Survivor Guidance: A Guided Path in your Recovery

Survivors can create the same beautiful life experiences, accomplishments and fulfilled dreams as others.

Yet sometimes, we get stuck in our traumatic world and can’t seem to find freedom.

Our particular journey is to find those places within us where we are holding ourselves back, where we are scared to let go of the old.

As we work with those places, we can allow our lives to become more than we expected or thought was possible.

Do you feel called to take the next step toward letting go of the past and creating your new life?

Is it time to take your therapy to the next level with a coach who can help you find where you are “stuck”?

Would you like to consult with a trauma survivor who has used her own awareness to thrive in life?

As a survivor, I understand how hard it is to step out of the darkness and bring light to the shadows that still haunt us. I can support you in practicing daily awareness techniques that are essential to reveal the belief systems that are holding you back.

Together we will create new strategies and solutions to take your life to the next level.

Here’s how it works:

Through detailed guidance tools and discussions, we will evaluate your current state of recovery, the places where you feel most affected by your trauma, and the areas you are most interested in sparking improvement. We will work to identify the old trauma patterns and the beliefs that create them. We will initiate an inner conversation to shift those patterns and beliefs for the future. We will also create a series of actions toward self-awareness that can help bring about recovery where it has appeared immovable in the past. Through these steps, we will work through the traumatic experiences that hold you back from the ultimate, peaceful self that is waiting to emerge.

Each guidance tool will include a guided Q&A session carefully crafted toward building your awareness through writing. In addition to the tools, we will consult once per week by phone or Skype to discuss and reflect on your response to the written guidance.

1)      We will clarify how your past trauma is impacting your current life.

2)      We will identify the traumatic patterns in your life.

3)      We will begin the conversation with your separated inner parts.

4)      We will build a process for emotional expression and information sharing.

5)      We will develop a series of actions for building awareness and releasing your trauma.

Are you ready to take the first steps toward guided awareness in your recovery process?

Contact me for a FREE preliminary call to discuss whether the sessions are right for you.


Why are you a life coach?

Even with a social work degree, I made the decision not to become a clinical therapist. I wanted to be a life coach. Why?

I didn’t want to be restricted in my approach. What does that mean?

I base my work with clients on my own healing process. My experiences deeply inform my work. This means I am personally familiar with the healing steps and what happens when we take them. My approach doesn’t perfectly fit in to any model used by clinicians today. That said, it does have many similarities to Internal Family Systems which I am grateful to see gaining popularity in clinical circles.

Clinical approaches tend to use labels for trauma responses, creating separation. My approach focuses on how our trauma can bring us together. I use my own stories of trauma and recovery to reduce the isolation and shame my clients often feel. This sharing, which is generally not accepted in the clinical world, is the basis for my work and fuels much of the success.

I often work with clients who are also working with therapists. Clients have found it very beneficial. I can help to uncover new aspects of the trauma through awareness building, informing therapy sessions in new ways. I refer to it as an acceleration program.


What is parts work?

When I discovered I experienced trauma, I became obsessed with healing. This obsession came from a few places. First, one of my responses to trauma was to develop an “all or nothing” personality. Second, I finally knew the source of my constant inner chaos and felt like I could make it stop somehow. In other words, I had hope. Third, I had a life to live, and I was ready to get started. I learned a tremendous amount in a short time. I researched everything I could find. It also helped that I was studying for my M.S.W. Books were easy to find. But even with all my reading, something was missing. The dots weren’t connecting. It all seemed too simplified, too “surfacey”.


But I didn’t give up. Gradually, I uncovered something that would change my life. While it was informed by various readings, it was never fully covered in any text I read. I recognized that the chatter in my head was not me. It was me, but it wasn’t. It was inner parts who held different experiences and emotions about the past. They each had a different take on life. And I had been attempting to ignore, even eradicate, almost all of them.


As I came to understand my parts, I realized they were manifesting my life. While they remained unconscious, their beliefs became my experience. It explained so much. I realized that my treatment of these parts was mirroring my external relationships. That was not good. But I also learned they weren’t trying to do me any harm. Even the meanest parts were attempting to help, based on the world they experienced. They were stuck in the past and attempting to keep me safe and loved using the only strategies they knew.


As I realized this, I also learned that I could help them. I could empower myself to heal them, teach them and partner with them to grow the entire family system out of the old traumatic cycles. At first, I hated all that responsibility. It felt like another thing I had to do because my parents failed. And that was true. But on the flip side, I could take responsibility for my own healing. I didn’t have to wait for a miracle or a savior any longer.


In my own life, the results have been phenomenal. I have stopped most of the chatter in my head (except for the bad days which still come). I have cleared up untreatable illnesses doctors told me would never go away. I have reduced my emotional responses to triggers from debilitating and intrusive to the occasional bad moment. As I have brought this to others, I have come to understand there are more commonalities than I thought. While we all have different parts, they tend to have similar desires and needs. And I have been able to help so many other survivors discover their own inner conversation.

Why does your program work?

It is individualized.

My one-on-one work is always tailored to the individual client. While there are commonalities in recovery, my program is based on where you are and what situation is currently causing you the most pain. I have learned that each client has a direction they need to go, even if they aren’t consciously aware of it. And a one-size-fits-all program won’t work for that. We will be guided by your parts to the next best step in your healing.


It promotes autonomy.

While I definitely have clients who work with me on an ongoing basis, my goal is to teach you tools and techniques which can be used anytime. When you understand my journaling techniques, you don’t have to wait for an appointment to process your traumatic responses and release the pain coming from the past. You will have the skills to take it on. You are not alone in your journey toward healing, but you are in charge.


