Talking out problems has its roots in the time-honored tradition of storytelling. For centuries, communities gathered to recount victories… erecting monuments, mourning losses, feasting, and re-enacting great battles in full regalia. This tradition is of little resemblance to the process used in therapy today. When it comes to trauma, more talking won’t help. Stories focused on failure and loss, outside of a community context, and inside a commercial office space, can provide temporary relief for some, but is rarely enough to bring about permanent change. More often, just talking actually embeds problems deeper into the psyche, giving them undue power, and creating blind spots.
Unless talking is paired with creative action that focuses on options, not losses, traumatic memories will remain fragmented in the perceptual system, where they will be relived again and again. The days of Cognitive Behavior Therapy are giving way to an approach more in keeping with the history of story-telling as a catalyst for healing. Cognitive-Experiential Therapy uses mindfulness and expressive arts processes, in a relational context, to address the lived experience of trauma, prompting changes in distorted thinking and reactive behaviors. CET is evidence-based and targets the areas of the brain and body where traumatic experiences are mediated and stored. It serves to unite the perceptual splits responsible for Flashbacks and Panic Attacks, permitting a process of Self-transformation that has generational impact. More talking has no place when trauma is unspeakable.