Post Traumatic Stress (not a Disorder) is the Healthy Response to Trauma

Even the professional community is just beginning to know how to treat trauma. We have learned that, if we use the classic methods taught in grad school, we can re-injure a client who has been traumatized. So, keep looking until you find someone with mind/body experience for helping those who have been traumatized with methods beyond just communicating.

Big-T traumas are like an accident or a natural disaster. Little-t traumas are usually forms of abuse…often the complex trauma which children experience in childhood from parents who are out of control.

Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal by Belleruth Naparstek 2004.

Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal by Belleruth Naparstek 2004.

Here is trustworthy information about a practical way to help you or your loved-one to heal an emotional wound or trauma.
This is from Belleruth Naparstek at Health Journeys. Her company is the source of superlative mp3 and CD products and is my top recommendation for guided imagery and visualization audio tracks. In collaboration with those designing help for soldiers, she constructed the book so that anyone, anywhere, can get this book and the audio CDs to use on their own.

Three-Stage Program of Guided Imagery

by Belleruth Naparstek from Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal

  1. SKILL FOR SELF-SOOTHING: Simple, basic self-soothing to help return to calm when disturbing images and memories intrude. Rebalancing biochemistry. Regaining locus of control. Mindfulness – blessed distance and detachment. Sidestepping word traps through metaphor and symbol. Grounding and reinhabiting the body. Cognitive retooling: Learning conscious placement of attention. Serotonin: the body’s natural high of heart-opening to love, gratitude and connectivity. Spiritual connection.
    1. Personal readiness to tolerate feelings.
    2. Peaceful Place Imagery; Imagery to Ground Awareness in the Body; Imagery to Focus on the Heart; Imagery for Protection and Support; Affirmations.
    3. Imagery for Restful Sleep
  2. Three Stages of Healing Trauma - Audio CD

    Three Stages of Healing Trauma – Audio CD

    CONNECT WITH FEELINGS: To help reestablish a connection with the world of feelings, face down unpleasant symptoms and move under them to the core of the hurt, in order to cognitively and emotionally integrate what has happened.

    1. Imagery to Support Awareness of Feelings; Imagery to Face Down Anxiety; Imagery for Softening Pain; Imagery to Ease Depression; Imagery to Release Grief; Imagery for Transforming a Symbol.
    2. Imagery to Heal Trauma.
  3. STRENGTHS AND HEALTH: Help with the longer-term fallout: the toll trauma takes on confidence, self-esteem, the possible emergence of compulsive or addictive behaviors, or difficulties with relationships.
    1. Imagery for Confidence
    2. Imagery for Anger and Forgiveness.

Belleruth Naparstek also gives a list of “The Ten Comprehensive Healing Approaches” for Trauma:

The Ten (plus two) Comprehensive Healing Approaches

by Belleruth Naparstek from Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal

Find a therapist who is willing to function as a “general contractor” connecting with the ten techniques as-needed.

Or, for yourself, create the conditions and do the practices that heal guided by the ten comprehensive healing approaches.

  1. Regular sessions or check-in times with a trustworthy therapist or counselor, who functions as the supportive anchor or “reality-check coach” at the center of the work.
  2. A support group or therapy group with fellow survivors who have faced similar traumatic circumstances.
  3. Some basic cognitive information on the nature of the PTSD and how it affects those who suffer from it.
  4. Phases of support, primarily from the class of antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication known as SSRIs–selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, such as Zoloft, Paxil Prozac, and Luvox–especially in the beginning, when symptoms are at their most severe and before self-soothing practices take hold.
  5. Some form of regular prayer for believers, and symbolic ritual for those with a more tenuous connection to matters of the spirit.
  6. Developing skills at a regular relaxation, attunement, or self-soothing practice, such as guided imagery, self-hypnosis, progressive relaxation, breathwork, prayer, meditation, or all of the above.
  7. Some sort of physical exercise or moving meditation, such as yoga, tai chi, qigong, tai bo, aikido, karate, belly dancing, brisk walking, swimming, or aerobic movement.
  8. Some manner of bodywork, using modalities such as masso-therapy, Therapeutic Touch, Zero Balancing, Myofascial Release, Polarity Therapy, Craniosacral Therapy, Reiki, and other forms of energy healing.
  9. Regular journaling in a personal diary or some other form of expressive practice, using dance, movement, poetry, or artwork.
  10. And, of course, guided imagery, both as a stand-alone healing modality, to help integrate deep change; and imagery as it appears in one or more of the new, structured, short-term behavioral methods–the “alphabet therapies” such as EFT, EMDR, PET, SE, and WHEE.

