Last week on Celebrity Rehab, you saw me have a very intense session with Janice Dickinson. (You can see a short clip at http://www.vh1.com/video/misc/606920/janice-dickinson-talks-to-a-therapist.jhtml#id=1654325.) Janice is coming unraveled, and very small things are setting her off in a big way. What’s going on here?
Janice was subjected to terrible neglect and physical, sexual and emotional abuse when she was growing up. Now she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. When her peers, especially Rachel, Jason and Eric, taunt her or criticize her behavior, she relives her childhood trauma all over again. She is reacting from her hurt little child, not from the adult she is today. That’s why her reactions seem so out of proportion to the provocations.
My work with her is to help heal old wounds, discharge energy that has been blocked in her body by her trauma and rage, and give her a new set of tools to ground herself and cope with any provocation in a more appropriate way.
To work with Janice, I’m using a form of therapy known as Somatic Experiencing that’s specifically aimed at relieving and resolving the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. It works by focusing on how the client feels, physically, when they are aroused. We know that whenever we experience trauma, our body has certain physical reactions. Unfortunately, if the trauma is extreme or repeated, then later on in our lives these extreme physical reactions kick in even when we experience relatively mild stress. In other words, our bodies overreact and tell us we’re under attack.
Somatic Experiencing therapy works to release that physical tension and then make the client aware of it as it happens, so they can better control it.
The good news for Janice is that as she has more sobriety and healing from past trauma, her relationships will heal, she will feel heard, and she will no longer need to act out. She will feel solid in her own skin and others will have less of an impact on her.
Sherry Gaba, LCSW, is a Psychotherapist and Life Coach in Agoura, CA and is the go to Psychotherapist and Life Coach on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew Pinsky and author of “The Law of Sobriety: Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery”. She can be reached at [email protected] for speaking engagements, upcoming teleseminars, psychotherapy, life coaching. You can also find her blogging on BeliefNet.com and TheLawofSobriety.com. agoura hills psychotherapy, westlake village psychotherapy, thousand oaks psychotherapy, malibu psychotherapy, calabasas psychotherapy, adolescent psychotherapy, marriage and family therapy.