The Meadows Blog

Saturday, 07 May 2016 00:00

Forgiving Your Mother… and Yourself

Mother’s Day is time to celebrate and show our love and appreciation to our mothers, grandmothers, and female caretakers. However, many of us—in fact probably most of us—have complicated relationships with our mothers. Even if our mothers were well-intentioned, they may not have been able to provide us with what we needed emotionally, because they were stuck living out their own unresolved pain and childhood trauma.

Your early relationship with your mother, without a doubt, had a profound impact on who you are today, in ways both positive and negative. It’s important to always be grateful and appreciative for the gifts we did get from our mothers. But, it’s equally important to non-judgmentally take a look at some of the negative beliefs they may have unintentionally passed onto us, because these beliefs can have a profound impact on the people we are today.

Facing the Mother Wound

Oftentimes, at the center of our feelings of disempowerment and emptiness—feelings that themselves are often at the core of addiction, depression, anxiety and other behavioral disorders—is the mother wound. The mother wound is the emotional trauma that your mother was unable to heal within herself and passed down to you.

The mother wound begins to develop at a very young age. It consists of that untrue and harmful beliefs that you were responsible for your mother’s pain and that it was your job to make your mother happy by being “good.”

The mother wound often is the source of emotional pain you may feel from comparison (not feeling good enough); shame (the constant feeling that there is something wrong with you); attenuation (the belief that you have to keep yourself small or hidden in order to be loved); and guilt (feeling bad about what you have, or feeling bad for wanting more than you have.) If you carry this wound with you, you may find yourself struggling day-to-day in the following ways:

  • You tolerate a lot of mistreatment from others.
  • You feel overly-competitive with other people.
  • You sabotage yourself in your career, relationships, and pursuits of personal fulfillment.
  • You are overly rigid or domineering.
  • You are overly empathetic and deferential, failing to meet your own needs in favor of others’.
  • You hold back or hide your true self, so not to threaten or offend others.
  • You struggle with addiction, depression, eating disorders and other behavioral health issues.

Most mothers do want to see their children find happiness and succeed. But, if your mother did not come to terms with her own pain and emotional trauma, nor come to terms with the emotional sacrifices she had to make in becoming a mother, her interactions with you may have included subtle messages that caused you to feel guilt, shame, or obligation.

Before a mother can prevent passing down her wounds to her children, she has to fully grieve and mourn her own losses. She also has to make sure she does not rely on her children as her or only or primary source of emotional support or fulfillment.

Face Your Pain

Many people feel especially uncomfortable addressing the pain they inherited from their mothers. Oftentimes, it is because of the very sense of obligation we feel from our mother wound to be the person who always builds her up, and never tears her down. It is, however, entirely possible to heal your own pain without blaming or hating your mother. In fact, once you have faced and released your own pain, you may find it easier than ever to forgive your mother’s shortcomings and fully appreciate the totality of your relationship with her, both good and bad.

The past is never past. It lives on, every day, in the relational and emotional challenges you face in the ultimate pursuit of inner peace and fulfillment. If you avoid dealing with the pain leftover from what is perhaps the most foundational relationship of your life, you miss the chance to discover your true self and live up to your real, and enormous, potential.

Where Do I Start?

If you’re ready to address and move beyond your childhood trauma, we recommend our renowned Survivors I workshop. In a safe, supportive environment, Survivors I explores the origins that fuel self-defeating behaviors such as addictions, trauma, mood disorders, and troubling relationships. Childhood wounding up to age 18 is approached with compassion and skills are taught in order to re-parent yourself. The primary focus of this workshop is processing and releasing the negative messages and emotions that were rooted in painful experiences from the past allowing the freedom to embody your authentic self.

For more information, call us at 1-800-244-4949 or contact us online.

Published in Relationships
Tuesday, 26 April 2016 00:00

Summer Workshops at The Meadows

Renew your mind, body and spirit this summer with an intensive workshop at the Rio Retreat Center at The Meadows. We combine our expert-led therapeutic workshops with Yoga, Tai Chi, expressive arts, acupuncture, equine therapy, evening social events, and a beautiful, serene desert landscape to facilitate holistic healing.

Register Today!

Book your stay at a nearby resort, or at our brand new Bunkhouse. Register between now and June 30 and receive a 25 percent discount on registration fees.

Rio Retreat at The Meadows Summer Workshop Calendar

For more information, or to register, call 800-244-4949.

