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Areas of Expertise

The Niagara Centre for Healing & Recovery offers progressive support for complex issues ensuring a client-centred approach to therapy.

Complex Trauma

What designates a person’s trauma history as complex? No trauma experience is “easy” or “simple,” but this term refers to prolonged, repeated experiences in interpersonal relationships lasting over time. Usually originating in childhood and compounded by continued stress, these events are often difficult to escape from and can include minimization or denial from the primary support system. Because the brain is still developing in childhood and adolescence, this can lead to greater difficulty coping in relationships and can include:

  •  Dissociation

  • Somatization

  • Ingrained coping styles

The nervous system (which remembers everything that has ever happened to you) can be in a constant state of flight/fight/freeze/fawn or make it extremely difficult to relax.  In early recovery, treating these issues is imperative to help reduce the risk of relapse, but it also requires an abundance of caution to ensure the client is ready and has the tools to handle such treatment as their body adjusts to newfound sobriety. Treating complex trauma also requires specialized training to ensure safety, the best treatment, and appropriately address potential roadblocks. 

Betrayal Trauma

Betrayal trauma is a psychological phenomenon that occurs when someone experiences deep emotional pain and distress as a result of betrayal by a trusted individual. This betrayal can take various forms, such as infidelity in a romantic relationship, deception or secretive sexual behaviour, including psychological abuse.

Here's an explanation of its impact and some of its characteristics:

  • Trust Issues: Betrayal trauma can shatter one's trust in others. It creates a sense of vulnerability and skepticism towards future relationships or situations where trust is required.

  • Impact on Self-Worth: Betrayal often leads to a profound sense of worthlessness and self-doubt. Victims may blame themselves for the betrayal, questioning their own judgment and worthiness.

  • Physical Health Effects: Betrayal trauma can also manifest in physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach problems, and insomnia. The stress of the betrayal can take a toll on one's physical well-being.

  • Psychological Consequences: In severe cases, betrayal trauma can lead to conditions such as depression, anxiety disorders, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These psychological consequences may require professional intervention and therapy to address.

  • Long-Term Impact: The effects of betrayal trauma can linger long after the initial betrayal occurs. Without proper support and intervention, individuals may carry the emotional scars of betrayal for years, impacting their overall quality of life and well-being.

Overall, betrayal trauma is a complex and deeply distressing experience that can have profound effects on an individual's mental, emotional, and physical health. It's important for those who have experienced betrayal to seek support from trusted friends, family members, or mental health professionals to cope with the aftermath and work towards healing.

Sexual Recovery

Sex addiction is a very painful struggle that can manifest itself in a number of paraphilic (unconventional sexual behaviours which are obsessive and compulsive) and non-paraphilic (conventional sexual behaviours that, when taken to an extreme, are recurrent, distressing, and interfere in daily functioning) ways. These include, but are not limited to, the following struggles:

  • Compulsive masturbation

  • Indulging in pornography 

  • Having chronic affairs

  • Dangerous sexual practices

  • Prostitution

  • Compulsive anonymous or casual sex

  • Compulsive sexual episodes

  • Cybersex addiction

  • Sexual Anorexia

Love addiction, is described as one person “loving” another person with an obsessive intensity that is not in the best interest of either party. Love addicts tend to become involved in brief, intense romantic relationships. If they are involved in a long-term relationship, it is usually characterized by many highs and lows. In some cases, love addicts completely withdraw from romantic or sexual relationships to avoid feelings of vulnerability.

Formal Sexual Disclosures

Formal sexual disclosures typically occur in the context of therapy or counselling following the discovery or disclosure of infidelity or sexual betrayal within a relationship. These disclosures involve the partner in sexual recovery revealing specific details about their problematic sexual behaviours to their betrayed partner in a structured and intentional manner. The purpose of these disclosures is to facilitate understanding, promote healing, and rebuild trust within the relationship.

Here's a detailed explanation of formal sexual disclosures for betrayed partners:

  • Structured Process: Formal sexual disclosures are conducted within a structured framework, often guided by a therapist trained in treating infidelity and relationship issues. 

  • Transparency and Honesty: The partner in sexual recovery is encouraged to be transparent and honest about their past sexual behaviours, including details such as the nature and extent of their sexual acting out, the duration of the affair(s), the frequency of sexual encounters, and any other relevant information. 

  • Managing Trauma and Emotions: Betrayed partners may experience intense emotional reactions, such as anger, sadness, shock, or disbelief, upon hearing details of their partner's infidelity. The therapist helps them navigate these emotions, validating their experiences and providing coping strategies to manage distress.

  • Rebuilding Trust: Formal sexual disclosures are a crucial step in rebuilding trust within the relationship. 

  • Setting Boundaries: Both partners may need to establish boundaries around communication and disclosure to ensure that the process remains manageable and respectful. 

  • Moving Forward: Both partners actively participate in the healing and rebuilding process.

Overall, formal sexual disclosures aid in the individual healing of the partner in sexual recovery and the partner experiencing betrayal, forging hope in a new relationship dynamic.

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