an urge to talk and let everything out. But eventually that energy dries up.

We DO NOT want to talk about our trauma.

We DO NOT want anyone knowing.

We DO NOT want anyone to stare with that “aww poor you” look in their face.

We DO NOT want anyone to think that they are better than us simply because of their emotional privilege (yes emotional privilege exists!).


We DO want to keep our dignity and self-respect. We want our resilience and survival skills to be considered dignified and worthy of respect.

Our approach

I think using IFS is a good starting point for everyone dealing with trauma, not just for multiples like us.

Switching from a holistic perspective, to a partial/unblended one, to a variably blended one are very useful tools in the trauma arsenal.

So, we learnt to soothe and heal ourselves. Our relationship with the therapist is by necessity a supervisory one. The therapist supports our inner therapist in healing our wounded parts. It is important that a therapist accepts, validates, and contributes to that approach.

We are weird. Standard psychology works very differently when one experiences daily doses of trauma for decades. So, being in charge of our own well-being is important, and it is an essential healing tool. The therapist should support us on our journey, while we are in charge of the direction, pace, goals, and outcomes of that journey.

Also, an important point is that while we have fixed appointments with a therapist, flashbacks, rumination, and negative thoughts don’t follow a schedule or keep a diary. We must be able to cope even when the therapist is not available. Wa want to be free and independent (again part of that dignity and self-respect, combined with a touch of self-determination).

This is obviously just a personal perspective, certainly biased by our own lived experiences, but we do hope it helps you a little. We wish you all the best on your healing journey 🖤