Two additional sources of healing:

  1. Therapeutic Altruism – being involved in some sort of voluntary service or meaningful work to alleviate the suffering of others.
  2. Nutrition and substances – pay careful attention to diet avoiding caffeine, alcohol, sugar, grains, etc. If addicted, maintaining sobriety with support from 12-Step, religion, coach or counselor.



Here is a quote from one of Belleruth Naparstek’s newsletters:

“We continue to be blown away by the reaction that Mimi Guarneri’s Scripps study is getting.  This is the RCT (randomized, controlled trial) where 123 combat exposed Marines, newly returned and between deployments at Camp Pendleton, with symptoms of PTS, were assigned to either 6 sessions (over the course of 3 weeks) of treatment with Healing Touch plus our Healing Trauma imagery; or treatment as usual (which I think was individual counseling with EMDR).

The study found that, over those 3 short weeks, symptoms of PTS declined significantly, as did depression and cynicism.  Pretty exciting stuff, eh?  So there’s been a huge amount of interest coming out of the DoD and the V.A., we’re happy to report.

Some of us are not so surprised to see that biofield therapies plus guided imagery are not only a potent combination for reducing PTS, but one that the service members will actually use and recommend to each other, without any sense of stigma or reluctance.

Kudos to the Samueli Institute for making sure these results got published. The findings appeared in the September 2012 issue of Military Medicine.”

I recommend that you subscribe to the Health Journeys newsletters; you can depend on the excellent quality.



Here is the 60-page report on the newest research by the Department of Defense. The list of mind/body treatments is impressive. We know that it is not effective to try to treat trauma using typical talk therapy. It is necessary to reach the unconscious parts of the brain. Here are some of the best methods which have been vetted by a panel of experts.


Mind Body Skills: Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury website

White Paper from the Department of Defense – 60 pages

Here are some of the essential findings which appear in the report. If you or a loved one has trauma, please make use of these resources for help in alleviating the distress.

Mind/Body Research Paper Table of Contents

Mind/Body Research Paper Table of Contents

Mind/Body Table1 of 4

Mind/Body Table 1 of 4

Mind/Body Table 2 of 4

Mind/Body Table 2 of 4

Mind/Body Table 3 of 4

Mind/Body Table 3 of 4

Mind/Body Table 4 of 4

Mind/Body Table 4 of 4

Mentoring a Generation

We are starting a generation based on the artful use of vast information and the focused implementation of schooled abilities in order to build healthy lives.

DIRECTION AND DESTINATION: Thanks to the synthesis and culmination of advancements through the previous generations, we have the research and the knowledge to indicate the human direction and destination. We are at that point where the conclusions of those on the quest are ready for implementation. Mentors are needed at the front in leadership rather than on the sidelines investigating the why’s and how’s. My years of working with clients and colleagues, researching, studying and curating tell me that the information is ready to be communicated to more people. In so many spheres, we now know why and how we get positive or negative results with individuals, relationships and communities and…we know what to do for improvements.

THE MAPS ARE DONE: We already know the direction of the journey and how to get there. The teachers need to receive the tools discovered and created by the seekers. Our goal, now, is to work our way into visibility to offer the new maps to the general population. This sort of pioneering is foreign to so many of us who have been in the mode of seeking and articulating the answers.

SETTLERS INSTEAD OF EXPLORERS: It’s as if we need to hand the maps to the elders in the settlements rather than to the explorers in their caravans. We now need to present the plans and action steps to those who build homes and communities.

WIELDING TECHNOLOGY: We know how to master ourselves, find meaning and build relationships. A few are schooled into wielding technology and information for health and competence but a decent life escapes so many. Images and reports of diseased or handicapped cultures have become so pervasive that we are anesthetized by our avoidance of or by our sensitivities to lost families, unresolved grief, stunted communication, disrespectful violations, antiquated education and non-existent communities. Many of our people and our relationships don’t reflect the marvels of our instruments. It’s as if alot of the world wide web is being administered by children in middle school. We can learn from the experts and ensure that screen time enriches and expands our abilities and relationships.

BRILLIANT INNOVATORS: When we can locate and learn what is next and best, those responsible for the young forge ahead. Already, a portion of our population has located the brilliant innovators and has begun using that wisdom for young ones. We are starting a generation based on the artful use of vast information and the focused implementation of schooled abilities in order to build a healthy life.

INNATE ABILITIES: The goal is to put our citizens in a position where they can have the experiences necessary for them to grow most of their abilities into usefulness. There are seven innate or developmental human abilities. We already have expert knowledge about these abilities, when they are grown and how they are mastered. All seven can be set in place before a child finishes high school.

