Week 11: Trauma Healing
PLEASE use 5 minutes of your time to watch the episode below. It's a short summary of a longer segment Oprah did on 60 minutes featuring trauma-informed care.
I was initially going to write about something else because this isn't a 'new' for me, but trauma healing is the work that I'm interested in, in my heart or hearts. I don't often find the language or concepts in trauma care easily digestible for those of us without any background, so I am happy to have this opportunity to share this relatable segment.
Trauma is what binds us to our imprinting, keeping us spinning in patterns of conditioning. I know that the word itself is loaded with heavy and dark connotations: death, sexual assault, accidents, bullying.
Many other, unnamed experiences can also have deep implications for our compromised physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual states. Growing up without warm and reflective parents, or a narcissistic parent, or being urged to follow a path other than your own, or not having the support to speak your heart, and so much more: all of these can be subtle traumas that, impressed upon anyone, especially someone of vulnerability or youth, have devastating impacts.
I am drawn to this healing work because it speaks to the core of our struggles in this world, and - even without us realizing it - we are slave to the conditioned reactions that trauma draws out of us. It isn't us - who we are is so profoundly more than that, and so unique, and so beautiful. Full of so much potential that must be unleashed if we are to know what life is, and who we are.
Trauma-informed care specifically implies a way of approaching people: understanding them as whole entities with behaviors understandably stemming from past experiences, and not seeing them through the lens of wrong or right, with an intention to 'fix' their behaviors. It does not condone or permit inappropriate behavior, but encourages empathy.
In this particular segment, I appreciate what Dr. Bruce Perry shares as the key to healing trauma: relationships. It is when we are fully met, with love, by another person that the stored up and unprocessed energy of trauma can begin to find release, and we can start to integrate our difficult - impossible - experiences with ourselves...in a way that does not consume us.
I have certainly found this true in my own experience. It is more the feeling of safety and acceptance from another than their skill level - although that can help - that allows for the dismantling of trauma over time.
The patterns that trauma invites are only mechanisms that are trying to keep us safe, protected from the pain of the remembered experience and potential future experiences. We, and all creatures, are amazingly adaptable in being able to cope with all kinds of hardships, and our responses to trauma hint at deep intelligence embedded in our body and our psyche. In the end, though, our conditioned patterns do not serve us in the highest capacity.
And at our deepest level, we do not ever break.
I'm linking the longer (13 min) segment below, as well as other quotes and messages that have recently touched me.