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Welcome to the Mind Campus Online Trauma Resourcing Course

Session 2

Please complete Session 1 and review the PTSD Symptoms section before starting this session. 

Welcome to your second OTR session. We’re really glad you’re here and using this resource in your trauma recovery. We would like to encourage you to work through all the sessions, even if you find resistance to some of the assignments. Resistance one of the effects of trauma and can defeat us in our recovery.

We suggest that you complete a session each week for six weeks. If you can, set aside a two-hour window on the same day each week to do this work. We know that schedules change and life happens. The important thing is not to rush this process and not to stop either! This is your time, your space and your recovery.

During this session, as well as tasks completed during the session, you will receive worksheets to be completed between this session and session 3. Completing these is important to your recovery as they will show you how your Index Event affects you in the here and now.


This session will cover:

  • Review of Task 1.3 from Session 1
  • What is a Stuck Point?
  • Identifying stuck points from Task 1.3
  • Identifying Emotions
  • Introducing ABC
  • Index Event ABC Task
  • Review of Session 2
  • Setting your daily task

Review of Task 1.3

In the process of examining the myriad ways that the traumatic event has affected the client’s beliefs about self and others, it is possible for the client see that the cost of avoidance is very high, and that remembering traumas and feeling painful natural emotions are worth the risk.


TASK 2.1

  • Find a place that is safe for you to read out loud to yourself.
  • Take out the page that you wrote for Task 1.3
  • Read the page out loud to yourself. If you do not have somewhere you can do this confidentially, read it to yourself silently.
  • Try to keep your focus on the words you wrote, without going back to the feelings and thoughts about this event.
  • If you become distracted or overwhelmed by the feelings and thoughts use a simple grounding exercise before carrying on. Reach out to your support network if you need to.

In order to integrate (process) the traumatic event you need to be connected to the emotions and thoughts associated with it, while some form of dialogue (expression) takes place. This process does not need to happen all at once, work through the tasks with one at a time, without worrying about what is ahead. OTR gives you the tools and structure to move forward in your recovery.


TASK 2.2

Which of the following areas did you write about in task 1.3?

  • What you believe the cause of the event was.
  • What were the effects of the event.
  • The effects this traumatic event has had on your beliefs about yourself, in the following areas: safety, trust, power/control, esteem, and intimacy.
  • The effects this traumatic event has had on your beliefs about others, in the following areas: safety, trust, power/control, esteem, and intimacy.
  • Having looked at this list do you think there is anything you would like to add to Task 1.3? Go ahead and add it now.

Identifying emotions

In this section you will be learning to identify different feelings, and the connection between thoughts and feelings.

All humans are hard-wired to experience ‘natural’ or ‘basic’ emotions. Some of these are: anger, disgust, love, and happiness. Basic emotions, which which people feel automatically, give humans important information about how to behave or act in a particular situation.  


TASK 2.4


  • Write down a time you experienced anger. How did it feel physically?
  • Write down a time you experienced disgust. How did it feel physically?
  • Write down a time you experienced love. How did it feel physically?
  • Write down a time you experienced happiness. How did it feel physically?

There are other kinds of emotions that are based on our thoughts, not directly resulting from an event. These are called ‘manufactured’ emotions, because it is like we have a little factory inside our minds that keep producing negative thoughts about why the event happened or what it means, and we end up with different emotions like feeling guilty or ashamed.

We can even blame someone who didn’t intend the outcome or harm, because it feels safer to blame that person than the actual person who caused the event. These emotions, natural or manufactured, can become combined to create other emotions like being jealous (angry + scared) or can vary in intensity (for instance, ‘angry’ can be described as ranging from ‘irritated’ to ‘enraged’). With natural emotions, we encourage you to allow yourself to finally feel them, and they will lessen naturally and fairly quickly. With manufactured emotions, you will have to learn to say something more accurate to yourself, and the emotions will change with the changes in thoughts.

Some of the thoughts you have had about why the trauma occurred were assumptions you made after the trauma, and you may have been young or may not have had all of the facts. Because you have been avoiding remembering the trauma, you have not had the opportunity to examine the facts behind your thoughts.



Imagine you are walking down the street and you spot a friend walking on the other side, you call their name and wave but they don’t respond. More than likely your initial feeling would be anger or sadness. In that same moment as the emotion occurs you would probably hear your mind say “He hates me!” or “I’m not good enough”.

The example above shows how quickly your mind can go from an event to a feeling and a thought. It doesn’t stop there, often if these thoughts are unchallenged your mind can spiral into a whole set of negative thoughts about the event, yourself and other people. To challenge this spiral of thoughts and feelings you can use alternative statements. You could say to yourself “Maybe he hasn’t got his glasses on”, “She is probably listening to music”, or “It looked like he was thinking about something important”. Different statements will produce different emotional responses from your mind. When you imagine this scene and use the alternative statements can you experience the difference in feeling?


