Breaking the Bad Trance:

Main Points in Working with Couples in which One of the Partners has been Traumatized

1. People who have been abused often get triggered into a "bad"/symptomatic state that is like a trance. They go on automatic and lose contact with their resources, often feeling dissociated or acting in a dissociated, incongruent manner.


2. Couples often get into patterns of communication and interaction which trigger off each others' bad trance. Typical patterns are communications that blame, invalidate, close down possibilities, vague/ambiguous language or interactions that are repetitive and negative.


3. There are three main ways of helping couples avoid getting into bad trances together:


Help them use "videotalk" and stop trying to analyze, change or fix each others' insides


Change patterns of actions between the two of them


Use externalization to change the relationship of the couple to the problems/symptoms and avoid self-blaming or other blaming


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