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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

Local Counselors Weigh In

What are the top characteristics that help one deal with and ultimately grow from personal trauma?


Autumn Austin, MA, LPC, LCAS, reiki master, of A Place Called ‘There’Counseling, has been a therapist for more than

15 years, and says, “During that time, the one thing that almost all resilient people have is a connection to something bigger than themselves. Whether that be a higher power, the universe, evolution, nature or even a movement or cause, the most resilient people find the motivation to keep going, to keep moving forward despite what’s going on because they believe there is something more important, and that becomes their ‘why’. Why they get up in the morning, why they keep striving to grow and evolve, why they don’t give up.”

She explains, “I worked with a beautiful lady that had been physically and emotionally abused her entire childhood. The abuse left her feeling disconnected, victimized and unworthy, and she continued to experience those same feelings as an adult—until she started connecting with nature in a profound way. As her connection and understanding grew, so did her belief that she had a reason to keep going and that she could and would not only survive, but thrive. She is now involved in educating others about the environment, spending time in nature daily and receiving messages and guidance from the beautiful world around her. Most importantly, she believes in herself, has learned that self-care is vital, has clear strong boundaries and is happy. Take the time to find your why and you can overcome any obstacle.”

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Gregory Georgiou, Ph.D., LPC, of Carolina Family Healthcare, states,“Adversity can be an unwelcome intruder in our lives. While we often cannot control the personal traumas that occur in life, we can control our response to them. Because personal traumas are unplanned, unwanted and intrusive, two qualities that patients can use to understand and deal with the trauma are hope and a persistent willingness to exert some level of effort to help themselves.

“Hope is the belief and trust that things will be better, despite how unimaginable it may seem in the moment. Hope is knowing that although the sun is not shining now, the clouds will eventually disappear and the sun will shine again. Having a persistent willingness to exert some effort to help themselves moves patients from being stuck to healing and growth. This willingness can be as seemingly simple as getting out of bed and getting dressed to confronting the trauma face-on. Fortunately, patients having hope and this persistent willingness to help themselves work together toward their healing and growth because they are active participants and not bystanders.”

Georgiou notes, “Many of my patients have used these two essential qualities of hope and helping themselves to find healing, understanding and happiness. One patient, Jenna, a survivor of childhood abuse who suffers from chronic and severe physical pain and divorced from a spouse who betrayed and abused her, expressed an initial ‘half-ounce of hope’ at her first treatment and indicated that she would try to help herself. Her life when treatment terminated was something that she could not have envisioned, but her hope and effort allowed her to help herself and now cherish a life that she had never experienced.

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