I’m always interested and excited to learn new and different approaches to healing from abuse. It’s one of the reasons why I enjoy bringing guests on the podcast, so they can share their insight and we can all learn and continue healing together. It’s quite the validating and encouraging experience, wouldn’t ya think? 🙂
In this podcast, I talk with Elisabeth Corey, MSW. She is an author, advocate, and survivor of child sex abuse and trafficking. Elisabeth uses her life experiences to help others through her Coaching practice, and to generate awareness about sexual violence and complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD). So of course, I just had to reach out and see if she would be so kind as to accept my invitation for the podcast.
So let’s jump right into it…I absolutely love this quote right on the front page of her website, Beating Trauma:
The past eight years have been hard, but I have to admit, they would have been impossible without my recovery. I know that. Through my recovery, I have relieved myself of the constant inner turmoil that ruled my outer life. I have gained the ability to experience a peaceful presence that I never thought possible. Most importantly, I have stopped the manifestations of trauma that haunted my family for generations. I know that cycle is stopped and that adds to my peace.
The main topic of our podcast focuses on Elisabeth’s approach to recovery with her clients, and one that she herself has extensively explored throughout her own healing journey; Inner Parts Work and Inner Family System work.
Elisabeth grew up in a toxic, invalidating home that included sexual abuse, trafficking, emotional abuse, and gas lighting; something that so many survivors, myself included, can relate too in many ways. During those years, she recalls having a mindset that if she could just escape that toxic environment, everything will be okay. Life will be better, things will fall into place, and that traumatic world can be left behind forever.
When in reality, even after leaving a toxic environment, the imprint that was left on us is still present. The effects are far from dissipated, and its that realization that can create a real sense of hopelessness and that we are doomed to repeat the patterns of our past.
We also learn how her moment of enlightenment, the experience that made her realize that she needed to work towards healing, was when her twin children were born. It was then that she realized just how much she had been repressing the traumatic memories of the past, and how much that trauma still had a hold on her every day life.
Elisabeth explains more of her approach to healing, with the realization that we all do have “inner parts” and those parts make up our own internal family unit. It’s really quite fascinating as you listen to her breakdown more of what this means and how powerful the results can be. Not only with emotional trauma but also physical, chronic pain as well.
One of the benefits of working through our own inner family unit, is the reduction of self-shaming and self-sabotage. She goes on to explain how some our individual parts are called “the defenders”. One of the objectives of the defenders, is to try to keep us from digging deeper into healing by making us think that it’s safer to avoid the idea of healing altogether. Hence we end up self-sabotaging ourselves, staying stuck, and living in shame.
It’s important to understand that we should not shame our inner parts, they need to be validated and heard, much like our inner child needs to be heard and validated. Inner child work is a great starting point for inner parts work; and part of that means understanding how our defenders can keep us from accessing our inner child. So by working through our inner parts, we can access and embrace our own inner child in a more loving, validating way.
Another way that Elisabeth’s approach helps, is in the area of Dissociation and Dissociative Identity Disorder. Something that is very close to my heart and I’m very passionate about. When we have significant trauma, our inner parts do Dissociate so fully that they can actually take over in a big way (DID). By focusing on Inner Parts work, we allow each part to have their say, and express themselves in a validating way; which in time can diminish their desire to try and take over.
There’s much more that I can’t wait to share with you during my conversation with Elisabeth; such as:
- Exploring other parts like “the controller”, which is the primary defender, and also our Protectors and a part called “The Mean Kid”.
- Recognizing not only the strengths of our parts, but also how their methods are not always the most healthy.
- More of how this work helps with physical pain, by exploring the repressed emotions that are connected to the pain itself.
So grab those head phones, or plug your phone into your radio and let’s do this!
Thank you again Elisabeth for such an informative podcast and sharing so much encouragement and hope for all who have survived the trauma of abuse.
If you would like more information on Elisabeth Corey, her Facebook group, Self-Guided Workshop, or any of her resources, including working with her as your coach, head over to BeatingTrauma.com!
Images of Elisabeth Corey used with her Permission. Pictures courtesy of Pixabay. Social Media images created by Matt Pappas.