It is empowering.

The most amazing aspect of parts work is how it moves you from the victim to the healer. Before parts work, all those thoughts and emotions were assumed to be yours. They felt like they were about the present moment. Once you start using parts work, you come to understand those emotions and thoughts belong to your parts who are stuck in the past. And you are the healer they are looking for. This is an empowering shift in mindset.


It reduces shame.

The main reason I became a life coach is to reduce shame through my interaction with clients. There is only one phrase that reduces shame more than “I believe you”. That phrase is “me too”. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t pretend to relate when I don’t. But even when our trauma is different, our response to it is incredibly similar. And the shame we hold from our trauma is powered by our isolation. It is in community that healing happens, whether that is a community of fifty people, or two people. 

My trauma and dissociation is severe. Can you help me?

My own trauma and dissociation has been severe. I have Dissociative Identity Disorder and used memory repression as a defense mechanism. I have struggled with severe anxiety most of my life. If anyone gets the struggles of intense traumatic response, I do. Severe symptoms do not eliminate inner parts awareness work. In many cases, it can be more helpful because the parts are louder and more active. It can also be helpful to diversify your approaches to recovery. Clinical therapy, life coaching and body work are viable options that can be used together.

I am not sure I have trauma. But I relate to everything you write. Can you help me?

Trauma is often touted as a severe occurrence or series of events, the kind of experiences that are reported in newspapers. But trauma doesn’t always look like that. I like to say that “trauma isn’t always drama”. Many people have traumatic responses to childhood experiences that would not be defined as trauma today. For example, conditional love is traumatic. It teaches us we can’t be who we are. The more conditional the love, the more likely we are repeating traumatic patterns through difficult or even violent adult relationships.


There another side to this too. We may not feel like we have trauma. We may not suffer from any visible or debilitating signs of trauma. We may be making our way through life with the low hum (or high hum) of anxiety buzzing under the surface. We may be looking to go from good to great, to find the beliefs holding us back in life. Inner parts work can help with all of this. And with less severe symptoms, it can often help in a shorter time frame.

There might be something I don’t remember. Can you help me with recovering memories?

If you feel like there is something you don’t remember, there is likely something you don’t remember. Why? Your defenses will try to tell you there is nothing to remember. Your family will tell you there is nothing to remember. Society will tell you there is nothing to remember. Even therapists will sometimes tell you it doesn’t help to remember. If you still feel like something has been repressed, your intuition is strong enough to be heard over those defenses. You need to listen to it.


I don’t recommend attempting to bypass your defenses to remember your past. This will usually cause you to forget again as your defenses take back over. When you work with your parts, you will begin to establish a conversation with them. They have the information you are missing. Once you convince your parts they are safe, they will begin to release information, including repressed memories. This process takes time, but I have not found a better approach. Short cuts don’t work.

I am not very good at writing. Will I be able to succeed at your program?

Your inner perfectionist might be concerned about writing. I understand. But this writing is different. I am not looking for grammatical and spelling perfection. This writing comes from the inner parts. It might come in single words, stream of consciousness or seemingly incoherent jumble. All of it is great. It is a window to your unconscious. Suspend your self-judgment long enough to give it a try. You might find a new passion in writing without editing.

I have a therapist already. Why should I work with you too?

While many therapists are wounded healers like me, many others are not. I am able to take this work to deep levels because I have been through my own deep recovery efforts. I know what to look for. I know how defenders will derail the process. I know how inner children manifest their needs. I can take you in a new direction which can inform your therapy visits in new ways. I have partnered with many therapists to create a very positive experience for my clients.

What are my options for working with you?

Contact me for a free preliminary call if you have further questions.


After years of self help and therapy, I by chance found Elisabeth’s blog. Immediately her work resonated with me. With a brave heart I embarked on her 5 week guidance program. It was the best decision I have ever made! I came further in my recovery in 5 weeks than I had in almost 4 months with a psychotherapist. The work was intense and so very rewarding. The accountability of weekly calls was a vital part of the program. Although there were weeks that my “inner defender” kept me from being productive, Elisabeth showed me that even those weeks were progress because I was able to identify why and what was holding me back. For me, meeting my inner child was truly life changing. This part of the program alone has helped me fall in love with the most important person in my life…ME. In my 42 years on this earth, I have never known how it feels to have empathy and love for all parts of me, especially the broken ones. If you are on the fence about trying the program, I implore you to do it. It is a journey into self discovery that could possibly change everything, as it did for me. Elisabeth will be the most gentle, caring and knowledgeable tour guide into the undiscovered parts of yourself. Amy Gupta

This ‘process’ needs to be taught to other therapists and counselors!! This needs to be offered everywhere and easily accessible to everyone! I just lucked upon this when I was scrolling through Facebook one day. So many people could be healed by this work. At its core is the principle that you have to Love Yourself (all the parts of yourself). Understanding the Inner Child and Inner Defender…that was amazing! It seemed to pull it all together for me. It explained a lot about the decisions that I’ve made as an adult….as well as the things that I’ve ignored/blocked. Joanie

I almost can’t believe how simple, tangible, and practical this process is that you have taught me. I know it will work for anything that comes up for me. I have easily continued to write from these parts, and it is fail-proof and productive. Most importantly, in addition to actually processing the trauma and the emotions, it gives me nearly instant separation from those parts, which allows self-love and acceptance to flow into those newly excavated spaces. You have changed my life. Kara Szymanski