The Purpose of Family of Origin Trauma Work

Many of my clients coming for treatment ask about the purpose of doing Family of Origin Trauma work. So a good colleague of mine out of New Jersey, Cindy Browning LICSW, came up with this succinct and creative description of why do this kind of work.

The purpose of attending the workshop is to live from the functional adult. Remember that younger states, wounded-ness and trauma reactions (which all essentially mean the same thing) are the extremes in which we find ourselves when we are not in our functional adult self. These wounded or immature states come from growing up in a less than nurturing family system. During the workshop we map out these younger emotional states and begin to recognize and functionally intervene or re-parent them.

So, what does it take to live from your functional adult?

  • Work the Core Issues. Initially do this by focusing on the first two Core Issues and therefore by going to the Inherent Worth and the Boundary gym. That means through a daily practice of embracing your inherent worth (I’m enough and I matter”) and practice using boundaries.
  • Recognize when you are in a trauma reaction (younger immature state).
  • Re-parent yourself when you are in a trauma reaction. Remember, functional adult self re-parents by affirming, nurturing and setting limits.
  • Be accountable when you find you have had a boundary failure.
  • Continue to allow yourself to live in your body, identify emotions and practice releasing your emotions responsibly (acknowledge them, feel them and breath as you release them). Nurture yourself by allowing the emotions to surface and be released.
  • Keep loving yourself by having your back, allow vulnerability or protect yourself as appropriate, create and know your reality by using boundaries, be interdependent with others around what you need and want, take care of yourself and seek moderation in all things.

What this all means is you will take things less personally, live as though you matter the same amount as your loved ones (this prevents us from going one up and being offensive as much as it prepares us to take good care of ourselves), be accountable and less resentful. You will speak your truth in your relationships respectfully. You will set respectful limits on yourself and your old patterns rather than indulge them.

This is how we embrace our power, which comes from doing Family of Origin Trauma work. Once we understand the map of what we got, we can start intervening with a functional adult self and living more relationally in the present.