Aphantasia and trauma

DiscussionsCategory: QuestionsAphantasia and trauma
Hope LagadenHope Lagaden asked 1 month ago

I have experienced a miriad of sexual and emotional trauma throughout my childhood and adult life. This has created some unique self preservation habits that no longer serve me. In an attempt to seek professional help, i am often frustrated at the process, as being Aphantasic, my trauma looks very different. I can describe events with relitive ease, as i am unable to "relive them". in my ease with describing events professionals often comment on how "introspective and self aware" i am and then the sessions end but i havent dealt with anything and im in the same place i started, but $200 out of pocket. Has anyone else struggled with this? Has anyone found any solutions

2 Answers
Rachel CicconeRachel C answered 1 month ago

Therapy takes a lot more than just one session to start to really work. However, I know how you feel. I went to therapy myself a few years ago and felt like I was in the same place too. I was younger, though, and didn’t realize I was aphantasic at the time, so it was difficult to even remember instances of trauma to talk about. I couldn’t see them. I specifically went to therapy for cognital behavioural theory, and realized maybe a year and a half into it that I hated it. I didn’t get it, and never went back. However, now that I’m looking back on it, I realize I hated it because of not being able to visualize, especially because I also can’t hear my internal voice. Doing CBT on the fly was difficult for me because I’d loose my train of thought incredibly quickly, so I reaized that CBT was not for me.

It’s possible that you need more time, but also if you don’t feel satisfied with the person you’re talking too, it’s totally okay to look for a new therapist that works for you. A lot of people go through many therapists before finding one that works for them. Telling them that you have aphantasia can be effective, but you don’t need to tell them if you don’t want to. I did once to another therapist and it didn’t go well, so I dunno. It depends.

A side note with that therapist: She told me "People don’t ACTUALLY visualize" and I looked at her like "…what?" But then she refused to take my offer in looking more into aphantasia. It was bizzare, to say the least.

Shelagh McNallyShelagh McNally answered 1 month ago

I’m 62 years old and just discovered I have aphantasia. I had a traumatic childhood and did a ton of therapy ranging from primal, gestalt, re-parenting, talk therapy, reiki, body work and bio-feedback. I could never visualize the trauma. I didn’t have specific incidents or images to deal with. The way into my healing was through feeling the emotions whether it was from event in the present that were triggering old feelings or the emotions held in my body. I found some great therapists along the way and a few shitty ones. The first thing to do is find a therapist you connect with and feel safe with. The second thing is to let it happen on its own time and not feel like you are a failure if it’s not happening immediately. Healing takes times and sometimes when stuff is happening, it can feel like nothing is moving at all. One great thing about having aphantasia is that you let go of the trauma quicker and more permnanently. Just keep being kind to yourself.

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