TASK 2.5


  • Take out what you wrote for Task 1.3.
  • Read it through sentence by sentence.
  • On the Task 2.5 sheet write each sentence into the appropriate column depending on whether it is a fact, thought or feeling that you wrote about.
  • If you become distracted or overwhelmed by the feelings and thoughts use a simple grounding exercise before carrying on. Reach out to your support network if you need to.

What is a Stuck Point?

In this therapy, we focus on how your thinking or your thoughts can get in the way of your recovery from your trauma. We call these kinds of thoughts ‘Stuck Points,’ because they are thoughts that keep you ‘stuck’ in your symptoms. They create barriers to your recovery.

Examples of some Stuck Point thoughts are ‘It’s my fault,’ ‘I should have done something differently,’ or ‘We should have gone left instead of right.’

Remember, these are thoughts, not feelings.

When you were getting ready to come to this session today, you probably had some thoughts about coming. Typical thoughts might be “I don’t know if I can do this,” “I don’t know if this will help,” “This isn’t for me,”.

What were your thoughts? Write a short list now.

These thoughts will have been followed by some feelings. Typical feelings may have been; hopeless, uncertain, scared or angry.

What were your feelings? For each thought you listed write the feeling it created.

Now you can see how these thoughts made you feel. Somehow you managed to carry on and start this session. You told yourself something that got you here! Maybe it was ‘I need to do this,’ ‘I am tired of living this way,’ or ‘I want to do this for my family and myself.’

What were the thoughts that motivated you? Add them to your list now.

You can see how the thoughts that got you here are different from the first ones that we wrote down. The thoughts that got you here moved you forward, while the other thoughts hold you back and keep you stuck, and so we call those types of thoughts Stuck Points. In this therapy, we want to look at your Stuck Points and see how they are keeping you stuck in your recovery from your index trauma.

Stuck Points are thoughts that keep you stuck from recovering.

These thoughts may not be 100% accurate. Stuck Points may be:
• Thoughts about your understanding of why the traumatic event happened.
• Thoughts about yourself, others, and the world that have changed dramatically as a result
of the traumatic event.

Stuck Points are concise statements (but they must be longer than one word—for example,
“trust” is not a Stuck Point).

Stuck Points can often be formatted in an “If–then” structure. Here is an example: “If I let others
get close, then I will get hurt.”

Stuck Points often use extreme language, such as “never,” “always,” or “everyone.”


What is not a Stuck Point?

Behaviors. For example, “I fight with my daughter all the time” is not a Stuck Point, because it
is describing a behavior. Instead, consider what thoughts you have when you are fighting with
your daughter.

Feelings. For example, “I am nervous whenever I go on a date” is not a Stuck Point, because
it is describing an emotion and a fact. Instead, consider what you are telling yourself that is
making you feel nervous.

Facts. For example, “I witnessed people die” is not a Stuck Point, because this is something
that actually happened. Instead, consider what thoughts you had as this happened and what
you think about it now.

Questions. For example, “What will happen to me?” is not a Stuck Point, because it is a question.
Instead, consider what answer to your question is at the back of your mind, such as “I will
not have a future.”

Moral statements. For example, “The criminal justice system should always work” is not a
Stuck Point, because it reflects an ideal standard of behavior. Instead, consider how this statement
pertains to you specifically, such as “The justice system failed me,” or “I can’t trust the


Examples of Stuck Points

1. If I had done my job better, then other people would have survived.
2. Because I did not tell anyone, I am to blame for the abuse.

3. Because I did not fight against my attacker, the abuse is my fault.
4. I should have known he would hurt me.
5. It is my fault the accident happened.
6. If I had been paying attention, no one would have died.
7. If I hadn’t been drinking, it would not have happened.
8. I don’t deserve to live when other people lost their lives.
9. If I let other people get close to me, I’ll get hurt again.
10. Expressing any emotion means I will lose control of myself.
11. I must be on guard at all times.
12. I should be able to protect others.
13. I must control everything that happens to me.
14. Mistakes are intolerable and cause serious harm or death.
15. No civilians can understand me.
16. If I let myself think about what has happened, I will never get it out of my mind.
17. I must respond to all threats with force.
18. I can never really be a good, moral person again because of the things that I have done.
19. Other people should not be trusted.
20. Other people should not trust me.
21. If I have a happy life, I will be dishonoring my friends.
22. I have no control over my future.
23. The government cannot be trusted.
24. People in authority always abuse their power.
25. I am damaged forever because of the rape.
26. I am unlovable because of [the trauma].
27. I am worthless because I couldn’t control what happened.
28. I deserve to have bad things happen to me.
29. I am dirty.
30. I deserved to have been abused.
31. Only people who were there can understand.