MAY 2016

Every Week: Survivors I
Scheduled Upon Request: Family Workshop
May 9 - 13: Mind & Heart: A Mindful Path to Wholehearted Living
May 9 - 13: Strengthening Coupleship: Working Together
May 15 - 19: Discovery to Recovery: For Couples Healing From Sex Addiction, Intensive 2
May 16 - 20: Love Addiction/Love Avoidance
May 23 - 27: Men's Sexual Recovery
May 30 - June 3: Survivors II
May 30 - June 3: Healing Intimate Treason: For Partners of Sex Addiction

JUNE 2016

Every Week: Survivors I
Scheduled Upon Request: Family Workshop
June 6 - 10: Strengthening Coupleship: Working Together
June 13 - 17: Love Addiction/Love Avoidance
June 13 - 17: Men's Sexual Recovery
June 20 - 24: Discovery to Recovery: For Couples Healing From Sex Addiction, Intensive 3
June 20 - 24: Living in Abundance: Balancing Work, Money and Relationships
June 27 - July 1: Living in Abundance: Balancing Work, Money and Relationships
June 27 - July 1: Survivors II

JULY 2016

Every Week: Survivors I
Scheduled Upon Request: Family Workshop
July 4 - 8: A Man's Way Retreat
July 11 - 15: Men's Sexual Recovery
July 11 - 15: Journey of a Woman's Heart: Finding True Intimacy
July 11 - 15: Strengthening Coupleship: Working Together
July 18 - 22: Healing Intimate Treason: For Partners of Sex Addiction
July 18 - 22: Love Addiction/Love Avoidance
July 25 - 29: Discovery to Recovery: For Couples Healing From Sex Addiction, Intensive 1


Every Week: Survivors I
Scheduled Upon Request: Family Workshop
August 1 - 5: Healing Heartache: A Grief and Loss Workshop
August 1 - 5: Men's Sexual Recovery
August 8 - 12: Strengthening Coupleship: Working Together
August 8 - 12: The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships
August 15 - 19: Mind & Heart: A Mindful Path to Wholehearted Living
August 15 - 19: Survivors II
August 22 - 26: Love Addiction/Love Avoidance
August 22 - 26: Men's Sexual Recovery
August 29 - September 2: Healing Intimate Treason: For Partners of Sex Addiction

About The Rio Retreat Center at The Meadows

Since the 1980s, The Meadows has been the forerunner in providing intensive workshops that transform lives. Our new Rio Retreat Center at The Meadows offers a variety of unique workshops available to all interested individuals. All workshops are led by world class Meadows clinicians, as well as industry leaders from around the country who specialize in specific areas of professional growth.

Published in Workshops

In a recent video from PESI Inc., Dr. Bessel van der Kolk— a Senior Fellow at The Meadows— explains how yoga traditions can help prevent psychological trauma patients from getting stuck during the course of their treatment.

Traumatized people’s bodies get rewired in a way that makes them feel that they are constantly in danger. They get tightness in their chests, they feel restless, agitated, and unable to focus. This makes it necessary for them to explore how they can find stillness and become more present in the here and now.

Two major avenues for learning how to quiet your mind and body are movement and breath. Yoga and Tai Chi are both traditions that use movement and breath to help people improve their interoception, or sense of the body from within.

Learn more from Dr. van der Kolk about the role yoga and interoception can play in healing from trauma in this brief video:

Trauma Yoga

If you’re a behavioral health professional, check out Dr. van der Kolk’s 6-week Intensive Trauma Treatment Course to take a deep dive into numerous effective trauma treatment modalities. Register today, because spaces are limited.

Published in Trauma

The treatment of psychological and emotional trauma is at the heart of everything we do at our Meadows Behavioral Healthcare programs. (The Meadows, The Claudia Black Young Adult Center, Gentle Path at the Meadows, Remuda Ranch, The Meadows Outpatient Center and Rio Retreat Center.) We’re grateful to have Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, Dr. Peter Levine and Dr. Shelley Uram as Senior Fellows, who help guide our staff and ensure that we stay on the cutting edge of therapeutic inventions to help people fully recover from addiction, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, sex addiction, eating disorders and many other behavioral health issues.

That’s also why we’re proud to be sponsors of the 27th Annual International Trauma Conference, taking place in Boston, Massachusetts, June 1 – 4. This year’s theme is “Psychological Trauma: Neuroscience, Self-Identity and Therapeutic Interventions.”

The conference is being directed by Dr. van der Kolk, who is the author of The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. Dr. Shelley Uram will lead a workshop on Friday afternoon called “Reclaiming Our Lives from ‘little t’ Trauma;” and, Dr. Peter Levine will give a keynote address on Somatic Experiencing on Saturday morning.

Early registration ends May 2. Continuing Education Credits are available for behavioral health professionals. Visit the conference website for more information.

About The Conference

For the past three decades, the International Trauma conference has examined how trauma affects psychological and biological processes, and how the damage caused by overwhelming life experiences can be reversed. This year, they will explore new frontiers in this work— frontiers that transcend old paradigms of talking, analyzing and administering drugs.

