Most of my work centers on supporting individuals who are surviving or have survived abuse. I would argue that anyone who has survived trauma is still surviving it, but that’s it’s own writing. What I do is help individuals voice and reshape their stories.

I do this because my story is one of abuse and survival.

Over the years, I have written and rewritten what happened to me along with–and here’s the heart of what I teach–what should have happened to me. I write myself now into my story then. This is better known in the world as “self-parenting,” and it’s an excellent practice. Let me break it down: I’m an adult in charge of myself. I don’t have a positive parenting model to rely on, so I have to learn as I go. Sometimes, my history gets in the way of my present. I go back and heal it (essentially by meeting up with my inner child in my subconscious aka the page).


Yep. Sure do.

Try this: Take a few minutes to recall and watershed moment in your life. Maybe a time you were embarrassed. Allow yourself to feel that embarrassment. Now, imagine you as you are now could walk into that scene and impart wisdom on younger, embarrassed you. What would you say? How would that scene play out? Write it down. Own it. Really live it. Let it be your new story.

Note: If you are a survivor and would like to try this exercise, please create a safe space for yourself. Comment and I will link you to resources on how to safely establish a writing practice for release and recovery.

This is a highly effective technique in trauma coaching. It is the method I begin every new class/retreat/coaching client with. We are in charge of our stories. We can rewrite them–recraft them–by creating a new ending that becomes real through conscious engagement and a written record. This allows room for the greatest of loves: self-love.

Give it a try. I’d love to know how it feels to you!

Shawna Ayoub

Shawna Ayoub is an essayist, fiction writer, poet and instructor with an MFA in creative writing from Indiana University. Some of her work has been published in The Manifest-Station, Role Reboot, [wherever], The Huffington Post, The Oxford Review and Exit 7. Her writing explores the intersections of race, place and survivorship. She writes with honesty about her own experience in order to transform pain.

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