Trauma Workshops

Dr. Benson employs a workshop model with a treatment mindset.  Dr. Benson's approach to care is extremely unique and sets her and her practice apart from other programs.  Dr. Benson has over 20 years of experience helping clients heal from trauma. 

Workshops are limited to 6 individuals with a set beginning and end date.  Workshops are closed, meaning no new members will enter once we begin the process.  Workshops take place over an intensive 4 day, 12 hour day period, Friday-Monday.  This workshop takes place once a month and require at least three participants to begin a workshop.

Group Model:

  • Small, closed groups create a safe and secure environment for clients to open up and do the deep work necessary for healing.
  • Our milieu can consist of men and women ages 20 and up (with 18 and 19 year olds considered on a case-by-case basis). 
  • Each individual group is filled with diverse genders and ages.
  • While trauma “symptoms” and individual stories are unique, group members find that their underlying and unresolved pain is their commonality, creating a community of connection, empathy, and healing. 
  • Real and authentic healing is nurtured in this setting.

Clinical Model:

*Dr. Benson's Model has a unique program curriculum that was created out of both her professional training as well as her own work addressing family of origin and trauma.

*This workshop focuses primarily on unresolved trauma and family of origin issues through providing a space for experiential modalities to work.

*Dr. Benson has found that deep and authentic healing happens in a group setting where clients are ready, willing, and physically/emotionally able to dive deeply into rooted, unresolved trauma family systems work and attachment work.

*Dr. Benson employs multiple modalities of experiential therapy, she has found best help clients foster healthy connections with themselves through awareness and productive use of their physical sensations and emotions.

*The work you do in this workshop is geared toward growing and strengthening emotional intelligence.

Dr. Benson's workshop combines narrative therapy, experiential therapy, empty chair work, integrative work, cathartic/shame reduction work, inventory work, grief work and boundary building work.

Before we can truly address the core issues that plague us we MUST GET OUR STORY STRAIGHT FIRST

Experiences create stories.

Stories create our identity.

Sometimes, those stories have unwanted or unhelpful parts, affecting our identity, and thus our lives.  Narrative Therapy helps us separate our past experiences from our identity, allowing us to let go of those unwanted or unhelpful parts of ourselves.

Narrative Therapy is often very in-depth, which makes our environment of healing a perfect platform for its use.  We utilize Narrative Therapy at The Bridge in the following ways:

Writing Your Story

This process allows us to explore our story in detail.  Writing it down allows us to dig deep into our conscious and subconscious memory. We are able to:

  • Find our voice.
  • Identify the meaning.
  • Identify unwanted or problem parts of our story.

Un-Owning Our Story

Stories become our identity, even the unwanted parts.  With the help of our group process and trained clinicians, we can step back from our stories and:

  • Observe ourselves from a different perspective, putting space between ourselves and our story.
  • Open up our stories to change.
  • Let go of the unwanted and unhelpful parts of our story.
  • Break down our story into small, manageable parts to help identify problem areas, making it feel more approachable.

Becoming Un-Stuck in our Story

We can become stuck in our stories, which can feel very concrete and unchanging, making the problems and unwanted parts of those stories feel very concrete and unchangeable. Through the use of Narrative Therapy, we become un-stuck by:

  • Being able to accept that there may be alternative stories.
  • Improving our problem solving skills.
  • Challenging unhealthy patterns of thinking and behaving.
  • Allowing us to forgive and heal.
  • Find and use our voice for positive things.

Narrative Therapy has been found to be successful because it treats the client with respect and with a non-blaming focus.  It also allows clients to be an active participant in their own stories, leading to emotional wellness.

Gestalt Therapy Approach

While Gestalt theory may have been created three quarters of a century ago, its premise and approach have far reaching benefits.

According to Gestalt theory, a person cannot be fully understood without understanding the context of his or her experiences.  Gestalt Therapy, utilizing creative and experiential techniques enhances our awareness of our experiences

Relational Communication

Issues with someone in your immediate family system may be one that you need to address those issues with, but it is not healthy for you to do so directly.  This technique allows you to communicate those issues and emotions while still maintaining your healthy distance.

Communication Skills

It is common for our communication skills to be severely impacted by trauma for the following reasons:

  • Trauma keeps us in a state of fight or flight, causing us to communicate defensively at times when it is unhelpful.
  • We react and communicate based on our trapped emotions rather than methods that serve us in a healthy manner.
  • Our boundaries are violated and lost when we experience trauma, thus we learn to verbalize in a defensive manner rather than ask for what we need.

This technique helps us learn to verbalize and express our emotions, regain boundaries that were lost, and effectively communicate what we need(ed).  This is helpful for future communication skills.

Empty Chair Work can be antiquated, intimidating, and may even seem silly for some. However, at The Bridge to Recovery we continue to find that this tool is extremely beneficial when used in combination with other methods.  

Many clients report that participating in these types of exercises were some of their most impactful moments.

Empty Chair Work

When we experience trauma, it creates pain, and we carry that pain until we do something to expel it from our minds.  We cannot heal from the trauma if we are still carrying such pain.

Sometimes the person(s) responsible for, or involved in our trauma is not accessible for us to express these feelings to. This can occur for a number of reasons:

  • They are deceased.
  • You no longer have a relationship with them.
  • They cannot be located.
  • The relationship is so volatile that it would be unsafe to be around them.
  • Either party is unwilling to see the other.