The study of psychological trauma has been accompanied by an explosion of knowledge about how experience shapes the central nervous system and the formation of the self. Developments in the neurosciences, developmental psychopathology, and information processing have contributed to our understanding of how brain function is shaped by experience and that life itself continually transforms perception and biology.

The study of trauma has probably been the single most fertile area in helping to develop a deeper understanding of the relationship among the emotional, cognitive, social and biological forces that shape human development.

Researchers have learned that most experience is automatically processed on a subcortical level, i.e., by “unconscious” interpretations that take place outside of awareness. Insight and understanding have only a limited influence on the operation of these subcortical processes. When addressing the problems of traumatized people who, in a myriad of ways, continue to react to current experience as a replay of the past, there is a need for therapeutic methods that do not depend exclusively on understanding and cognition.

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from the industry’s top leaders in neurobehavioral health!

Published in Events and Training

If you’re a certified sex addiction therapist, or someone who has been through sex addiction treatment, you may be familiar with the concept of the trauma egg. It plays an important role in the completion of Task 9, Acknowledge Cycles of Abuse, in Dr. Patrick Carnes’ 30 Task Model of sex addiction treatment.

Its use is not limited to sex addiction treatment, though. Completing and sharing a trauma egg in group therapy or with a therapist or sponsor can be a very empowering activity for any one working through the aftermath of emotional trauma.

The trauma egg was developed as a tool for treating emotional trauma by Marilyn Murray, an internationally-recognized authority on trauma, abuse, deprivation, and its consequences. Along with The Circles of Intimacy, The Scindo Syndrome, and The Survival Bricks, it makes up what’s known as The Murray Method, which she has developed and expanded upon throughout her more than 30 years of experience.

Marilyn’s work inspires and complements the work of our some of our own therapists and Senior Fellows at The Meadows. That’s why we feel especially honored that Marilyn herself has offered to facilitate a Murray Method Workshop at The Meadows Outpatient Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. It is the first time in more than 10 years that Marilyn has offered her training in the United States.

The Trauma Egg

Completing a trauma egg allows a person to take an inventory of emotionally traumatic and painful events that took place throughout their lives from birth to the present day. More importantly, the activity helps them to begin to identify the traumatic personal beliefs that resulted from those events.

For example, if a child experiences a lot of abandonment, he or she forms a belief to explain why they were abandoned. The belief they create may be that there were not good enough or that they were unworthy.

Traumatic beliefs are disempowering and painful, and they prevent people from understanding their real emotional needs. Those who don’t understand their emotional needs often don’t know how to fulfill them in healthy ways, and may turn to drugs, alcohol, sex, or a variety of other substances and activities to try and fill the emptiness left behind by their unmet emotional needs.

Through sharing the trauma egg with a therapist or therapy group, a person can gain a new perspective on the events in their lives, and begin to challenge and change their core, traumatic beliefs. This is the key to recovery from addictions and many other behavioral disorders.

trauma egg diagram

The Murray Method Workshop

The Murray Method workshop is a four-day training session that gives therapists and mental health professionals the opportunity to complete a trauma egg of their own and to develop deeper insights about the effects of trauma and abuse on their patients and themselves. CEUs are available for those who complete the course.

Shereen Hariri, MFT, attended one of Marilyn’s Murray Method workshops and says it really enhanced her perspectives on trauma and treatment:

“We were using [the trauma egg] a little bit with our intensive outpatient clients who were coming in for sex addiction and love addiction, but when I took the course with her… I just really got this experience of getting it….If you want to the full experience, go find Marilyn and do the whole thing with her.”

Ralph H. Earle (MDiv, PhD, ABPP, LMFT, CSAT) of Psychological Counseling Services in Scottsdale, Arizona says he also recommends Marilyn Murray and her Murray Method without reservation.

“I have used the Murray Method both personally and professionally. The method impacted me in terms of my own growth—most importantly, I was “Marilynized” almost 30 years ago when Marilyn was developing her method. It also impacted me in terms of my relationship with my son… The Murray Method has literally been used every day in our practice by all of our therapists.”

Although the workshop is geared toward professionals, all are welcome to attend. Mostly anyone could benefit from spending time thinking about their core beliefs and how they may be holding them back. One of our Intake coordinators would be happy to help you determine whether this workshop is right for you.

Sessions of The Murray Method will be offered at The Meadows Outpatient Center on

  • February 18 – 21, 2016  
  • March 17 – 20, 2016
  • April 14 – 17, 2016

To learn more about the workshop, or to register, call 800-244-4949 or visit The Meadows Outpatient Center Events page.

Published in Trauma

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