Thursday, June 01, 1995

A Recovery Bill of Rights for Trauma Survivors

A Recovery Bill of Rights for Trauma Survivors
© (1995) Thomas V. Maguire, Ph.D.

As a matter of personal Authority, you have the right 
  1. to manage your life according to your own values and judgment.
  2. to direct your recovery, answerable to no one for your goals,
  3. to gather information to make intelligent decisions about
  4. your recovery. . . . . to seek help from a variety of sources, unhindered by demands for exclusivity.
  5. to decline help from anyone without having to justify the decision.
  6. to have faith in your powers of self-restoration and to seek allies who share that faith
  7. to trust allies in healing as much as any adult can trust another, but no more
  8. to be afraid and to avoid what frightens you
  9. to decide for yourself whether, when, and where to confront your fear.
  10. to learn by experimenting, that is, to make mistakes.
  11. For the preservation of personal Boundaries, you have the right
  12. to be touched only with your permission, and only in ways that are comfortable.
  13. to choose to speak or remain silent, about any topic and at any moment
  14. to choose to accept or decline feedback, suggestions, or interpretations
  15. to ask for help in healing, without having to accept help with work, play, or love. challenge any crossing of your boundaries.
  16. to take appropriate action to end any trespass that does not cease when challenged.
  17. In the sphere of personal Communication, you have the right
  18. to ask for explanation of communications you do not understand.
  19. to express a contrary view when you do understand and you disagree.
  20. to acknowledge your feelings, without having to justify them as assertions of fact or actions affecting others.
  21. to ask for changes when your needs are not being met
  22. to speak of your experience, with respect for your doubts and uncertainties.
  23. to resolve doubt without deferring to the views or wishes of anyone.
  24. Specific to the Domain of Psychotherapy, you have the right
  25. to hire a therapist or counselor as coach, not boss, of your recovery. receive expert and faithful assistance in healing from your therapist. be assured that your therapist will refuse to engage in any other relationship with you (business, social, or sexual) for life
  26. to be secure against revelation of anything you have disclosed to your therapist, unless a court of law commands it.
  27. to have your therapist's undivided loyalty in relation to any and all perpetrators, abusers, or oppressors.
  28. to receive informative answers to questions about your condition, your hopes for recovery, the goals and methods of treatment, and your therapist's qualifications. have a strong interest by your therapist in your safety, with a readiness to use all lawful means to neutralize an imminent threat to your life or that of someone else
  29. to have your therapist's commitment to you not depend on your "good behavior", unless criminal activity or ongoing threats to safety are involved
  30. to know reliably the times of sessions and of your therapist's availability ,including, if you so desire, a commitment to work together for a set term.
  31. to telephone your therapist between scheduled sessions, in urgent need, and have the call returned within a reasonable time. be taught skills that lessen the risk of retraumatization: (a) containment (reliable temporal/spatial boundaries for recovery work); (b) control of attention and imagery (through trance or other techniques); (c) systematic relaxation
  32. to reasonable physical comfort during sessions

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