One of the most important skills for survivors to learn is how to soothe
themselves emotionally. Most survivors never learn to self-soothe in childhood because parents who abuse are also often poor at soothing themselves and, consequently, at teaching their children to self-soothe. However, it is essential to your recovery that you develop some capacity for self-soothing early on in your recovery journey. You will need this skill as you proceed through the various stages of recovery.
Soothing is what good parents do when their children are upset. It often
involves soothing touch that is warm and comforting. It can involve words that are reassuring, empathic and hopeful. It may involve activities that are physically, intellectually or sensorially nourishing, such as taking a walk, reading a favorite book or sharing a special meal. It can also involve daily practices that are spiritually uplifting and inspiring, such as meditation. When you can perform this type of caring for yourself whatever your chosen activities may be then you have learned to self-soothe.
You probably have you own list of self-soothing strategies. Some may be
healthier than others. You will need to evaluate how you soothe yourself, so you can retain the healthy practices and try to eliminate or control the less healthy ones. Then you will need to add some new strategies that can provide extra comfort during your most emotionally challenging times in recovery.
Print and use the worksheet on page 32 to help with this process.
Survivor to Thriver, Page 31
© 2007 THE MORRIS CENTER, Revised 11/06