Yes, it doesn’t sound very exciting, but predictability and transparency are key to feeling safe.
The brain doesn’t like to have to guess what’s coming next, and if it has to, it can get pretty creative. By letting your client/patient know exactly what their procedure/treatment will involve before you begin, you are helping to orient both their mind and body to what is happening.
Once you begin it can be very useful to let them know exactly what you are doing, what will happen next and why you are doing it.
You can let them know that they can ask you to stop, slow down, make requests or ask any questions at any time.
For trauma survivors any time someone is doing something “to” them, it can feel frightening and triggering, possibly causing a fight, flight or freeze response in the nervous system.
It can feel hard for a trauma survivor to say “stop, this isnt working for me”. Having an invitation to say what isn’t working can be liberating and soothing. Creating a collaborative process allows the person to feel empowered and in control. This is key because feelings of powerlessness or helplessness are reminiscent of trauma.
Make it your motto “no surprises for trauma survivors”