The Seven Human Abilities — Developed in Identity

The Seven Human Abilities

The Seven Human Abilities

  1. Navigate the Physical World: Ensure Health and Security
  2. Keep Your Connections: Preserve and Build Relationships
  3. Be Excited About Who You Can Be and What You Can Do: Develop a Positive Sense of Self
  4. Cultivate Compassion and Kindheartedness: Emotional Intelligence
  5. Empower Your Inner Executive: Use Mental Functions with Intention and Willpower
  6. Be a Lifelong Learner: Gain Self-Awareness and Knowledge
  7. Get the Thrill of Giving and Receiving: Character and Virtue


EDUCATE: The next quest is on how to educate and how to replace the outmoded methods. So far, the energy of entrepreneurs has focused on material success. And, now, we have gathered the information on how to use those visionary internal and social inventions for creating an energetic and creative population. Next, if we focus our innovators on providing access to that knowledge, the cultural norms will inform and inspire willingness, meaning and community.

INNOVATE: Already, a portion of our population has located the brilliant innovators and has begun using that wisdom for young ones. The fundamental drive of love always fuels motivation. Parents access bravery which moves them beyond the norm into hunting for better and bringing it to their children. When they can locate and learn what is next and best, those responsible for the young forge ahead. We are ready to curate the information to benefit our children, parents and families and point to the best. When the evidence is made visible enough, it will inspire a snowball effect.

A FORCE FOR GOOD: In July, the Dalai Lama turned 80. Daniel Goleman wrote, “A Force for Good” in honor of him this year. Here is a quote: “He redirects our focus from how bad things are to how our world could be better. He looks beyond just what’s urgent now, for ourselves, and calls for action that will matter for all, including generations far ahead.” And, in his Forward, the Dalai Lama wrote: “While reading this book, please keep in mind that as human beings, equipped with marvelous intelligence and the potential for developing a warm heart, each and every one of us can become a force for good.”

We are starting a generation based on the artful use of vast information and personal abilities in a healthy life.


Here is mine:

My Purpose is that I am a healthy and happy woman and that I co-create a loving marriage with my husband, Jack.

My Mission is to awaken the basic tenets of wisdom that energize human nature.

-Heather Carlile 2015

The Relationship COSTS of Skipping IDENTITY in Adolescence

Erikson's Developmental Needs Stages

Erikson’s Developmental Needs Stages

ONGOING CONFLICT IN MARRIAGE: Couples often continue to treat each other the same way they did when they were teens. One of the most tragic complaints I hear from couples in my Marriage Counseling sessions, is when they describe their arguments, fighting and resentment. Sometimes it has escalated into being mean, harmful, abusive or violent. They are indicating to me that that they are stuck and hope that I can help them.

They are usually stuck because they don’t know how to stop the negativity. They don’t have the knowledge nor the skill to resolve their differences. Even though they love each other, their inability to pour on the love and to share their grievances respectfully, is carving away pieces of their bond. They don’t know how to be generous and empathetic in an intimate relationship and they can’t solve or resolve their conflicts. 

Relationship Roles Ladder

Relationships: Stages of Advancement

MARRIAGE IS FOR GROWN-UPS: Sadly enough, sometimes, my job is to say, in the most respectful manner, “It’s time for you both to grow up.” They continue to treat each other the same way they did when they were teens. As a Marriage Counselor, I remind us that it really requires people who are individuated…who can function as adults. A man and a woman have completed their sense of self so that they are interested in their mate rather than in protecting their own opinions. To build an intimate relationship, it is best to be able to don the roles of a husband and a wife (or husbands and wives) in order to stand side-by-side…a unit which can become the unity of a marriage.

Our Ability to Create INTIMACY (Erikson’s 6th Psychosocial Developmental Stage starts in the First Adulthood between 28 and 30) comes AFTER Adolescence…after we have built our Identity. We grow our abilities in relationships through life which I illustrate in The Stages of Advancement in Life and Relationships at left: Infant, Toddler, Little Girl & Little Boy, Girl & Boy, Teen Girl (Damsel) & Teen Boy (Knight), Man & Woman, Husband & Wife, Protective Gentleman & Gracious Lady, Queen & King, Mother & Father, Grandmother & Grandfather. We understand that this is just a model and that the journey of life can’t be that tidy. But, it’s a teaching tool I created for ensuring that there are no blind spots. My hope is that each person has the advantage of living into all of the roles.

COSTS OF SKIPPING SELF: A Few of the Costs of Skipping IDENTITY (Erikson’s 5th Psychosocial Developmental Stage from 13 to 28) and trying to create an intimate, one-on-one relationship in adolescence before Identity is complete:

IDENTITY: An Integrated Image of Oneself as an Unique Person: A. Try Different Roles, B. Develop a Sense of Self and C. Learn the Meaning of Life through relationships with family, peer groups and out-groups.  (NOT  girlfriends or boyfriends.)

Should we expect otherwise?

