This topic is about recovering in the moments after you are triggered. Recovery from trauma in a long-term sense is a much bigger topic.

In an ideal world we could prevent anyone ever crossing our boundaries and avoid all triggers. In the real world, boundary-crossing and triggering both happen, and the goal is to notice when they happen, respond with self-compassion and recover.

In this context, recovering means coming back to the client encounter, and taking appropriate action. The action you could take includes expressing your boundaries, asking for a short break, or ending or rescheduling the appointment.

Any time you need to recover from being triggered, you should make a note to raise the experience with your supervisor, or a team member, or your counsellor or external supervisor. It is an opportunity to receive care around the trauma you have experienced. It is also a chance to learn from the experience.

Boundaries and recovery

Recovery is closely related to boundaries. Sometimes triggers are accidental and unconscious. Sometimes clients and community members deliberately behave in triggering ways. As you recover from being triggered, you need to make a judgment. It isn’t necessarily ‘was the behaviour deliberate?’ The judgment is ‘can I safely continue if that behaviour happens again?’ If the answer is no, you might choose to express a boundary.

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