• Time Orientation

    When doing work with trauma we often talk about trauma time. Trauma time refers to how people (or parts/alters) who’ve gone through trauma can get stuck in thinking and feeling as though they are still in that time period of their lives when the trauma was actively occurring.

    This can range from a full reliving, such as a flashback, to seeing others as dangerous (like the abusers), or feeling really young (like you were when the was occurring). It’s feeling like you are still there-and-then, instead of here-and-now.

    One way to cope with this is to help your nervous system reconnect with the here and now by utilizing time orientation skills.

    These skills involve reminding yourself of different things are in the here-and-now, compared to the there-and-then in several different categories: time, distance, power, choice, and comfort.

    In the category of time this might look like reminding yourself how old you are now (maybe look at your driver’s license), what year it is, or how many years it’s been since you got out of that traumatizing situation.

    Brainstorm ideas of what might remind you of how much time has passed since the trauma might be a driver’s license/ID card, a degree/certificate you’ve earned, looking at your cell phone at the date, do you wear a wedding ring, are you carrying a wallet/purse of an adult or a child? Notice how tall you are compared to how tall you were when the trauma was happening.

    Remember, not all of these will resonate with you. The idea is trying to identify the couple that do, and reminding yourself of those when you notice that you might be reacting or responding from a place of trauma time.