Incarceration Trauma Therapy

Incarceration Trauma Therapy

Are You Having Trouble Adjusting To Life After Jail?

Are you a formerly incarcerated person in need of healing, and extra support to help you move forward in life? Do you worry about the kinds of help you’ll receive because of the negative stigma toward incarceration? Have you searched for jobs and put in housing applications, but you worry that your past will get in the way?

Maybe you’re tired of “positive thinking” and constantly jumping through hoops with no reward. Or perhaps you’ve drummed up the courage to go back to school, but you don’t know anyone with your story who has ventured on this path. As much as you’ve matured and grown, your experiences may have left you feeling sad and alone.

Reintegration back into society for a formerly incarcerated person can be difficult. First, you’ve experienced the trauma of incarceration itself. Not only does it take away your identity, but the toll that incarceration can have on your mental health also challenges your humanity. And in particular, a unique punishment like solitary confinement can increase the risk for anxiety, depression, and suicide (for more information on efforts to end solitary confinement, please visit Stop Solitary CT, where our Founder serves as a board member.)

By now, you have also experienced additional trauma from society as you try to play a constructive part in it. As a result, you might feel angry, worried, and alone. Because so many people who’ve tried to help you have let you down, perhaps you struggle to trust people.

We know you probably feel frustrated, helpless, and judged. No one is above making a mistake in life, however, and incarceration can happen to many people. At Quality Counseling, we believe that you deserve a second chance in life, and through incarceration trauma therapy, we are confident that we can help empower you to adjust to your new life and achieve a fresh start.

Incarceration Disproportionately Affects Black Communities

Millions of people (2.3 million) in the United States are incarcerated, and of those millions, black people are disproportionately affected.1 In Connecticut alone, more than 40 percent of inmates are black, as compared to 30 percent white and 26 percent Hispanic.2 As a result of the disproportionate representation of black people imprisoned, Black communities remain broken. We haven’t been given the resources for social organization and many of us live in single-parent households. And normal life is disrupted once an incarcerated person is released. Formerly incarcerated individuals cannot vote and might experience barriers to finding work and housing as well. Little help exists for formerly incarcerated people.

Poverty is a chief contributor to mass incarceration. Without financial resources, a community cannot build itself or establish stability. Therefore, community members lack fewer opportunities to get ahead in life and may turn to crime as an alternative. Additionally, an increase in policing and oppressive laws—both offshoots of the chattel slavery system—can also contribute to black communities being more vulnerable to incarceration.

Once released from prison, reintegration back into society can be an uphill battle. Applying for jobs becomes difficult with criminal background checks. Formerly incarcerated people may also struggle with some of the psychological effects of prison and need professional support.

Few are blessed to not be impacted, but many experience a psychological impact that includes learned helplessness from losing the right to make decisions for one’s self and depending solely on an institution to survive. A formerly incarcerated person may also struggle with hypervigilance, distrust of others, isolation, and a normalization of an exploitative prison culture where the strong prey on the weak. However, because many black communities aren’t given adequate resources, finding this support to address these serious issues isn’t easy.

Nevertheless, there are two steps you can take right now to reclaim your power. First, you can begin to see yourself as someone more impacted by your environment and background than your own personal choices. Second, you can seek incarceration trauma therapy to get the support you need to successfully transition to your next act in life.

Incarceration Trauma Therapy Can Help You Become The Positive, Successful Person You’ve Always Wanted To Be

black man in white jacket, Incarceration Trauma

If you’ve set out to become a contributing member of society but life after incarceration has created too many roadblocks, maybe it’s time to reach out for help. Incarceration trauma therapy meets you where you are so that you can root out toxic behaviors and chart out a new path in life.

Quality Counseling offers a compassionate, warm, and safe environment where you can process the incarceration experiences without judgment. Our goal is to help you learn to manage hurt and anger, develop healthier communication skills, and heal from trauma. We’re passionate about helping formerly incarcerated people connect with who they truly are and find their voice in the world. We want to provide holistic healing to the people who have been harmed by the justice system.

