59: Expanding the Definition of “Doing the Work” [Rebranding Trauma Therapy Series]

Too often I hear therapists share that a client “isn’t doing the work.” They’re not progressing or working through their trauma because in session they talk about what’s going on in their life today, rather than talking about what happened in the past.

I believe that when a client hears from their therapist that they’re not “doing the work,” it’s a red flag. Therapists need to put on their clinical reasoning hats and really think about what they’re saying.

The reality is that we’re always doing the work.

Therapy clients don’t always need to talk about trauma to be working on their trauma. As I’ve shared in previous videos, your brain doesn’t care what time it is because it’s always linking experiences. The work can happen in the past, present, and future and it’s all important in trauma work.

This week, I’m sharing why therapists hold the common view that clients must talk about trauma to work on their trauma, and how both therapy clients and therapists can shift the conversation and learn how to go from dipping toes into the pool to feeling comfortable in the deep end. I’m also sharing what therapists can do to support clients in practicing to be able to do the hard work, collecting data along the way.

This episode is part of the Rebranding Trauma Therapy series. Watch the whole series here.

When something traumatic happens to us, it can be healing to have a therapist listen to and/or validate our horrible experience, especially if no one else has before. However, rehashing the details of that traumatic event can be retraumatizing. Brain-based therapies like EMDR teach us that we don't have to talk about the trauma or the details if we don't want because the real healing doesn't focus on the traumatic event itself.

The Zero Disturbance podcast is for educational purposes and is not a replacement for a therapeutic relationship or individualized mental health or medical care.

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With a Masters in Education from Vanderbilt, Kambria has been creating trainings and teaching adult learners for over 20 years. As the Director of Education and Quality Improvement at Stanford Medical School, she created ease in complex systems, thereby giving medical trainees successful learning experiences. Now, as a dedicated mom, therapist, and EMDR Consultant, Kambria knows what it means to do things efficiently, effectively, and in a learner-centered way. When she isn't podcasting or creating online courses, you can find Kambria playing with her twins on a beach in California.