The value of revisiting trauma

The value of revisiting traumatic experiences is that it gives a person an opportunity to organize, make sense of, and gain clarity on past events. Many people who suffer from post-traumatic stress experience memories and associated events in ways that are intrusive and beyond personal control. This makes the memory itself something to avoid at all costs.

However, the benefit of revisiting memories and recalling traumatic events is to decrease fear that is associated with the remembering of the memory. When a person can remember the memory without shutting down, avoiding, or dissociating, the person can then begin the journey of grieving and meaning-making. The past becomes clearer- what actually happened, happened.  A person can begin to get their mind around it and talk about in a way that integrates self-experience in the context of space and time.

One way of getting through painful times includes valuing, spending time with, and paying attention to the people you care about. Sadness lets us know who matters and what matters. If we did not have sadness, we would not know what is important. Reality as it is cannot always be avoided, but the sustaining relationships we do have are worth investing in, paying attention to, and fostering.