Spirituality and Its Place in Healing Trauma.

*Trauma defined as: Deeply distressing or disturbing experience. *Spirituality defined as: The quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things. Rose growing in barbed wireMost of the people coming in to see me say they want to change the way they feel. For many people what this means is that they want to be healed from the long-term effects of having been traumatized by circumstances in their life. People coming in for trauma work generally want to release it and feel liberated from its aftermath. We generally don’t live with what the trauma did to us, we live with what the trauma keeps doing to us day in, day out, relationship after relationship. Trauma leaves its mark. It can have effects on the body and psychology long after the traumatic event has occurred. As Bessel Vander Kolk brilliantly says, “the body keeps score”. We internalize many things from traumatic events and over time they can play themselves out like an echo inside of us. When it comes to working with trauma, I rely on several sources to help me. The first is that, I myself grew up having to endure sexual abuse, emotional trauma and psychological neglect. I understand trauma on a personal level, and understand on a personal level that healing one’s own trauma is paramount to facilitating the healing of trauma for others. Takes one to know one, kinda thing, I guess. Although this alone would never make me qualified to work as a clinician, it does qualify me to hold space for my clients process with deep respect, and heart-felt devotion to their healing. I also rely on my clinical training, my ongoing supervision and my commitment to learning state of the art trauma processing techniques such as EMDR and emotional processing techniques. Being with my clients gives me the opportunity to observe and experience suffering first hand and also to experience the transformative process of healing. Healing and transformation are the fertile ground where trauma and spirituality meet for many clients. Many of my clients want their spirituality to be involved in their healing. For some the context of their spirituality is their practiced religion for others they don’t identify with institutionalized religion at all (and for some, that is where they got traumatized to begin with). For Some spirituality is a committed relationship to their family; a deep love for their partner; their solitude; their service to the community; their meditation practice; Whichever form spirituality takes, the commonality is that our own unique connection to spirit somehow connects us to something greater then ourselves. Spirituality can give us greater meaning to our life, and this sometimes creates the solitary reason as to why we should keep living and create a life well lived. Spirituality becomes a resource from which we can draw the courage and the wisdom to go through the in-depth work of healing. And in this sense spirituality can be a critical resource in healing. Upwards and Onwards. ~Laurel