I am open to a little bit of magic in my day. I will let something come….and I will let something go. I will appreciate a blessing and I will release a resentment. When I appreciate, whatever it is that I am giving thanks for, seems to grow inside of me, it brightens, it expands. When I let go of a resentment, I am releasing something I am holding onto and I am making room inside of me for more good to come in.
I hear some people have trouble with therapy, that it can take years for them to open up to their doctors, let alone cry or break down. Not me. Day one, I told my therapist, Amy Bernstein, “I’ll just tell you everything, and we’ll go from there.”
Though some observers argue that we live in a “secular age,” religion remains central in many Americans’ lives. More than half of us describe ourselves as “religious” and worship regularly in churches, temples, and mosques, mostly churches. The number was even larger in previous generations, and, in truth, far more grew up “religious” than not. For most of us, religion was a positive influence in childhood: a set of beliefs, a way of seeing the world, and a pattern of ritual that offered meaning, comfort, and community. But for some, religion proved a source of trauma.
Digital staff writer for the Books desk at the New York Times, Concepción de León, discusses her experience with trauma and her therapeutic journey in "How to Rewire Your Traumatized Brain".
We need to feel the stories of our lives in order to heal them. But trauma is all about not feeling. Even asking the question, “Can you tell me about your trauma?” can be befuddling if not disturbing for the client who has learned to put their head down, turn off their sensitivities and mush on.
Visit the living room of the average family that is “living with,” or should I say “drowning in,” addiction and you are likely to find a family that is functioning in emotional extremes. Where feelings can explode and get very big, very fast or implode and disappear into “nowhere” with equal velocity. Where what doesn’t matter can get unusual focus while what does matter can be routinely swept under the rug. A family in which small, fairly insignificant behaviors can be blown way out of proportion while outrageous or even abusive ones can go entirely ignored and unidentified. Where things don’t really get talked about but instead become shelved, circumvented or downright denied.
It would be reasonable to assume that men’s issues are adequately addressed in alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment. However, that is simply not the case. According to SAMHSA, men are consistently seventy-percent of the treatment admissions each year; it would benefit all involved to ensure that they are receiving the best and most appropriate services available. While addiction treatment has historically focused on men and a man’s perspective it has also not recognized the full array of problems that men have – in their addictions or recovery processes.
As a psychologist who works with trauma, I am very much aware of how difficult it can be to recall details of a traumatic experience. Even the question, “can you tell me about your trauma?” can be befuddling, if not somewhat disturbing, to one who has experienced it...