Trauma 101

Anxiety, Embodied: The Biology of “Mental” Illness

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Anxiety, Embodied: The Biology of “Mental” Illness

It’s 1965, and a little girl is hiding behind a door. It’s recess, and the other children are jumping rope, playing tag, and laughing as children ought to be at that age, no care in the world. But not the girl, sandwiched between the brick building and the metal door to the classroom. She’s sweating, counting down the minutes until she can once again sit at the back of the class, avoiding being called on. Hoping she won’t be seen. While some of you have only lately been introduced to your capacity for anxiety: the sudden, rapid pulse, the racing thoughts, the inability to sit still,...

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Relax! The Case for Taking It Easy as a Path to Mental Wellness

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Relax! The Case for Taking It Easy as a Path to Mental Wellness

As a beginner massage therapist, I made a rookie mistake. Like many others, massage therapists who specialized in relaxation therapy were seen by me as lesser-than, doing the easy work while the rest of us studied myofascial release, zero balancing, craniosacral therapy and a host of other expensive, intensive trainings that had us moving limbs, stripping adhered tissue, and in general making our clients sweat and grit their teeth. But, by God, we HEALED! Psychotherapy is no different. As a supervisor with over twenty years under my belt as a licensed clinical social worker and more than that...

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Trauma 101: Helping Friends & Family Not To Put Their Foot In It

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Trauma 101: Helping Friends & Family Not To Put Their Foot In It

As you know, the holidays are a particularly difficult time for the chronically challenged, whether you’re suffering from PTSD or Fibromyalgia. So in order to help you help them, I’ve written your holiday letter for you!  Feel free to add, subtract, and modify as you will:   Dear __________________________, I know you don’t know what to say about my illness, and that you’re struggling to find the right words to show that you care for me. Therefore, in the interest of preserving our friendship/marriage/family-work bond (circle appropriate), here are some words to...

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Trauma 101: Discovering Your Inner Protector

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Trauma 101: Discovering Your Inner Protector

When I started writing this series, I explored “safety.” What it means, particularly to those of us who were not nourished by it often enough as our young spirits grew. Many of the essentials I’ve since explored with you, grounding, resourcing, meditation, all help reduce the constant undercurrent of distress in our lives. However, none speaks as specifically, even boundaries, to safety as does finding, and feeding, our inner protector. You see, when we’re born, we just…are. There’s no good part, or bad, no funny part, or grumpy, no side of us we show at work (cuz we’re not...

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Trauma 101: Stepping Gently Into Your Body With Yoga

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Trauma 101: Stepping Gently Into Your Body With Yoga

For most of the uninitiated, yoga still belongs to the land of human pretzels and tie dyed, aging hippies. We’ve even come up with an Americanized version of this ancient and varied school of body movement, which involves some grueling combination of power and heat. Yet yoga is also one of the most commonly used and effective forms of support for those of my clients recovering from trauma. Yoga, from the Sanskrit meaning “to join, unite, or attach,” (and hopefully you know the importance of attachment to trauma; if not, click here), invites us to enter our bodies gradually, allowing...

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Trauma 101: Meditation

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Trauma 101: Meditation

Ah, to sit in stillness, cultivating peace! Doesn’t that sound just wonderful. Maybe you’ve even gone to the expense of creating a space, buying one of those special pillows, getting a sound bowl, burning incense. And it’s fantastic…for about four seconds. Then your mind kicks in…and the battle is ON!!! Your back starts hurting, your left knee act up, you can’t stop thinking about the LIST that everybody’s got: what to get done today, what should have gotten done yesterday. Or that jerk that cut us off, or claims we cut them off. Some of us as well simply were not born to sit...

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