Therapy starts with a comprehensive intake process where we’ll ask you to fill out forms through a secure online portal. We will also begin by learning more about your background and experience with incarceration to gain better insight into your unique story. This information will allow us to tackle your challenges from an honest place.

As therapists and social justice advocates, we will work to help you locate resources for support and entry points for accessing these resources.  Additionally, we want to help you gain insight into your strengths and build tools that put you back in the driver’s seat of your life. You can learn how to:

  • Rebuild relationships
  • Strengthen boundaries
  • Reduce impulsive decision-making
  • Express yourself assertively
  • Forgive yourself and those who have hurt you
  • Make healthier decisions
  • Develop healthy peer relationships
  • Work through the psychological effects of incarceration (e.g., PTSD, anxiety, depression)

We will also connect you with a number of resources that include but are not limited to:

Stop Solitary CT: Community advocacy coalition with the goal of ending torture and solitary confinement, and dismantling the prison system

Winning Ways: Organization that offers case management and financial literacy classes to formerly incarcerated people

Formerly Inc: Organization that provides support services such as reentry and recovery life coaching, elite mentoring, and recovery life coaching

Once Incarcerated: Non-profit that offers holistic support and advocacy services

Additionally, we will share various coping strategies to help you deal with adjusting to life after prison. Some of these strategies include:

  • EMDR Resourcing; Body Tapping
  • Yoga Education
  • Cannabis Education
  • Deep-breathing
  • Mindfulness & Meditation

Incarceration trauma therapy may also introduce modalities that allow you to tap into suppressed parts of yourself and break free from them. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) can pinpoint trauma and gently release it from the body. By releasing this trauma, you can free yourself from risky thought processes and toxic behaviors. Additionally, we utilize an approach called Motivational interviewing to combat ambivalence and lack of motivation by tapping into your deepest internal desires. As a result, you can cast off impulsive thoughts and behaviors that may lead to crime.

Starting over in life won’t be easy, but with support, self-awareness, and good work ethic, it is possible. At Quality Counseling, you’ll find a group of advocates who have worked with incarcerated populations for years and are ready to support your journey back into society.

Right now, you may feel like you’re hitting a brick wall, but thanks to incarceration trauma therapy, you can create a new narrative to thrive in this next chapter in life.

But you may still have questions about incarceration trauma therapy…

I’ve faced so much judgment already–are you going to judge me, too?  

This is a valid question. We understand that you probably feel judged because of the negative stigma incarceration carries. Thankfully, the work we do takes this reality into account—we are an advocacy practice that stands for the social justice of all populations, especially vulnerable ones like formerly incarcerated people. We take pride in our work, which has been informed by our own experiences working with incarcerated people (and Kevnesha, the Founder, is a child of formerly incarcerated parents). Our aim is not to judge, but to help you move forward and thrive.

Will this work for me?

To work successfully, therapy for incarceration trauma requires full engagement from both the therapist and the client. It is only as effective as what each of us brings to the table. As long as you are engaged, we are confident that we can help you connect to new resources, overcome feelings of shame, and chart a new course in life.

I don’t have time for therapy.

Even if you don’t seek help through therapy, you will still need some form of self-care to recover from experiences and regain energy to keep moving in the direction of your goals. Without self-care, it’s difficult to experience healing and growth in your life. Therapy can specifically tackle issues that are hard to address alone by allowing you to receive feedback from a professional trained to address the struggles of formerly incarcerated individuals. Therapy can provide you with the support you need to embark on the next chapter of your life.

Are You Ready To Get The Help You Need To Achieve Your Life Goals?

You deserve to get back on your feet without judgment and with the support and resources you need. If you’re ready to take the next step, we invite you to schedule a free 15-minute discovery call to see how incarceration trauma therapy can give you the tools for a new and improved life.


1: https://www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/pie2020.html
2: https://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Racial-disparities-persist-in-CT-prisons-even-as-15651213.php
3: https://aspe.hhs.gov/basic-report/psychological-impact-incarceration-implications-post-prison-adjustment