Is healing from trauma really possible?
What does healing from trauma actually look like, feel like, sound like; and how do you know if you are ‘healing’?
There is a broad assumption in our world that many, if not most people need to heal.
And while healing is a phenomenal process that can restore meaningful life to millions of people, and for which I am most grateful, I believe we are increasingly moving into a new understanding of healing, and I’m not alone.
‘Healing’ is itself an extraordinary experience in the human condition, which deserves to be talked about and clarified, so we all know when we are experiencing it and so we can have more of it. When we know that we are in the healing process, our confidence, strength, inspiration and courage return.
So, what am I talking about when I say, ‘healing’?
I am not talking about talking your way through healing. That one
I am talking largely about psychological healing here; but….body/mind/spirit are so entwined that that distinction may not be altogether important.
In fact, appreciating the inherent wholeness and interconnectedness of body/mind/spirit is a feature of authentic healing.
From a psychological perspective, interest and research in healing arose and reached its zenith in the second half of the 20th Century when defining mental illnesses, cataloging symptoms, and finding effective treatments for them became the primary focus of the fields of psychology, psychoanalysis, and psychiatry.
As treatments became more effective, the impact on society was noticeable. People started to understand their unique differences and challenges, as well as those of others, learned to ask for what they needed, began to experience wellness, spoke up for their rights to be treated equally and with respect, and for many, to a large degree, suffering was diminished.
When there is less suffering, new possibilities emerge. Click To TweetOur lives are filled with emotional tunnels: the loss of loved ones, ending of relationships, aging and illness, career disappointments and the common ongoing sense of dissatisfaction with life in general; ‘is this all there is’?
Our society tends to consider our reactions to common experiences of life in stark, clinical terms; depression, anxiety, and the list goes on; and our clinical response is often that the symptoms should end and challenging emotions be overcome as quickly as possible.
It is as if we don’t yet have the capacity to hold space needed for others to move through at their own pace and we, therefore, ‘need’ for them to get ‘better’ …….so that we feel better ourselves.
“if I were a really good therapist you would feel better under my care in but a few sessions….”
THIS, is a prescription for double lose every time.
The Spiritual vs Psychological Approach.
If the common approach that I and others have been taught and had been practicing for years were effective, why are we on such an intense search for something else? Something bigger? Something more meaningful?
Why is there so much burnout in our system of care? Why is it so difficult to find and keep highly qualified staff to serve others?
If our practice were fulfilling for self and others we would not be in such a quandary about how to help our wounded people in new ways; more effective; more gentle and more authentic ways.
Healing happens in relationship; yet how many ‘healers’ are deeply skilled at relationship themselves? You can’t give away that which is not yours to give.
It is time for a BOLD change, now. Consider this;
When we find ourselves questioning the very meaning of life, the purpose for it all, the reason that we are born and that we experience all that we do; we are growing, evolving, learning and becoming better spiritual beings having this human experience.
We learn more about the depth of who we are, what we are made of and what we are capable of during periods of pain, suffering, confusion and times of discomfort. Through the darkest nights we come to appreciate the light of dawn; through the stifling heat we come to appreciate the cooler times.
When all is going well we don’t question, we don’t wonder, we tend to stagnate and stagnation leads to death; psychological, spiritual, emotional and physical death.
Yet, still, most of us can’t withstand the period of growth; we want it to end. Most of us cannot withstand another’s experience and so we come to believe that we can fix each other, heal each other and stop the pain.
And if we can’t, we send those who are suffering further away.( this is one of the saddest experiences I share in child welfare, every day, children are sent further away, our sad people, young and old, are isolated in ‘treatment facilities’)
Healing is about so much more than the relief of symptoms as quickly as possible.
Healing can happen even if a cure is not possible. I have sat with another making the transition from this world to the other side and healing was happening simultaneously. It was one of the most powerful experiences in my lifetime.
From the spiritual perspective, healing is about finding your truth, YOUR truth….
Not the truth of your parents, or society, or teachers or leaders. YOUR truth.
Discovering the reason that you have been gifted this life is what will bring healing to you.
Why are you here?
Why do you do what you do every day?
What makes it all worthwhile? What is the end objective for you?
When you are intent on answering these questions, wondering about them each and every day; when you are praying, meditating and contemplating possible answers, you are on your way to healing. The day to day turbulence is but an opportunity to practice.
When we move to the spiritual reason for it all we are more likely to consider how even the worst of all experiences may help us to grow, help us to learn important lessons in life, and help us to help others.
