Jun 06

Trauma Toolkit – 70+ tools for making life better

tool boxHere’s a list that can be used as a toolkit by trauma survivors. You may review it to learn, and remind yourself that these are inherent human rights. Any of these can be areas of challenge for trauma survivors. The list comes from the excellent book Complex PTSD: From surviving to thriving by Pete Walker. Amazon link. In the book the author, who’s a therapist, says that clients who printed out and carried this list with them for periodic review found it to be very helpful to their healing.

To greatly strengthen the effectivness of these tools, I suggest making the tool you’re working with a somatic (body-based) experience, rather than merely a thought. The way to do this is to take a moment to tap into the felt-sense that the tool evokes. For example, if you’re working with your ability to say no (tool #2 in the second list); imagine and drop into the felt-sense of this; the grounded, solid, and unmoving felt-sense of assertively saying “no”. This felt-sense may be weak at first, but with practice becomes stronger.

Let me know if you find these lists useful, or if I can help you. Click here to contact me.

Intentions for recovery

  1. I want to develop a more constantly loving and accepting relationship with myself.
  2. I want an increasing capacity for self-acceptance.
  3. I want to experience increasing connection to myself on all levels (Felt-sense / I added).
  4. I want to learn to become the best possible friend to myself.
  5. I want to attract, into my life, relationships that are based on love, respect, fairness and mutual support.
  6. I want to uncover a full, uninhibited self-expression.
  7. I want to attain the best possible physical health.
  8. I want to cultivate a balance of vitality and peace.
  9. I want to attract, to myself, loving friends and loving community.
  10. I want increasing freedom from toxic shame.
  11. I want increasing freedom from unnecessary fear and worry.
  12. I want rewarding and fulfilling work.
  13. I want a fair amount of peace of mind, spirit, soul and body.
  14. I want to increase my capacity to play and have fun.
  15. I want to make plenty of room for beauty and nature in my life.
  16. I want sufficient physical and monetary resources.
  17. I want a fair amount of help (self, human, or divine) to get what I need.
  18. I want God’s love, grace and blessing.
  19. I want a balance of work, rest and play.
  20. I want a balance of stability and change.
  21. I want a balance of loving interaction and healthy self-sufficiency.
  22. I want full emotional expression with a balance of laughter and tears.
  23. I want a sense of meaningfulness and fulfillment.
  24. I want to find effective and non-abusive ways to deal with anger.
  25. I want all this for each and every other being.


  1. I have the right to be treated with respect.
  2. I have the right to say no.
  3. I have the right to make mistakes.
  4. I have the right to reject unsolicited advice or feedback.
  5. I have the right to negotiate for change.
  6. I have the right to change my mind or my plans.
  7. I have a right to change my circumstances or course of action.
  8. I have the right to have my own feelings, beliefs, opinions, preferences, etc.
  9. I have the right to protest sarcasm, destructive criticism, or unfair treatment.
  10. I have a right to feel angry and to express it non-abusively.
  11. I have a right to refuse to take responsibility for anyone else’s problems.
  12. I have a right to refuse to take responsibility for anyone’s bad behavior.
  13. I have a right to feel ambivalent and to occasionally be inconsistent.
  14. I have a right to play, waste time and not always be productive.
  15. I have a right to occasionally be childlike and immature.
  16. I have a right to complain about life’s unfairness and injustices.
  17. I have a right to occasionally be irrational in safe ways.
  18. I have a right to seek healthy and mutually supportive relationships.
  19. I have a right to ask friends for a modicum of help and emotional support.
  20. I have a right to complain and verbally ventilate in moderation.
  21. I have a right to grow, evolve and prosper.
  22. I have a right to life and full aliveness!


  1. Normalize the inevitability of conflict & establish a safe forum for it.
  2. Discuss and agree to as many of these guidelines as seem useful.
  3. The goal is to inform and negotiate for change, not punish. Punishment destroys trust.
  4. Love can open the “ears” of the other’s heart.
  5. Imagine how it would be easiest to hear about your grievance from the other.
  6. Say it as it would be easiest for you to hear.
  7. Preface complaints with acknowledgement of the good of the other and your mutual relationship.
  8. No name-calling, sarcasm or character assassination.
  9. No analyzing the other or mind reading.
  10. No interrupting or filibustering Be dialogical.
  11. Give short, concise statements that allow the other to reflect back and paraphrase key points to let you hear that you are accurately being heard.
  12. No denial of the other’s rights as outlined in the Bill of Rights above.
  13. Differences are often not a matter of right or wrong; both people can be right, and merely different.
  14. Be willing to sometimes agree to differ. Avoid “you” statements. Use “I” statements that identify your feelings and your experience of what you perceive as unfair.
  15. One specific issue, with accompanying identifiable behavior, at a time.
  16. Ask yourself what hurts the most to try to find your key complaint.
  17. Stick to the issue until both persons feel fully heard.
  18. Take turns presenting issues.
  19. Present a complaint as lovingly and calmly as possible.
  20. Timeouts: If discussion becomes heated either person can call a timeout [one minute to 24 hours], as long as s/ he nominates a time to resume. {See 1 below}
  21. Discharge as much of any accumulated charge before hand as possible.
  22. Own responsibility for any accumulated charge in the anger that might come from not talking about it soon enough.
  23. Own responsibility for accumulated charge displaced from other hurts. {See 2 below}
  24. Commit to grow in your understanding of how much of your charge comes from childhood abuse/ neglect.
  25. Commit to recovering from the losses of childhood by effectively identifying, grieving, and reclaiming them.
  26. Apologize from an unashamed place.

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