Psychotherapy and Counselling Service in London

When it all ends  when it all begins

Sometimes therapy can help us to find a part of us who once could fly, who could be liberated and free. A Century ago, the idea of humans flying was just a dream. When we realised the limitations of our anatomy, we began to imagine. This imagination then led to the invention of the aeroplane. However, sometimes our traumas make it difficult to imagine. If we find ourselves struggling with imagination, how can we ever dare to change, grow and flourish? How do we know which path to take? What if imagination works both ways? What if we are escaping from our scary imagination? Why do we even have a scary imagination? 

Trauma in childhood is inevitable. But if trauma is consistent and long lasting, overwhelming, or poorly dealt with by caregivers, it can create a frightening world. Everything becomes a threat, we are on high alert all the time. The smallest threat highjacks our imagination in order to assess and evaluate the situation. In other words, we try to imagine the worst scenario in order to be prepared. We have learnt that the unknown and uncertainty can lead to a nightmare. With this learnt strategy, we try to reduce the intensity of a trauma: If I know it’s coming, it will be less painful. However, sadly, trauma usually happens unexpectedly. 

I think of trauma as a rainbow of condensed and powerful light. Each colour being an emotion, trauma is the combination of all emotions at once. This puts us in a very fragile, overwhelmed state. If we are surrounded by supportive people, reassurance, warmth, empathy and unconditional love, we can process the trauma better and therefore, the aftermath can be different. However, we can’t always expect ‘a healthy reaction’ to a trauma as sometimes it is the entire family who is in the middle of the trauma. Could getting closer to one another and forming a strong unity help? Maybe yes, maybe no. We all react differently to trauma. We have our own unique way of handling it. 

How does imagination tie in with trauma and its aftermath? Imagination is everything. It’s the hope, drive, ignition and power that helps us to believe that the impossible is possible. Once we can imagine that, we can find a way, a strategy or even a tool to make it happen. Our bodies are not designed to fly or be in many different places simultaneously, it even goes against physics. By inventing drones, digital cameras and satellites, we have managed to achieve both: flying and being in different places at once. We imagined, we made it happen. “If you fall in love with the imagination, you understand that it is a free spirit. It will go anywhere, and it can do anything.” ―Alice Walker. Our traumas can be the place that all ends and where all begins.