When the story that we tell ourselves about painful life experiences puts us at fault, or assigns blame or responsibility that is not accurate we are more likely to suffer; however, if the story that we tell ourselves is that there is a reason for surviving this trauma and that now we have an important purpose to serve with our lives and depth of knowing, we are more likely to experience Post Trauma Growth instead of Post Trauma Stress.
If there is no reason for it all, no purpose to your life, stress becomes trauma and trauma becomes continual stress and the cycle becomes unbearable, or what we often call mental illness.
The spiritual response invites us to always look for purpose, meaning and reason even in the darkest night.
The psychological response invites us to stop the emotions in whatever way we can.
(Dr. Martin Seligman is now offering training for soldiers that can help them grow through trauma, instead of being damaged by it….this truth is taking hold)
Healing with a spiritual focus, comes from a mindset that when trauma occurs, at first it is overwhelming, horrifying and it takes all that we have to get through it. But, then, with help, we may begin to consider the possibility of true recovery that helps us move from surviving to thriving.
The thought of healing to the point of seeing positive aspects of our life experiences is remote and difficult, yes. However, the ability to eventually find gratitude for our hardships helps make us resilient and stronger than before. It is an important aspect of healing; transcending the trauma and loss.
As an aside, I want to mention that 20th Century psychology has focused, from a scientific and medical standpoint, on many of the same issues that were once thought to belong to the realm of spirit, spirituality, and religion. After all, its name is derived from the Greek, “psykhe”, meaning soul, spirit, or mind.
Today’s “spiritual-but-not-religious” movement focuses on healing almost as much as the psychological field and I find it much more effective in the healing of trauma of our wounded children, couples, individuals and families. Focusing on the pain that we believe needs to be healing creates more pain.
What you pay attention to comes back to you.
Pay attention to the pain and it will hang around.
Pay attention to healing and it will roll out.
When I begin work with wounded others I enter the shared space with the assumption that the other is already whole, complete, and perfect; including the parts s/he would like to eliminate. In this way, our work takes on a much more positive and healing tone, immediately.
Once you embrace that you’re whole, complete, and perfect, there are no more excuses. The focus of the work moves from ‘I must change’ to ‘I accept myself as I am and look forward to transforming life through acceptance’
I’ll use myself as an example. As someone who grew up in the proverbial perfect imperfect family, I worked with a number of therapists over the years, believing there was something wrong with me. Some members of my family would continue to spew their beliefs about me that are not pretty. Working with most therapists was not helpful for me, not much really stuck.
Working to become a therapist myself was a long, uphill road that took me from surviving to knowing without a doubt that I will thrive. One of the most dramatic shifts that I made with any therapist was with the last, who at one point said, “Read my lips, you’re healthy.”
Considering and then Accepting that there was nothing seriously wrong with me was like waking from a dream. Suddenly, so much more was possible. I felt confident and believed in myself.
I knew that if I could learn to tell my story of abuse without it overwhelming me, I could learn to use it to serve others toward the same. I am a servant. I long to serve. This became an ache deep inside. My purpose was becoming clear. I had experienced all that I did so that I could understand it from the deepest place and then support others coming out of their own. I was born to serve. Learning how was not always easy.
It was at that time that I began to work in deeper ways with my clients. Now, 20 years later I continue to see the impact of deeper work than traditional talk therapy focusing on all that is wrong.
And, here is the really cool thing! Suddenly the experience of therapy wasn’t so necessary at all, and Life Coaching, (including distance energy healings, business coaching, leadership/executive coaching, and more, that don’t focus on healing clients, but rather assist clients to shift into more resourceful, and some would say, transformative mind-states that help them see solutions to problems and pathways to goals, while inspiring them to take action and create the outcomes that are best for themselves and others) became my passion.
I see my clients as whole, complete, and perfect. I believe in them from the very start. I help them reframe limiting beliefs, integrate disowned voices, and experience their interconnectedness with others.
I encourage them into the truth of their lives and the vital lessons and joy awaiting them. As a result, they become more confident, believe in themselves, evolve into who they want to be, and create valuable changes for themselves and others.
It’s both an honor and an interdevelopmental experience to work with people who are discovering their true selves for the very first time. I work in this way with children of trauma, families of trauma and all who enter my space seeking healing. I train others to do the same. My life has unfolded in ways that I could have never imagined decades ago sitting in offices telling my story over and over with no real positive change.
My students and my clients step into their greatness and go on to change the world for the better. POWERFUL!
Imagine a world where all people not only heal, but reach their full potential and are inspired to transform the world. It’s not a dream. Because of the good work done by healers, clients are becoming ready for this level of healing and coaches go on to make transformative possibilities real everyday.
Is healing possible? Absolutely.
And I would be honored to teach you how. Contact Me