  • Losing the attachment or bond with the family unit...with home and, instead, attaching to peers.
  • Dating too young – which locks in a craving for puppy luv and emotional neediness; a fear of being alone (needing a “Number 2” in the sidelines) and which displaces the time and interest necessary for growth, learning, meaning and mastery.
  • Developing unhealthy sexual behaviors or experiencing abuse from sexual inhibitions, prohibition, over-sexualization, sexual coercion or, even, molestation.
  • Lack of emotional intelligence…teenage over-sensitivity, aggressiveness and lack of resilience or robustness to handle miscommunication, fears, hurts, betrayal and anger.
  • Low self-esteem and lack of confidence which causes, among many other dynamics, jealousy, insecurity, bullying and emotional manipulation.
  • Misuse of power through either inflexible discipline, aggression, bullying and punishment or passive entitlement and self-indulgence.
  • Interruption in developing the Inner Executive Functions through family and group dialogue, learning, projects, higher schooling, experimentation, travel, cultivation of skills and art forms.
  • The immature available peer group of friends and community are usually those outcasts who have attached to other immature and/or compulsive people.

HOLD ON TO YOUR KIDS: If you want complete information about maintaining and enriching the healthy attachment to family through adolescence, I encourage you to learn from the genius of Dr. Gordon Neufeld and Dr. Gabor Mate in their collaborative book: Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More than Peers. You can find them both teaching on You Tube.


The immaturity and ignorance born of unfinished adolescence saddle us with:

  • Disrupted education, truancy, incompetence, drop outs
  • Inadequate or unhealthy coping mechanisms which lead to self numbing or self stimulation and, possibly, addiction
  • False beliefs, unclear values, financial incompetence
  • Psychological wounds leading to the emotional detachment and the unhealthy drama of aggression, violence, defiance, combativeness
  • Selfishness, lack of empathy or compassion, hardened heart, self-centeredness
  • Lack of skills in lifestyle and relationships which usually engender single parents, divorce and poverty
  • Confusion about differing personality and gender needs causing fighting, infidelity, co-habitation, domestic violence, breakups and divorce
  • Sexual immaturity or wounds via compromised arousal maps through early sexual activity, exploitation, etc. making people sexually incompetent, deviated or abusive
  • Romantic enmeshment, codependency, pregnancy, teen pregnancy, love addiction, emotional manipulation
  • Alcohol, tobacco, drug use, and other addictions
  • Problems in family functioning, lack of structure, unhealthy eating, school failure, mental illness, financial distress
  • Isolation in screen time: computers, gaming and virtual reality excluding the experiences necessary to communicate, create healthy relationships and a healthy lifestyle.

We face a lack of:

  • Physical Health
  • Bonds with a Happy Tribe or Family
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Identity and Confidence
  • Willpower, Achievement and Security
  • Purpose and Mission
  • Strength of Character and Citizenship.

With these handicaps, people justify compromising a respect for goodness. I hear the complaints and anguish of loneliness, lost hope, narrowed options, addiction, longing for a mate, tolerating abuse, boredom and emptiness.


GENERATIONAL JOURNEY: Our times expose those with the unwillingness to value adulthood, with its requisite psychological agility, clear identity, responsible achievement, service to society and quality activities. We have been on a generational journey to stay young, to seek stimulus or thrills, sensory distraction in pleasure or numbing and present-moment novelty. 

TO CONFRONT, TO OPPOSE, TO EMULATE: Our news media have been reporting incidents which display, as Leo Rosten observed, “what the dissatisfied students were looking for were adults—adults to confront, to oppose, to emulate.” Without education for “Keeping Our Teens On Track,” today’s parents are lost in a snowballing trend to stay young and to avoid growing up.

(See the supporting research done by Diana West in her book, “The Death of the Grown-Up: How America’s Arrested Development is Bringing Down Western Civilization.”)


PARENTING AND TEACHING: Developmental Psychology has mastered how the brain, personality and character grow and methods to ensure that we succeed with parenting and teaching the next generation. Here are eight basic growth goals:

  1. A Matter of the Body – Safety and Health
  2. A Matter of Bonding – Family, Friends and Society
  3. A Matter of Identity – Worthiness and Purpose
  4. A Matter of the Heart – Empathy and Emotional Intelligence
  5. A Matter of Power – Enthusiasm and Willpower
  6. A Matter of Mission – Creativity and Service
  7. A Matter of Character – Virtue and Integrity
  8. A Matter of Relationships – Personal and Professional
Building Blocks of a Healthy Life

Building Blocks of a Healthy Life

Today’s mentors and educators are fully prepared to teach all of these natural abilities now. The only obstacle is how to develop enough providers and how to reach the people who are ready to learn. Perhaps the very mediums that deliver the bad news will create innovative means for delivering the information and resources.

by Heather Carlile

Dallas, Texas 2015