This is a word of encouragement to those individuals who struggle with especially difficult traumatic memories from the past. For anyone who has lived through an especially difficult or even life-threatening situation, it’s bad enough to have had to endure it the first time.
The problem with these especially difficult and/or traumatic memories is they are hard to put out of mind. They tend to cause nightmares; phobias (like fear of leaving the house or spiders, etc.); panic attacks; and other intense emotions including anxiety, sadness, and anger. Even if you put them out of mind, they can still cause emotional, psychological, or even physical symptoms any number of years later. This is why I encourage counseling in these situations. I can say from experience that shutting down the painful wallop of these awful memories and the accompanying symptoms is an achievable goal in counseling.
There are some therapeutic approaches that are direct for those individuals who are comfortable processing at that level. But there are also therapeutic approaches that I use for individuals who are very fearful and who don’t want to journey through the past to experience healing. I let clients know that when they are in my office, they are in control. This is especially important to anyone who felt like there was a time when they had no control which led to a harmful experience. I let clients know, they will never be pressured to do anything for which they are not comfortable.
It’s understandable why individuals may be fearful of having to re-experience the pain and horror of that original experience. And some fear that if they address it in counseling, it will be like re-living it all over again. It does not have to happen this way. You don’t have to re-live those memories to make progress and achieve goals in counseling. You will want to find a counselor who is compassionate to and specializes in working with individuals with traumatic memories. And you will need to tell your counselor of your concerns. Then the two of you can find a suitable approach. Best wishes for your healing.