Kate Tempest, Hold Your Own


Alone Together and Together Alone

all things trauma spectrum

if diagnoses are your thing: PTSD & CPTSD, Anxiety & Depression

Identities & Transitions

Movers and Shakers: Refugees, Migrants, Artists, Activists


Psychological trauma are wounds that cannot be easily seen from the outside. Experiences in life that mark us, often leaving us scarred and forever changed.

We were shot. We could have died. Should we have died? Some bullets go clean through. Others remain trapped inside. There is blood loss. Infection develops. We try everything we can to treat our pain and clean these wounds in secret. But the bullet inside needs to be removed. We need surgery.

And for most, the shots just keep coming. There are bullets trapped deep inside our guts, our limbs. We are in pain, trying not to show it. Walking without limping, but silently wincing.

But others see it. They try to get close, but their contact, their prodding and poking, is painful. It reopens the wounds.
So we human animals try to hide our wounds, carrying on as though nothing happened. The pain comes in and out, dull and aching to sharp and stabbing, but always there. Or in quiet moments, those memories come flooding back uninvited. What starts as a few drops abruptly switches to a floodgate that cannot seem to be closed. It is easier to just never turn on the faucet.

We numb ourselves. We try to numb out. We try to feel good. To feel happy. To have fun. Why does it seems so easy to the others? Vacillating between numb powerlessness and manic performance, our power fades gradually over time. Slowly the performance becomes impossible. We forget our script and our stage makeup begins to smear, revealing the actor under the act.

But there is infection. We grow hot with fever, our memory is cloudy. Disoriented in time and space, we feel our hearts race and our skin soak with sweat. We tremble and quiver. We are afraid but do not have the words to explain the fear. We long for connection but grow more disconnected. We believe something is wrong with us. We believe we have no future. The world is better without us.


The operation

First we have to operate. Remove the bullets one by one. The surgery is risky and painful. The cleaning and suturing burn and sting more than the original injuries. You have to trust that your counselor is an experienced and qualified surgeon who has done this procedure hundreds of times before. It will hurt, but you will heal and be more whole afterwards.

The operation at Cologne Counseling is Narrative Exposure Therapy. We examine every bullet. We organize them and you tell the tale of how each one hit you. I write transcribe your story. You have a book of your story to do with as you please. Store on your library shelf for future reference. Burn and start over. You decide.

The recovery

The bullets have been removed. The wounds have been cleaned and sutured and bandaged. Now is a time of rest and healing.

The Narrative has been collected. You are now sitting in control of what happened to you. You are getting stronger every day. You mind clears and you feel your power coming back. Slowly your creative energy begins to surge. You feel ready to run, but first you need to relearn how to walk.

The rehabilitation

In this phase we work together to piece together all the other parts of your story that were not classically traumatic. The characters in your story, how they interacted, what they taught you, what you learned. Who you loved, who you hated. Who you hurt, who hurt you. What patterns do you see? What patterns do you want to never see again? You are now getting to the stage of starting the process of being like the others who were not injured as often or as deeply as you. You reflect on your past and slowly start imagining a new future.

The reintegration

You feel a relatively confident mastery over your past. You feel stable in your present. You want to make goals. You want to connect with others. You want to focus on happiness, joy and fun. We work together to draw up the life you want and how to achieve that. Any time you feel yourself sliding back into older, damaged paradigms of thinking, we work together to challenge them and push forward.