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Journey to Wholeness: Holistic Strategies for Processing Childhood Trauma, 10 Shadow Work Questions

Trigger Warning: This article discusses childhood SA and the emotional trauma associated with it. Reader discretion is advised.

In our society, there are few traumas as intensely profound and deeply scarring as childhood SA. For many, the wounds inflicted by such experiences are carried silently, often buried beneath layers of coping mechanisms and defense strategies. On my personal path towards wholeness, my trauma of childhood SA remained unprocessed until well into my 30s. However, through a committed and courageous journey of healing, I utilized thoroughly researched holistic methods to address the emotional trauma, depression, and anxiety that were exacerbated by the painful events of my past.

The “Male” Stigma

While all survivors of SA face stigma and societal misconceptions, male survivors often grapple with an additional layer of prejudice. The deeply entrenched societal narrative suggests that men should be "strong" and not vulnerable, making it challenging for many male survivors to come forward and share their experiences. This bias can also compound the feelings of guilt, shame, and isolation that many male survivors already feel.

The SA Myth of Transgender Individuals

There's a baseless myth that childhood SA can cause someone to transition genders. This claim is not only erroneous but also damaging, reinforcing societal prejudices and misunderstanding about transgender individuals. Being transgender is an intrinsic part of one's identity, not a byproduct of trauma. SA doesn't influence gender identity any more than it influences someone's eye color or height.

Shadow Work and Holistic Healing

Among the many holistic methods I employed to process my trauma, shadow work stood out prominently. The premise of shadow work is confronting and understanding the darker, suppressed parts of our psyche, bringing them to light so they can be addressed and healed.

Healing from childhood trauma is not about forgetting, but about remembering with a newfound perspective and compassion for oneself.

Here are 10 starting questions for individuals delving into shadow work to process traumas (Please proceed with extreme caution. As a professional mental health expert, I can attest that shadow work for deep seated trauma is not to be taken lightly as it can cause one to vividly relive the very traumas they are attempting to process. It helps to have a trusted support figure present or on standby.)

1. What memories or experiences do I find most painful to recall?

2. Are there certain emotions or feelings I consistently avoid or suppress?

3. How do I react when confronted with situations or people that remind me of my trauma?

4. What defense mechanisms or coping strategies have I developed in response to my trauma?

5. How has my trauma influenced my relationships, both with others and with myself?

6. What beliefs or narratives have I internalized as a result of my experiences?

7. Are there parts of myself that I have rejected or disowned because of my trauma?

8. What would healing look like for me?

9. How do my body and emotions respond when I discuss or think about my trauma?

10. What support systems or resources do I need to help me process and heal?

Resources for Healing

For those who are ready to begin the journey of processing childhood trauma, it is crucial to access the appropriate resources. Professionals such as myself are ready and able to offer guidance and support, helping individuals navigate the intricate maze of emotions and memories associated with such traumas.

When processing childhood trauma, it's helpful to surround yourself with support – whether it's family, friends, or professionals. You don't have to face your past alone. Please be encouraged to reach out to organizations and therapists specializing in trauma recovery. Support groups, individual therapy, and holistic healing methods can all be beneficial. Remember, healing is a journey, not a destination, and seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Knowing one’s limitations is empowering as it denotes self-awareness, strategic growth, and the ability to be vulnerable in a healthy manner.

Every individual's journey of healing and recovery is unique. I hope that my story can offer some hope and insight for many who may be grappling with similar experiences. With the right tools, methods, and support, healing is possible. Please see helpful organizations below.


The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation (BLHF):

Founded by actress Taraji P. Henson, the BLHF is dedicated to changing the perception of mental illness in the African American community. They provide resources, support, and advocacy for African Americans seeking mental health services and aim to eradicate the stigma associated with mental health issues.

Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective (BEAM):

BEAM is a training, movement building, and grant-making organization dedicated to the healing, wellness, and liberation of Black and marginalized communities. They work to create safe spaces for dialogue, education, and strategy development for Black communities.

The Trevor Project:

Description: The Trevor Project provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth under the age of 25. They offer a range of resources and support options, including a 24/7 hotline.

Phone: 1-866-488-7386 (24/7 Lifeline)

Text: Text "START" to 678-678

The National LGBTQ Task Force:

Description: The National LGBTQ Task Force works to advance full freedom, justice, and equality for LGBTQ people. While their focus is broader than just mental health, they have resources and links to services that can assist those dealing with trauma.

Phone: 202-393-5177

The Montrose Center

Description: The Montrose Center is dedicated to empowering primarily the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community and their families in the Houston area to enjoy healthier and more fulfilling lives.

Address: 401 Branard St., Houston, TX 77006

Phone: 713-529-0037

Crisis Helpline (24/7): 713-529-3211

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