I have had many clients come into my office seeking treatment for symptoms and they are unaware of the origin of their onslaught.  Some of the common complaints might be, “I have been feeling overwhelmed and I have a lot of worry” or “I feel unmotivated and I can hardly get myself out of bed in the morning.”  There may be indications of anxiety disorder, panic attacks, and depression without the client having a name for it.  Some clients may be able to name their condition, but have little clarity about where it may be coming from.  If you’ve felt symptoms and are unsure where they are coming from it may be helpful to look at your own story.   It is my job as a therapist to help those seeking treatment to help uncover whether there is a history of childhood trauma that has not been explored, processed and healed.  Story Informed Trauma Therapy is an evidenced based treatment that can help heal childhood wounds and bring freedom to those that have experienced childhood trauma.

According to Byron Kehler, MA, and originator of the SITT model, there are holes and piles that many trauma survivors experience.  The holes can be unmet needs, and these are areas that we run toward and try to fill, such as a parent that is neglectful or emotionally absent.  Piles can be unresolved hurts, and what we run from and try to avoid, such as abuse.  Holes are painful deficits, and piles are painful events.  Some of the presenting concerns may include the following:

  • Fear or anxiety
  • Depression
  • Self-destructive thoughts and behaviors
  • Low self-esteem, shame, stigma
  • Physical and somatic symptoms
  • Sexual acting out
  • Interpersonal conflict
  • Social dysfunction
  • PTSD

“The problem is seldom the problem.” Byron Kehler, MA

Trauma can rock our worlds, and throw us off balance.  Many people with trauma history have a hard time identifying it due to the normalcy it has taken on in their lives, and it presents itself in intrusive ways when we have not dealt with it a way that brings healing.  It can be something that is tripped over time and time again when we put it under a rug, and hope it doesn’t reappear.  Our bodies demand closure, and completion of the trauma response, and we are constantly working toward resolution.  When the focus is on symptom reduction, and the underlying trauma is not resolved it can be ineffective.  This is where SITT comes into play.

Knowing our story can be transforming and freeing.  We either know, understand and accept our stories or out stories live us.  SITT is a 9 stage recovery model.  Each stage is designed to build on the previous stage, and end with closure.  Although this therapy can take some time to work through it is comprehensive and effective.  Some of the beginning stages include creating a genogram (a pictorial display of a person’s family relationships and medical history), as well as a timeline of events.  As the client is working through family and personal history the therapist is introducing tools such as grounding, affect regulation and cognitive therapy.  After a client has processed their history there is an emphasis on skill building and self-care.  By the conclusion of SITT a client will be able to:


Revisit the Trauma…

In order to

Understand the Lessons learned…

So they may

Evaluate their Accuracy and Relevancy for Today…


Connect them to Present Behaviors…

In an effort to

Let Go of Outdated Responses…

To instead

Replace the Old with New Skills…

To ultimately

Develop Healthier Ways of Thinking, Living, and Relating


Revisiting the Trauma…

In order to

Assess and Understand the Harm Experienced…

So they may

Evaluate the Losses Associated with the Hurt…


Reconnect to Feelings Past and Present…

In an effort to

Embrace the Pain, Feel the Anger of Violation, and Grieve…

To instead

Replace the Powerlessness and Fear of Victimization with Personal Empowerment…

To ultimately

Live with Joy and Vulnerability in a World of Potential Harm.

                                                                                                (Byron Kehler, 2011)

If you have experienced symptoms that have been present most of your life and you are not sure how they got there, it may be helpful to look into your story.  Understanding the impact of trauma in your life may be the key to unlocking the pain and find healing and freedom in your life.  There are several trained SITT and there is a road to recovery that can be bring hope and healing.  If you’d like more information on SITT you can visit http://www.byronkehler.com to learn more.

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