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

One Comment

  1. Yesterday I saw this anonymous note on Facebook and it inspired me to expand this information on my website. I hope it gives practical help and direction for people who are in so much pain.

    Military with PTSD
    Yesterday at 12:16am ·
    From a member: Post anonymous please: I was diagnosed in 2009 w/Severe PTSD, Major depression/Anxiety amongst a few other issues. I have struggled with alcohol off & on. I have tried attending school both online and in person. I have also tried holding a job. I can’t do either. My anxiety elevates and I end up withdrawing from school and walking off a good paying job. I sit at home depressed and feel like a complete failure.. I isolate myself and hate having to rely on meds to help my situation… My family supports me but theres only so much they can do.. I only have 1 good friend whom is a Marine vet.. I’ve thought of suicide often. I can’t deal with everything going on in my life.. I refuse to ask the VA for help being the current state I live in the VA system is extremely corrupt. I’m not the type to just “OFF myself” but…….. I don’t know

    Dear Anonymous, I sincerely hope that the encouraging replies you received have given you some strength.

    And, I hope that these recommendations and resources will give you more options. I am learning every week, more and more, from our country’s best experts on how to help those with trauma. Thank goodness for the internet so we don’t have to wait for the publishing industry to finish their books.
    My heartfelt blessings for you and your journey.

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