Jana Stanfield posed the question, "What step(s) would I take if I were brave?"
Following assessment and a determination of a client's goals and comfort level with the possible use of AIP techniques, I will often suggest that they begin "befriending" themselves by making what I call a "chronological template trauma list." I suggest they take a sheet of paper and write in a vertical line the numbers one (1) through to whatever age they presently are. Then to write down any trauma that they actually remember alongside the age at which they were when it occurred. This is about honoring yourself and what has happened either directly to you or what you were witness to, just as you would if it were for someone you loved unconditionally. It could be a situation or situations of trauma, overwhelm, or absolute helplessness. An abusive family situation could be watching a parent physically harm the other or a sibling.
In order to save any possible embarrassment or harm if the list were to be read by another person, I suggest that they note the trauma in such a way that only they can understand what it truly means and that, unless they wish to, they never have to share it. An example would be if a person was attacked by a dog at age seven, besides the number seven, they could just put the word "dog." In some respects, this can have a similar purpose to a step four, as in the addictions 12-step work. It helps the person identify and validate their truth, rather than what they have been told or led to believe was or was not traumatic for them. Working with the earliest listed traumatic memories that the client states have not been resolved, or that still bring up a painful resonance, disturbance perturbation, trigger, turmoil, physical or emotional reaction, i.e., fear, phobia, or anxiety, is hopefully the beginning of "breaking up the foundation" and imploding the building of self-harming, self-defeating, and often self-medicating behaviors and beliefs.
Many similar situations in the present time will elicit the same type of reaction as a person experienced at the time of the original trauma. This suggests that it would be more efficient, and therefore hopefully less painful and time-consuming, to work through the earliest known traumas that continue to recreate that unwanted reaction. This is in order to implode the other layers of the building that contain the same emotions, i.e., shame, guilt and, fear, etc. If the layers are then worked through, it will also break apart the original foundation, through the reframing that would take place, i.e., recognizing that one was helpless, dependent, and a victim. This would leave the original lot (soul) ready and waiting for a new foundation and building (fresh experiences and responses rather than reactions). This is as a result of finally having a true sense of choice, independence and, in this state, the willingness to be healthily vulnerable, to forgive, to love unconditionally, to befriend the self, and to be connected and comfortable with one's own spirituality (Higher Power).
Lesson 6 is about the difference between Shock & Trauma.