Sunday, October 08, 1989

FLASHBACK Trauma signals the start of healing

FLASHBACK Trauma signals the start of healing
By Delia O'Hara
Chicago Sun Times - October 8, 1989


Not at all, says Lauriann Chutis, a social worker who is the director of consultation and education for Ravenswood Hospital Mental Health Center on the Northwest Side. The woman, whom Chutis saw when she came in to discuss her fear that she was having a breakdown, experienced a "flashback."
Chutis, whose counseling practice includes many people who were sexually abused as children, frequently hears of flashback experiences from her clients. One woman who had been abused by her alcoholic father would tense up whenever she heard her husband come in after working late. Her father had often abused her when he came home from a bout of drinking, and while she remembered the abuse in general, she had forgotten that as a child simply his coming into the house late at night was a signal that the abuse might begin.
A flashback is an incomplete but alarming remnant of a disturbing memory or feeling that is a normal, although often long-delayed, response to a distressing event. "Flashbacks are a way of letting you know it's time to heal," says; Lauriann Chutis, director of consultation and education at Ravenswood Hospital Mental Health Center.