From Fear to Hope
In their article “The journey of a lifetime: Group work with young women who have experienced sexual assault,” narrative therapists Lisa McPhie and Chris Chaffey explain the process they used to give witness to the stories of women who experienced the trauma of sexual assault and/or sexual abuse. As they guide the women on their journeys of healing, these therapists help the women discover ways to: 1) challenge the “tricks, lies, and bullshit” of the perpetrator, 2) break free from the “burdens of secrecy” and the “forest of deception,” 3) “escape the clutches of the guilt bandits,” 4) pull out of the “quicksand of self-hate,” and 5) hold “onto hope in the face of fear and terror.”
Traveling from fear to hope is a challenging part of the journey to recovery from trauma, as sometimes feelings of fear can surface suddenly (even long after the abuse is over). Recognizing fear, understanding it, and knowing how it affects us are the first steps in this part of the journey. It is also necessary to acknowledge those times when fear is not present and to expand on these stories. McPhie and Chaffey discovered this is where hope is found. In order to develop stories of hope they asked the following questions:
- What was different about this time?
- How did you feel?
- What were some of the things you felt when terror wasn’t with you?
- What is hope?
- How would you explain it to an alien?
- When did you start to recognize you had hope?
- What effect has it had in your life?
- Are there people who have taught you about hope, or from whom you have borrowed some hope?
- What would it be like if you invited hope to become your constant travelling companion?
Discovering stories of hope can give us the courage to move forward and help us see that the trauma we have experienced is part of the story, but not the whole story. If you are ready to tell your story and begin the journey of healing, please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services in Orlando today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment.