Introduction: Healing Trauma & PTSD

Different Modalities Work for Different People

  • Based on 30 years of clinical practice and dedicated research, Bessel van der Kolk, MD provides incredibly clear information on how the brain responds to trauma. And he is very clear that different people with different situations respond to different therapies. He provides extensive, inspirational research and case studies that demonstrate how the Trauma Center has succeeded with multiple healing modalities, many of which we have described below.

Some Therapies Have Proven to NOT be Effective

  • Beginning on page 203 of The Body Keeps the Score, van der Kolk describes not only successful therapies but also many oft-used therapies that are usually not successful. These include cognitive behavioral therapy, desensitization, and drugs when not used in conjunction with other modalities.

There is a Difference Between Mental Illness & Mental Wounds

The pathologizing of the mind has been a real obstacle to trauma survivors seeking and getting treatment. In the field of mental health, we have not yet made any real distinctions between mental illness and mental wounds. At a visceral level, many people resist psychotherapy and counseling for traumatic stress due to their indignation over being treated as ill, when they are, in fact, injured. Being treated as though one is sick, crazy, or “other” when one has been injured (often by a sick and/or crazy person) just adds insult to injury. – Susan Pease Banitt

Creating Safety for Healing

  • A person may not be ready to seek healing because she does not feel safe, thus creating safety can be a good step toward healing.
  • Feelings on the surface may be different from those deeper inside. That is, a person may express and even think she feels safe in a general sense while some signs may indicate otherwise.
  • Some thoughts and feelings that may point to a need for a greater feeling of safety include feelings of threat or fear, feeling concerned that someone will take advantage of you, being afraid of other people’s opinions of you, finding that opportunities feel overly risky or that you are “shrinking down” in communication. (Jennifer Partridge)
  • Yoga, particularly trauma-sensitive yoga, can be an excellent tool for helping people to experience feelings of safety.