Healing From Trauma Together As A Couple

Unresolved trauma sabotages relationships. Its effects can keep interfering long after the trauma has passed.

In particular, when one or both partners of a couple have or have had present or past trauma, they can struggle to heal as their traumatic experiences become enmeshed and intertwined.

However, if couples seek help together, they can heal in parallel and become stronger for each other and themselves.

Hi, I’m Sandy Waite, a therapist at Syrona Counseling Retreats. In this article, I’ll share how to identify trauma and talk about how a counseling retreat can provide a safe, powerful, and productive way for couples to face their traumas and begin the healing process together.


Here are 4 signs of potential trauma effects in relationships:

First, Excessive yelling or screaming, feelings of rage, slamming doors, and/or leaving the house

The second sign of trauma effects in relationships is Not talking for days, isolating from friends and family, or not allowing for relationship repair.

Third, Engaging in acts of punitive punishment like being cruel or breaking promises, staying away from home, tit-for-tat retaliation, and hostile communication – all could be signs of trauma.

The fourth sign of potential trauma effects in relationships is using sex as a bargaining chip.

    Trauma doesn’t always announce itself, but there are signs we therapists notice and pay attention to, as they can be a sign that there is unresolved trauma getting activated.


    4 common examples of past or present events that can activate trauma in a couple’s relationship:

    First, a history of childhood abuse or neglect.

    Second, Relationship ruptures, such as emotional or physical infidelity.

    Third, Previous bad relationships.

    Finally, significant events such as job loss, illness, or loss of a significant family member or friend.


    Most couples don’t realize how trauma is impacting their relationship on a day to day level.

    They know they are having conflict, and possibly a lot of drama in their relationship, but they don’t know they are up against emotional reactions that are more often “triggers”, and thus don’t respond well to logical or rational approaches to solving the issues.

    Here at Syrona, we take a step-by-step approach to working with couples dealing with trauma:

    Step 1:

    Complete The Timeline: We have each member of the couple do a “life review”. This gives us a roadmap of what the trauma is, and how each partner “defends” against the trauma.


    Step 2:

    Do The Work: As trauma-trained therapists, we then do the individual “work” needed to help each partner identify, stabilize, and manage their trauma triggers and reactivity.


    Step 3:

    The Practice: We then guide the couple as they practice keeping their integrated, “adult” mind activated while working out the issues that have brought them into therapy.


    So, if your relationship is in distress, don’t wait to get help. Relationship problems on “rinse and repeat” only builds resentment and loss of hope.

    Time does not heal all wounds. Sometimes it hardens them. And when couples do their work together, their healing can accelerate and their relationship bond often gets stronger.

    If you’re wanting to work on your issues and be a support to each other, schedule a couples retreat today. I look forward to working with you.


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