Healing Tip of the Month

From Amy Olshever, PhD, LCSW
When we experience a tragic and devastating loss it can be “traumatizing”. When we think about “trauma” we generally think of it as a historical event that happened some time ago. Trauma is actually residue from the past event that settles into your body. We store the pain and the memories in our bodies. When people are traumatized, they become afraid of their physical sensations; their breathing becomes shallow, and they become uptight and frightened about what they’re feeling inside.
 
In order to heal from trauma, there are different ways to approach the systems in our brains and bodies that have been altered by the trauma. If you slow down your breathing with movement and focus as you might by practicing yoga, for example, you can decrease stress and regulate your heart rate. Yoga allows you to open up to feeling more aspects of your body’s sensations. It’s a gentle and safe way for us to befriend our bodies, where the trauma of the past is stored. EMDR can be helpful to integrate traumatic memories by shifting some areas of the brain involved in memory processing. Neurofeedback can affect brain activation patterns—it can actually change brain waves, and can help to make people’s brains quieter and more attentive. Theater and performing can be helpful to allow people to gain a voice and to take on a different role. Instead of always feeling frightened or withdrawn, they can act like a king or a powerful warrior.