Identifying your stuck points from Task 1.3

The following is an example of Task 1.3 written by a man who was sexually abused as a child and was the victim of several adult assaults. It is hidden so that you can choose whether or not to read it. Click the orange + icon to view it.

The overall feeling of what it means to have been assaulted is the feeling that I must be
bad or a bad person for something like this to have occurred. I feel it will or could happen
again at any time. I feel only safe at home. The world scares me, and I think it is unsafe. I
feel all people are more powerful than me, and I am scared by most people. I view myself
as ugly and stupid. I can’t let people get real close to me. I have a hard time communicating
with people in authority, so plainly I haven’t been able to work. My fiancée and I
rarely have sex, and sometimes just a hug revolts me and scares me. I feel if I spend too
much time out in the world, an event like my past [events] will take place. I feel hatred
and anger toward myself for letting these things happen. I feel guilty that I’ve caused
problems with my family [this man’s parents were divorced]. I feel dirty most of the time
and believe that’s how others view me. I don’t trust others when they make promises. I
find it hard to accept that these events have happened to me.

These are the stuck points he identified. You can see that he has changed the way some of them are phrased to clearly identify the stuck point from what he wrote.

“I must be bad for this to have occurred.”
“I will be abused at any time again.”
“All people are more powerful than me.”
“I am ugly and stupid.”
“The world is unsafe.”
“Home is the only safe place.”
“I can’t work.”
“If I spend too much time out in the world, an event like my past events will take place.”
“I am dirty.”
“Other people view me as dirty.”
“Others can’t be trusted when they make promises.”


TASK 2.3

  • Using ‘What is a stuck point?’ to help, read through Task 1.3 identifying all the stuck points you expressed.
  • Everytime you find one add it to the Task 2.3 Stuck Points Sheet.
  • When you are unsure if something is a stuck point add it anyway. You can always cross it off as your understanding develops through the course.
  • If you become distracted or overwhelmed by the feelings and thoughts use a simple grounding exercise before carrying on. Reach out to your support network if you need to.

Introducing ABC

The ABC Worksheets are the first in a series of worksheets, used throughout this course. They are designed to build your awareness of your interpretations of daily life and index trauma.

Below are some examples of completed ABC Worksheets.

From the work you have already done and these sample worksheets, you should be starting to understand how to fill one out. You are now going to fill out your first ABC Worksheet for your Index Event. At this stage of the course, you may find it challenging to answer the two questions at the bottom of the sheet. That’s ok, only do this part of the sheet if you want to, we will be looking at this in a future session.


TASK 2.6


  • Use a blank ABC Worksheet to write about one Activating Event, Belief (Stuck Point), and Consequence in relation to your Index Trauma.
  • If you want to, fill out the final two questions.
  • If you become distracted or overwhelmed by the feelings and thoughts use a simple grounding exercise before carrying on. Reach out to your support network if you need to.

Day-to-day these worksheets will help you to see the connections between your thoughts and feelings following events. Anything that happens to you, or anything you think about, can be the event to look at. You may be more aware of your feelings than your thoughts at first. If that is the case, go ahead and fill out column C first. Then go back and decide what the event was (column A). Then try to recognize what you were saying to yourself (column B). Ask yourself why you feel that way, and the answer is likely to be your thought. Try to fill out these worksheets as soon after the events as possible. If you wait until the end of the day (or the end of the week), you are less likely to remember what you were saying to yourself. Also, the events you record don’t have to be negative events. You may also have thoughts and feelings about pleasant and neutral events.




  • Complete at least one ABC Worksheet every day, immediately following an event, between now and Session 3.
  • Start Session 3 5-to-10 days from now.
  • If you become distracted or overwhelmed by the feelings and thoughts use a simple grounding exercise before carrying on. Reach out to your support network if you need to.

Review of Session 2

Well done for completing OTR Session 2!

Today you have:

  • Reviewed Task 1.3.
  • Looked at the cause and effects of your Index Event on yourself and others.
  • Learned how to identify emotions.
  • Understood what was a fact, thought and feeling in Task 1.3.
  • Learned what a Stuck Point is.
  • Identified stuck points from Task 1.3.
  • Become familiar with the ABC Worksheets.
  • Completed an ABC Worksheet for your Index Event.

Between now and your next session do you best to complete at least one ABC worksheet everyday.

You have done a lot of work today so take a break and ground yourself now.

Your next session is: