Holistic healing for PTSD

This page, like my life, is a work in progress. I will be adding more to it as I continue on my healing journey. Scroll below the picture to the resources I’ve assembled.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical or psychological professional. THIS IS NOT MEDICAL NOR MENTAL HEALTH ADVICE, these are my personal opinions though I may provide links to others who may be in the mental health field.

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[I use art journaling in my process as it cuts away at a lot of negative, obsessive thought and using colors is soothing and uplifting.  This one reads:  “I may be fractured, but my parts are all beautiful”]

I want to share what healing modalities seemed to work best for me.  I hope that maybe  you’d like to explore these options in your healing journey.

First, some of my blog posts (not necessary to read…but may be helpful because they have more resources and quotes inside…)

If You Had Controlling Parents

The Gas Light Effect

C-PTSD or Borderline Personality Disorder

Why Hashimoto’s Thyroidits can be Mistaken for Bipolar

Understanding and Healing from PTSD

Fear, Obligation and Guilt

The Lethality of Loneliness

Why recovering from suicidal crises is hard

Unattended Sorrow

Dancing with the Pain

Adult Survivors of Child Abuse, an alternative to 12 step recovery programs

10 Basic Good Mother Messages

A Very Brief Synposis of Dabrowsk’s Theory of Positive Disintegration (in other words, what depression might actually be good for!)

My favorite Trauma recovery links:

Jeff Brown: Soul Shaping

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: One Method for Processing Traumatic Memory

Corrective Emotional Experience in the Therapeutic Process

The Larger Self by Richard Schwartz (Internal Family Systems)

Pete Walker Complex PTSD

Linda Graham MFT (Resources to build resilience)

What is Spiritual Abuse

The Invisible Scar – Tips for Adult Survivors of Emotional Abuse

Gede Prama Songs Of Compassion blog

specific articles on healing:

Healing Self, Healing the World

The Art of Healing

Journey of Healing

Home of Angelsd

The Healing Power of Joy

Notes from the above links from Gede Prama’s Songs of Compassion articles:

1.  Accept, flow, smile.

2.  Spend at least 3x a week walking in Nature.

3.  Become well-connected, because then it is easier to access the energy of healing that is available in Nature.

4.  Since you can not go back in time to change the past, learn to embrace the past.

5.  Focus on the lesson, not the person who harms.

6.  Plant the seeds of forgiveness. Water them with acceptance.

7.  Be mindful to self-conversation, it’s the conversation with the Universe.

8.  Understand that pain, suffering and sadness are only messengers of the inner, pointing the way to go much deeper.

9.  Go much deeper.

and this last one, I’m going to quote verbatim:

10.  “Generate strong intention to help in your field.  If you are a writer, you can write with the intention to help, a mother can take good care of children like treating the babies of angels, if you are a rich person can donate some of your wealth into scholarship for the poor.  In this way you do not only heal yourself, but also make the journey of your soul much more mature.  At the end, you are part of the effort to make this planet a home of angels.”

Meditation

How to Meditate By Yourself (Loving Kindness Meditation)

Mindfuless and Kindness: Inner Sources of Freedom and Happiness (Jim Hopper)

Creating a Sacred Space

For Your Self: Lovingkindness Meditation

Mediation CDs for Healing:

Tara Brach’s Emotional Healing

Jack Kornfield A Lamp in the Darkness: Illuminating the Path Through Difficult Times

(written excerpt from A Lamp in the Darkness here:  http://soundstrue-media.s3.amazonaws.com/pdf/bd02023d-LampintheDarkness-websample.pdf)

For Your Self: Lovingkindness Meditations

Art Therapy

Art and Craft can heal Soul Wounds

Art, Heart and Healing – free 4 week art journaling healing lesson

CranioSacral Therapy

The Clinical Applications of Craniosacral Therapy

“Stress and Traumatic Stress

Craniosacral Therapy effectively reduces stress and anxiety through tissue relaxation and release, lowering blood pressure, improving sleep rest, and reducing sympathetic hypertonus and irritability.

Electroencephalography (EEG) readings demonstrate that, during craniosacral stillpoint, theta wave rhythms in the brain increase, producing a mental state of calm passive awareness(6), which is indicative of a reduction in sympathetic nervous system activity(7). This most probably includes reduced activity in the reticular formation (reticular alarm system), which has outputs to the entire central nervous system, plays a critical role in muscle control, deep tendon reflexes, spasticity, and produces cortisol , “the stress hormone”(9).

Traumatic stress, including both the emotional and the somatic components, can be treated in Craniosacral Therapy through the SomatoEmotional Release process. Craniosacral Therapy has shown that, in physical or emotional trauma, energy impacts and is absorbed into the body. If the body cannot readily defuse the energy, it quarantines the harmful impact in an Energy Cyst, which, like any other toxic lump that the body can’t eliminate, may eventually cause dysfunction and disease.

It should be noted that Craniosacral Therapy and SomatoEmotional Release have been clinically successful in cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and many other traumatic stress conditions.”

EMDR

Resolving Trauma with EMDR article by Graham Taylor

“During EMDR the client is guided to deliberately bring into conscious awareness the sensory memory, their thoughts, and the accompanying emotions and bodily sensations.  Clients need to be willing to experience the emotions and body sensations that accompany the recall of a distressing memory and associated thoughts.

Then by following the moving fingers of the therapist, the client’s eyes move rapidly for a brief period, around 30 seconds.  This produces a distinctive and naturally occurring pattern of electrical activity in the brain, which causes the stored trauma memory to quickly change.  The exact mechanisms in the brain which cause the memory to change have not yet been discovered, but the regions of the brain involved with sensory storage, emotional activation and reasoning all become more active, with changed patterns of nerve cell firing.

