Trauma Anonymous is a program for anyone affected by an experience or experiences they believe causes them continuing distress (sometimes referred to as “post-traumatic stress disorder” or “PTSD”). It encompasses histories like combat, rape and childhood sex abuse but is not limited to them; we welcome those who feel their experience may sound trivial or “not traumatic enough”. We have no minimum for severity or lethality nor is a formal diagnosis from a mental health professional required, the only criteria for membership is the desire to recover from an event or events perceived as overwhelming.
We recognize simple, partial, and chronic or complex PTSD. We do not to use the word “survivor” in the group’s name (although it is ok for members to self-identify as such) because some of us may feel that a part of us did not survive the trauma. We welcome friends and family of those with PTSD but ask that they not share until all others have had a chance to do so.
Unlike most Twelve Step groups we do not make reference to a higher power. This is because for some of us our traumatic history occurred in the context of someone misusing power over us, making the very idea of a higher power potentially triggering. We also do not use the disease model of addiction as done in Alcoholics Anonymous–while many of us may feel unwell, sometimes radically so, and also have physiological symptoms, we recognize that these are normal responses to highly abnormal stressors.
We encourage members to create a recovery network beyond just this group. For some of us this may include but not be limited to psychotherapy; if this path is pursued we advise finding someone with trauma-specific training. For those who have misgivings about how a Twelve-Step model gets applied to PTSD we have some printed literature on this and other topics available from the literature person for a small fee; some of the readings are also available online at no charge.