Many trauma suffers struggle to trust themselves. Learning to trust one's intuition is often a sign of healing...
What is Intuition?
Intuition is a complex and often elusive cognitive phenomenon that involves the ability to understand or know something without the need for conscious reasoning or explicit evidence. It is a gut feeling, an instinctive sense, or an inner understanding that emerges without the use of deliberate thought processes. Intuition can manifest in various forms, such as hunches, insights, or quick decisions that seem to arise from a deep well of unconscious knowledge and experiences. While it is not infallible, intuition can serve as a valuable tool for problem-solving, decision-making, and creativity.
Intuition is Hard To Trust For Trauma Survivors
As a trauma therapist in Oakland, CA, I see clients struggle with intuition. Clients can have a difficult time settling on one stance, making changes, feeling secure in who they are, or speaking up. If you have experienced trauma, you may resonate with a similar experience to one of the below:
Hypervigilence. Trauma often involves experiences that shatter one's sense of safety and security. This can lead to heightened vigilance, hypervigilance, and a constant state of alertness, making it difficult to relax and trust any internal feelings or instincts, including intuition. Trusting one's gut may feel risky for individuals who have experienced traumatic events, as they may constantly be on guard for potential threats. This heightened state of alertness can lead to increased doubt and second-guessing of their intuition. They may struggle to differentiate between genuine intuitive feeling.
Dissociation and Dysregulation. Trauma can lead to a disconnection from one's own body and emotions as a way to cope with overwhelming experiences. This disconnection can make it challenging to access and trust one's intuition, as it requires a certain level of self-awareness and emotional connection. Trauma can result in difficulties with emotional regulation, making it challenging for individuals to discern between genuine intuitive feelings and overwhelming emotional reactions. They may struggle to trust their emotions and, by extension, their intuition. Dysregulation lead to cognitive distortions such as negative self-beliefs and self-doubt. These distortions can lead to skepticism about one's own abilities, including the ability to intuitively understand situations or people.
Healing Trauma Leads to Building Intuition
Overcoming these challenges may require a combination of therapy, self-awareness, and self-compassion. Therapy can help individuals process and heal from trauma, develop a greater sense of safety, and rebuild trust in themselves, including their intuition.
Trauma and Intuition
***Resources are not a substitute for therapy and are not intended for making diagnoses or providing treatment. Not all practices and tools are suitable for every person. Please discuss exercises, practices, and tools with your individual therapist or health care provider.