During the eye movement the therapist does not talk or offer suggestions.  The client does not try to change any aspect of the memory, and is asked to just notice the experience, to observe their memory, emotions, bodily sensations and thoughts.  At the end of each set of eye movements the client is then asked to report their present experience.  It may be that the sensory memory becomes less detailed or less vivid, and clients often report that the memory has become quite distant.  Commonly the emotional or bodily sensations reduce in intensity quite quickly.  If other associations are observed, they are shared with the therapist.  Further sets of eye movement follow.

Once the trauma memory no longer triggers feelings of distress, the client is asked to associate a more useful thought to the now more distant trauma memory, and further sets of eye movements follow.  The EMDR process is complete when the new perspective feels true even when the old memory is recalled.  This entire process may take as little as ten minutes, or as long as a full session.  Where there are several different experiences underlying the client’s difficulties, it may take a number of sessions to fully resolve them.

EMDR is not suitable for all clients.  Some clients need additional help in developing skills in managing and reducing emotional arousal.  Whilst EMDR looks simple, there are many important procedural steps for the therapist to follow.  It takes over 30 hours of closely supervised training to fully train an EMDR therapist. ”

Myofascial Release

How to release trauma through bodywork

“According to Cutler, there are three things necessary for the body to release stored trauma:

  1. The inner resources to handle the experience that were not in place when the experience originally occurred. (In other words, the person has to be ready emotionally and physically to move past the event of the trauma. The person has to move past the victim stage to the survivor stage)
  2. Space for the traumatic energy to go when released. Being full of tension and stress does not allow space for the stored trauma to move into.
  3. Reconnection of the brain with the area of the body where the trauma is stored.”

Nature Therapy

Nature Therapy and Preventative Medicine (full article on Japanese study)

Source

Center for Environment, Health and Field Sciences, Chiba University, Japan. ymiyazaki@faculty.chiba-u.jp

Abstract

Five million years has passed since a subset of primates recognizably became human. Because we have already spent more than 99.99% of our evolutionary history in natural environments, it is thought that we are essentially adaptive to nature. However, we live in a society characterized by urbanization and artificiality, despite our physiological functions still being adapted to nature. We conducted experiments involving 420 subjects at 35 different forests throughout Japan. As a result, these subjects sitting in natural surroundings showed decreases in the following physiological indices compared with the urban control group: 12.4% decrease in cortisol level, 7.0% decrease in sympathetic nervous activity, 1.4% decrease in systolic blood pressure, and 5.8% decrease in heart rate. This shows that stressful states can be relieved by forest therapy. It should also be noted that parasympathetic nerve activity increased by 55.0%, indicating a relaxed state. The results of walking experiments were also similar. Li et al. demonstrated that immune functions are enhanced by forest therapy. Middle-aged employees volunteered to participate in these experiments. NK (natural killer cells) activity, as an indicator of immune function, increased by 56% on the second day and returned to normal levels. A significant increase of 23% was maintained for 1 month even after these subjects returned to urban life, clearly illustrating the preventive medical effects of nature therapy. We expect nature therapy to play an increasingly important role in preventive medicine in the future.

Yoga

2 Responses to Holistic healing for PTSD

  1. sarah3an says:

    I know that I have only given a brief introduction of myself; this typically is the nature of how I walk across the internet interacting world, but just wanted to say that this is excellent (I was thinking on doing a similar thing). Thank you for putting up your learned wisdom; these may be extremely useful to me.

    Question, do you know if it is a ‘thing’ for bodyworkers/massage therapists to specifically work with individuals with C-PTSD or related conditions and have a focus in that area? My guess is that if it exists, not many are into it.

    I look forward to your discoveries!

    • Casey says:

      I think if therapists are trained in craniosacral therapy – particularly advanced techniques like Somato-Emotional release as taught in the John Upledger Method, they are going to know about it’s treatment for PTSD trauma – both physical and emotional. They may not pursue the advanced techniques, but I know, that my husband wasn’t yet trained in the advanced techniques yet, and I’ve had some cathartic experiences with his level of training. It’s such a gentle, non-invasive, and yet so relaxing and remarkable experience.

      http://upledger.com/content.asp?id=26

      “SER is a therapeutic process that uses and expands on the principles of CranioSacral Therapy to help rid the mind and body of the residual effects of trauma. SER1 offers applications designed to enhance results using CST and other complementary therapies.

      Assess and mobilize the Avenue of Expression working through more than 10 different body components, including the thoracic inlet, hard palate and hyoglossal tissues.
      Locate and release Energy Cysts.
      Release suppressed emotions that may be inhibiting complete structural releases.
      Refine listening and comprehension skills.
      Improve palpation and whole-body evaluation skills.”

      The thing about bodywork, that’s great for patients with PTSD is that it helps put a person back into their bodies. Often, trauma makes us disconnected from our body sensations. With body work, the person’s body is caringly brought back into awareness. When my husband was studying Craniosarcal I and II, he was practicing on other people wanting to learn the technique. As a result of working on each other, some of the other trainees would experience emotional release (ie, they would end up breaking down and crying as suppressed sensations and memories were brought up through the procedure), and yet since they were not advanced enough to ‘hold another’s space’ yet, they were trained to acknowledge, validate, and refer the person for some psychotherapy.

      With the advanced SER, therapists are more trained in grounding themselves and in holding the client’s emotional space, so they can more fully process what they are going through. You’d want an advanced therapist handling it, because there are very strong emotions that can be released.

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