As a Life coach Stephanie M Hutchins empowers her clients with the knowledge that the fires from their past, traumas, did not destroy them, instead they provided the fuel for, post traumatic growth, and, transformation.
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Stephanie M. Hutchins, PhD, is the author of Transformation After Trauma: Embracing Post-Traumatic Growth, helps individuals overcome trauma and cope with stress. She is a Certified Life Coach, Stress Management Coach, Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner, and Yoga Instructor. She also owns Serotinous Life, a company that helps individuals overcome stressful and traumatic events.
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After being violated in my childhood by 8 different men and being told that it was my fault, even though at one time I was attacked from behind at knifepoint. I was able to get the knife away from my perpetrator and run away to safety. And then to top it all off, you know, once I finally found a man who tried to show me that I was deserving of love and respect. A week before we closed on the house, we were going to be moving into and start a long life together, I found him dead. And everything started to spiral out of control.
I know that place of, hopelessness, I know that place where you just can feel that life will never get any better, because I felt like that for a long time. And I spent many years of my life contemplating suicide because I just never thought that life could get any better. But it has. And so, I went from experiencing all of these intensely traumatic events through a huge span of my life to now having, completing my PhD. I’ve traveled around the world, I have many loving relationships, and I am now able to use, post traumatic growth, and what I’ve learned in my own healing journey to help others.
I often reflect, what if I would have put that bag over my head and say, I’ve been marked, by that, trauma, and now I’m forever tainted, and my life will never be any better. But the reality is, this is a very harsh world that we live in, and none of us would escape its wrath. we all will have some form of, post traumatic growth, we are not going to leave this earth untouched.
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Don’t let trauma ruin your life
Myrna: You are correct, you could be talking to somebody in their 80s or 90s, or 70s, or whatever, and they will still be crying and feeling the emotion of, trauma, that happened 30 or 40 years ago. And that’s because they haven’t dealt with it.
Every time it comes up, they probably stuff it down or whatever. And what you said, is correct. Why would you let that, trauma, ruin your life? Because when you’re in that place, and one of the things we know, as coaches, is that when you’re not blaming someone, when you’re having negative emotions or blaming somebody, you become a victim. We should all have, post traumatic growth.
When I wrote my book, Out of the Snares: A story of hope and encouragement, I coined the phrase, do not be a victim, be a player and play with the cards that you’ve been given. A whole bunch of bad things happened to you called, childhood trauma, and you used that, trauma, as for fuel for, post traumatic growth.
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Using Coping Mechanisms for post traumatic growth
Myrna: Now you also have said that when people experience, trauma, they develop negative, coping mechanisms, and you help them replace the negative, coping mechanisms, with positive, coping strategies. Can you give us example of replacing and negative, coping strategies, with a positive ones?
Stephanie: I guess first I would like to address, reframing, because I used, reframing, before I even knew it was a technique. The first thing I want to help them, reframe, how they look at their, coping mechanisms. There’s a lot of people very ashamed of their past, trauma, and don’t engage, post traumatic growth. They are ashamed of what they’ve done to survive. They used unquote, negative coping mechanisms, and instead of looking at them with shame and disgust, look at them with gratitude. For all the ways they kept you alive.
If these, coping mechanisms, give us even a moment relief from our pain or gives us a moment distraction from the past, from the memory of, ptsd, we hold on to these, negative coping mechanisms, like:
Coping Strategies for Post Traumatic Growth
Anyone who’s reading this, If you have any of these, coping strategies, I think the first thing you need to look at is understanding of how they’re serving you and release some of the shame and guilt you have for, coping. Because all these, negative coping mechanisms, like cutting yourself, overeating, drinking, sex, all these things what they do, they change the chemistry of our brain. Every single one of those activities release a whole host of feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain that light up our brain and make us feel good.
When we’re in pain re require a, reframe, for, post traumatic growth, to take place. It requires looking at that, trauma, differently and then understanding that even though that behavior may have served you up to this period of time and it’s been beneficial, it may no longer be serving you as well today.
People who stop using drugs and drinking alcohol, all turn to cigarettes and sugar. You are looking at yourself to stop the habit, you need to look at what are you gaining from it.
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Stephanie: So, there’s usually one of two things that are triggered by a desire to seek pleasure or avoid pain. I really encourage anyone who’s has habit of when you are triggered to engage in these habits, they are sensations that come up in your body is realizing that it triggers chemicals in the brain. Physical activity will elicit release a feel-good neurotransmitter. Laughing is amazing, I encourage people to do all the time.
Past trauma provide fuel for post traumatic growth
Myrna: I love this question that I have here. As a Life coach you empower your clients with the knowledge that the fires from their past did not destroy them, instead the provided the fuel for future growth and, transformation. How does, trauma, provide the fuel for, post traumatic growth?
Stephanie: I love, reframing, of our thoughts, but in order to move forward and not look at all of the devastation that was left behind from the fire of my past, I couldn’t move forward without, reframing, and focus. One of the very first things, I have my client do when we get to the, reframing.
I have different steps in my programming, to get to, post traumatic growth, when we get to the, reframing, stage the first thing that we always have to look at is, reframing, the, trauma, itself. Reframing, the meaning behind it, what it’s meant for your life. So instead of looking at what they lost from their, trauma, and what would no longer be; looking at what they gained from it. Depending on how recent the, trauma, was it might not be accessible to them in a month, but to think about what they’ve already gained.
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They have to be able to shift the narrative and the meaning behind the, trauma. You have to see what’s possible by listening to the stories of other people. And once I saw that it was possible for somebody else, I knew it was possible for me too. And as I kept listening to story after story, I understood how to use past trauma for, post traumatic growth.
Myrna: True, your story has no power if you keep it in yourself. You’ve got to share In however way you choose.
Stephanie: Yes it does help others and I think that each time we share either our own story it really starts to shift our story In our own mind and it releases its hold on you.
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Transformation after trauma
Myrna: This is a powerful interview, all right we get to the point now where we talk about your book It’s called “Transformation After Trauma: Embracing Post Traumatic Growth.” Why did you write the book and what do you hope people walk away with after reading?
Stephanie: My major mission was to give hope for, post traumatic growth. I felt that I was alone in this world so long that I just felt that’s something was terribly wrong for me to experience so much bitter pain. I felt so alone that nobody understood me and so in my book, I was very vulnerable about sharing my story and the, coping mechanisms, I used that used to bring me a lot of shame. So One of my one of my missions is to make people see and feel like they’re not alone by themselves with their suffering.
And so I not only share my story, but I also Important incorporated all the tools that I used through my healing journey. Particularly my self-care practices. And so it’s all about getting actionable tools to not only align with hope, to help them keep that glimmer of hope alive while they’re going through suffering but this book will help them build that belief along the way that it’s possible for them to emerge from the darkness and the pain even stronger than they were before.
Myrna: That is powerful. How can I listeners and readers connect with you and get a copy of your book?
Stephanie: Amazon has all three forms of the book, type in, transformation for trauma, and it’ll come up. My website is www.serotinouslife.com and you can connect with me on Facebook @serontinouslife
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