What do we think of when we hear the word, “trauma”? For some it can be the loss of a spouse or child, being involved in a fatal car accident or, as we sadly continue to see on the rise, school shootings. However, trauma can also be receiving a failing grade on a big exam, not getting accepted into the college we hoped for, or breaking up with who we think is the love of our lives.
In my close to 20 years working in the mental health field, one of the greatest things I learned was the significance of both of these different types of trauma (“Big T and Little T,” respectfully). Our bodies respond the same, and if not dealt with appropriately, we can become quite literally, “stuck.” We may feel anxious, fatigued, have muscle weakness, withdraw from our family and friends, have increased cortisol levels and high blood pressure. Our brains are firing from a “fight or flight” response, so we may often find ourselves processing an event through feelings over logic. Our day-to-day lives become effected; our relationships suffer, our work suffers, and the list goes on and on. In essence, trauma and stress can “damage” the brain.
In reading Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk’s book, The Body Keeps the Score, we can no longer deny the effect that trauma and long-term stress have on our bodies. As we try to push through our day-to-day lives, we “stuff” our stress/trauma, meanwhile, we find ourselves more and more disconnected to the things that matter most, our families, our work, our friendships. Eventually, the spillover is more than we can take and potentially disastrous outcomes can occur.
The emerging studies of the brain and the benefits of mind-body therapies along with body-oriented therapies is proving to be most effective in moving out of our trapped emotions and memories and allowing us to find the space and presence in our everyday lives. Our clinical therapists at Ubuntu Wellness have helped countless individuals work through these traumas utilizing evidence-based modalities to help heal the mind AND the body. Our yoga and movement classes are designed to help participants become more aware of themselves and allow for freedom of expression. We also offer Reiki services, utilizing the universal energy to encourage physical and emotional healing.
This isn’t to say that all traumas can be fully healed. The passing of a spouse or a child is an unimaginable loss that may never go away. I love Marcel Proust’s quote and liken it to trauma recovery: “The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” One of the most amazing gifts we can give ourselves is to honor our journey and our trauma, yet move forward in this new and present space we’ve made for ourselves.
Feel free to call, (440) 214-9062, for a free 15-minute consultation to make a plan that best suits your needs: mind, body and spirit.
There are some great books out there regarding mind-body therapies as it relates to trauma. Here are a couple of my favorites: Walking the Tiger: Healing Trauma by Peter Levine, The Body Remembers by Babette Rothschild, Overcoming Trauma Through Yoga by Elizabeth Hopper and Dancing Mindfulness by Dr. Jamie Marich.
Jen is currently listening to Ray LaMontagne’s Part of the Light on whatever the level above repeat is.