The Importance of Trauma Informed Care
Willow's Experience Working with Survivors of Sexual Assault and/or Trauma
After choosing to devote my life's work to supporting Women, I realized I would also be devoting my life's work to supporting survivors. At least some of the time. I've learned that I don't need to know if you are a survivor, or if you are not. I don't need to know if you have experienced trauma, or if you have not. Women should always get to choose how they disclose, if they disclose, and to whom they disclose. If a Woman chooses to share this with me, ever, at any point in our time together, I honor this deeply, and I hold space for the vulnerability and the trust that has emerged to allow this to come forth. And if she never discloses, I honor this just as deeply. I honor that she gets to choose how to tell her story, and with whom to share it with, and when, if ever. Because if nothing else, she should get to choose this. I know that I work with survivors everyday that I step into my office, and sometimes it is disclosed to me, and sometimes it is not. And its not my intention to note this, rather it is my intention to create an an environment that allows all Women, with all experiences, and backgrounds, to feel safe, to feel heard, to have choice, and to take up space, in whatever way feels safe and authentic for them.
Willow's Passion for Working With Survivors of Sexual Assault and/or Trauma
I knew after I decided I wanted to work with Women, it would be imperative to know how to support Survivors. I knew I would need to have the resources to support the layered experiences of personal, generational, and collective societal trauma that Women carry in their bodies. I also realized how important this work was to me, after trying to find support on my own journey of healing, after living through my own experiences of assault. I realized that there weren't many resources available. I realized that not many people were trained on how to show up in a way that felt safe. I realized that what feels safe for one Woman, can feel unsafe for another. I wanted to be able to create a space that would meet each Woman where she is at, a space that would support all of the experiences that have formed her into being. For these reasons, supporting survivors has weaved its way into my world, shaping my existence, and inspiring my life's work. And for this, I am so very grateful.
What is Trauma Informed Care?
I truly believe that if you get nothing else from our time together, at the very least, I want you to feel safe. Trauma informed care can look different for everyone, because what makes one Woman feel safe, has the potential to make another Woman feel unsafe. It is my responsibility and my passionate commitment to my clients, to have an ever expanding knowledge of the affects of trauma on the body, mind, and heart, and to have the awareness of how to navigate the added layers of needed support for every Woman who chooses to come into my office. I believe that you must support the nervous system, if you want to heal any and every ailment in the body. I have dedicated my work to learning how to nourish and rebuild the nervous system, how to balance it, in relationship to any other pathology that needs to be addressed within the body. This means I choose foods that ground the nervous system, I choose herbs that rebuild it, I choose breathing practices that sooth it, bodywork techniques that are repetitive and predictable, so the nervous system can rest and repair during treatment. Trauma informed care infuses the language that I use, the placement of seating in the room, the music, the temperature... everything is chosen with the nervous system in mind. If I do not have the resources needed to support a particular client, I commit to trying to find other practitioners instead of, or in addition to, our work together, to the best of my ability.
What Modifications Can be Made to Increase Safety and Accessibility?
Most things in a session can be modified to create a safe and supportive environment. The lighting, the temperature, the music, the placement of seating in the room, the draping for bodywork, the scents in the room, my positioning in the room. A client will always be supported in the knowing that she knows her body and her being better than I ever could, and I will invite her to lean into this throughout our time together by giving space for choice in all moments. It is my hope to create a grounded and safe container, what we fill that container with to best support each client and their needs, is ultimately up to them. Sometimes we must even rebuild the container together, to better meet their needs. If a client gets nothing else from our time together, at the very minimum, I strive to offer her a safe space.