This could be a major hurdle in our healing journey, however Empty Chair Work gives us the opportunity needed to identify, understand, and unburden ourselves of those emotions.

What is the Empty Chair technique?

This Gestalt technique is an exercise in which you share, express, and unburden a story, letter, or feelings as if you were talking directly to that person involved. 

This technique is beneficial in a number of ways, including:


We are able to physically express our anger, rage, hurt, fear, frustration, etc., in a safe way, without further fear of how the other person could/would react or behave.  


Emotions that develop from trauma are many, and this technique allows us to identify and understand what those are, including:

  • Anger
  • Rage
  • Fear
  • Sadness
  • Hurt
  • Frustration
  • Fatigue/Burden
  • Shame
  • Confusion
  • Emotional Paralyzation 

And much more.

Carrying these emotions with us throughout our life is toxic, causing us continued emotional stress and havoc.  This technique gives us a very beneficial outlet for expression.

Understanding Inventory




a complete list of items such as property, goods, or the contents

Many people have heard this term in the business world.  Taking inventory of something happens frequently.  It simply means to track the content of something: a store, a business, etc. 

The word inventory is also tossed around a lot in the behavioral health industry and nearly anyone with any type of recovery awareness has heard it be used.  But for those not familiar, it can be hard to understand how inventory has anything to do with recovery.

Taking a Personal Inventory

The premise that change only happens with the information that we can acknowledge gives way to the necessity of self-reflection.  Self-reflection is possible by taking a personal inventory of ourselves.  

A personal inventory means to make a list of our content – or, what makes us, us. This can happen in a number of ways, sometimes intertwined, sometimes inventoried individually:

Parts-of-Self Inventory

These are foundational parts of ourselves, such as:

  • Relationships
  • Emotional Security
  • Ambitions
  • Financial Security
  • Pride

And more.

Moral Inventory

These are reactions or feelings we have toward the things that make us, us (and thus, others as well).

  • Joy
  • Hope
  • Pride
  • Empathy
  • Happiness
  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Guilt
  • Shame

And so on.

Personality Inventory

These are examples of characteristic and behavior traits that describe us:

  • Loving
  • Kind
  • Punctual
  • Loyal
  • Assertive
  • Controlling
  • Mean
  • Discontent

And so on.

These are just a few examples of inventories we may participate in which benefits our emotional recovery efforts.  There are many more, and many more versions that utilize similar concepts in different ways.

The Benefits of Taking a Personal Inventory

When we experience trauma, it creates pain.  Pain then is part of our developmental makeup, and can become a component of who we are.  We must explore those parts of ourselves to understand them and subsequently change the unwanted parts. This is where doing a personal inventory can be helpful.

Without healing, life can become a repetitive state of learned negative thoughts, feelings, reactions, and behaviors.  

By taking a neutral look at the parts of ourselves that we become aware of through a personal inventory, change and healing can happen.

Dr. Benson utilizes the personal inventory approach in a number of ways to explore, assess, and amend destructive patterns of behavior.

Defining Grief

We often associate grief with death.  However, grief is more far-reaching, debilitating, and misunderstood than any one cause.

Grief is deep sorrow caused by a loss of someone/something we are bonded to.

Below are some expected & unexpected causes of loss that contribute to deep and profound grief:

Loss of Life

When we lose someone we are bonded with in any way, it causes us to experience grief and pain.  This may include:

  • Death of a loved one.
  • Death of someone impactful in our lives, which can include those we have not met, such as authors, the President (or other politicians), world leaders, celebrities, or other influential people.
  • Abandonment by a loved one.

Loss of Self

This occurs when we experience a trauma causing us to lose parts of who we are or what makes us, us.  This may include:

  • Divorce: we lose our identity as a wife or husband
  • Job Loss: we lose our professional identity that came with our job title
  • Illness: cancer and other illnesses can cause us to lose parts of ourselves physically which impacts our identity
  • Spiritual: changing or losing our spiritual affiliation can impact our spiritual identity

Loss of Safety

When we experience trauma, our safety is violated and our very core is shaken. This violation of our safety triggers a fight or flight response system that stays with us. This may include:

  • Physical Abuse
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Neglect or Abandonment
  • Worldly Violence, such as war
  • Human Rights Neglect, Violence, or Abuse
  • Relationship Abuse, such as infidelity

Loss of Hopes, Dreams, & Aspirations 

We all have dreams when we are little.  When things do not go as planned and we lose some of those, especially when due to experiencing a trauma, it is painful.  This may include:

  • Inability to have children.
  • Not becoming what we expected of ourselves professionally.
  • Not finding the partner we expected to.
  • Not being able to attend the school we hoped to, or be the student we expected ourselves to be.
  • Not being the athlete or reaching the level of play we hoped to.

Stages of Grief

One of the most common and widely accepted theories on grief was developed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, and suggests there are 5 stages of grief:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

  1. Whether you subscribe to the Kübler-Ross theory or one of the other theories on grief, we find it certain to ascertain that without processing any of the above types of grief, we are left in a state of unbalance.  Working through grief and finding healing from it is pertinent to restoring emotional b


Dr Kimberly Benson




8:00 am - 8:00 pm By Appointment Only


8:00 am - 8:00 pm By Appointment Only


8:00 am - 8:00 pm By Appointment Only


8:00 am - 8:00 pm By Appointment Only


8:00 am - 8:00 pm By Appointment Only





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