The crucial condition under which MAKING HUMAN CONTACT became possible was Repairing Broken Trust. While having dealt with trust issues in the early stages already, they again formed a pivotal part in this phase. Trusting oneself as well as trusting others had to be revisited and reworked. Herman states that by having established a safe haven through therapy “the person is gradually able to expand the level of contact with the wider community” (1992, p. 162). Clients started to engage with other people and to form relationships.
Repairing Broken Trust involved building trust in the self. Clients needed to trust their own intuition, their own judgment of other people, their judgment of themselves, and their ability to be able to let down the walls that protected them. To do so was a great effort. Expectations regarding other people had to be changed. Clients had to come to a point where they did not automatically expect to be hurt intentionally by another person.
In order for connections to occur properly I had to have acceptance, acceptance of myself and acceptance of other people (Carol 3/1).
For me to be able to have human contact, I needed to understand that I had put the walls there to survive. I needed the trust in myself that I could do it. From letting the internal walls down I learnt that connecting is empowering. That helped. To become aware that I could move them, that I could extend them (Katherine 3/1).
If human contact was to be re-established and broken trust repaired, clients needed to have contact with others. Their need to be with other people, the need for human connection, and “the hunger to be loved” (Krista) was the driving force to slowly allow connections to take place and to overcome inbuilt automatic responses of withdrawal. Once clients acknowledged their need for human contact, they went about finding ways to meet that need. This need had been described by clients as a powerful force that, once it surfaced, was stronger than their fears. It allowed them to take risks and start to connect with other people.
But I’ve got a hunger, a hunger to be loved and to be treated like anybody else with respect and caring and all those things (Krista).
…that urge for human contact outside the walls of my invisible prison; it was only when I no longer felt so isolated that I no longer needed therapeutic contact in that context (Mona 3/1).