Buddhism: Hope for Trauma Survivors and Healing Modalities

in buddhism •  5 months ago

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I’m currently participating in a clinical study for trauma therapy utilizing psychotherapy with EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and hypnosis. I have applied to several studies over the years and got into some and mostly was not accepted. Regular talk trauma therapy is not consistently effective and many people do not experience relief from their pain. I am diagnosed with Complex Post Traumatic Stress of the “treatment resistant” type. It sucks. But, I’m doing a lot better than I was a few years ago and the thing that I’m dealing with is I still have terrifying flashbacks that make my mind “depersonalize” and “dissociate” and I lose track of perceiving time and space. Essential, my mind thinks I’m in another place and time and I get flooded with the terror of the things that happened to me so I don’t know what’s going on. Luckily, I have someone that comes and checks on me every two weeks and I have a great support system of doctors and other helpers. But, it’s been years and years of psychological pain and people that could use cutting edge therapies cannot afford them and insurance won’t cover it. It’s not right. This can also be traumatizing.

What we do in Buddhist meditation and mindfulness is while we’re moving through these experiences and trying to find healing is not adding stories on top of all this which makes us activate more trauma. Another therapy that deals with this is called Somatic Experiencing (SE). What SE does is it slows down the story, rewinds to before what happened and changes the story. In Buddhism adding a story to an event are called the First Arrow and the Second Arrow. The First Arrow is the actual event and the Second Arrow is the story we add on top of the event. So, say you are getting ready for a dance performance and you fall on the sidewalk. The First Arrow is the pain of twisting your ankle and the Second Arrow would be a story like “oh no, I’m going to let everyone down. I may never get this opportunity again.” Are you with me here?” This could be traumatizing if the event was getting hit by a car. That’s trauma – a painful event that you don’t see coming. In the case of sexual abuse and rape it is doubly traumatizing because it is a complete shock and violation of you’re the most personal and private part of your system/body. This is why it is very important to begin a conversation with children as soon as they can talk so they feel comfortable talking about their private parts so god forbid if anyone ever tried to violate them they are comfortable with the language they will need to speak up about it and not shut down. If they don’t know they can speak up or if someone threatens them they need to feel a sense of agency about protecting themselves. Here is an excellent article written by psychologist Todd B. Kashdan Ph.D. on Psychology Today
Letter to Dads of Daughters on a Sexual Misconduct Epidemic: What can men do to help improve society. I hope you see the importance of this.

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Our Beautiful Story Making Mind

We have such artistic ability, every single one of us. We do this constantly and so if you think you are not creative think again! We can learn to harness our storymaking ability to use it for wonderful purposes instead of the When we have an experience that happens suddenly like someone comes up behind you and pushes you in a crowd what do we say to ourselves? What arises in the mind? Do you ADD stories to the experience that activates and arouses the nervous system? Because we have habit of story-making we do this without even realizing it. Through mindfulness throughout the day we can begin to be the awake being we have the potential to be. I was reading a great little book I got at the retreat center where I do meditation retreats, it’s around here somewhere, but it essentially said that efforting (that’s my made up word) to be mindful is a waste of energy. I had this insight one day while I was doing housework and I suddenly felt shenpa, I wrote about this at length last week here Buddhism: Learning How to Drop Aversion and Be in Grace. Shenpa is that feeling you get write before you start making up the story…so, what was running through my head was “Am I ever going to get this work done so I can relax or – do whatever else – just anything but this. I’m never gonna get this done. Ugh.” I immediately, because of my meditation practice, had an insight. SLOW DOWN. Just slow each action down a tad. You know what? I felt this intense pleasure arise and just did each action a bit slower and enjoyed the whole experience! So, I believe that is what this Zen master was trying to convey. We don’t actually have to do much of anything. When we slow things down we create the space for awareness to reveal itself in our minds and everything becomes a meditation of joy. Hopefully I find the book shortly so I can share it's wisdom with you, it's words filled me with a loving feeling of peace.

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I’m in the study for the next four weeks. I’m going to be writing about my progress. I will also be going over Somatic Experiencing in depth. Also about whatever I think will be helpful to people so people can learn techniques that they can heal themselves which is the purpose of the study. Only with data to back up the efficacy of the techniques of EFT and hypnosis will they someday be covered by insurance so these healing modalities can reach a lot of people that need it and hopefully heal us once and for all. Wish us luck!

What do you think?

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@soulsistashakti is a musical artist and writer based in NYC as well as a practitioner of Buddhist teachings. You can check out my music on my FB artist page at https://www.facebook.com/soulsistashakti

Check out my blog for other essays on Buddhism and meditation

Recent posts

Buddhism: Learning How to Drop Aversion and Be in Grace
Buddhism: Five Buddha Families Part 5 – AMITABHA – RED Buddha of Infinite Light - Compassion for All
Buddhist Psychology Part 4: Transform Yourself With Buddha RATNASAMBHAVA - Gold Buddha of the South - Generosity
Transform Your Life With the Five Buddha Families - Part 3- AKSHOBYA – THE DEEP BLUE BUDDHA "Immovable One"
THE FIVE BUDDHA FAMILIES PART 2 - Green Buddha of the North - AMOGHASIDDHI – Fearless Energy and Action
Buddhist Psychology: What Are the Five Buddha Families?
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My First 10 Day Buddhist Samatha-Vipassana Meditation Retreat in NYC

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This: "people that could use cutting edge therapies cannot afford them and insurance won’t cover it. It’s not right. This can also be traumatizing." YES. The current systems are so unsupportive to so many that suffer-too many - and so unjustly, so sadly, their gifts and potential to contribute can get lost in all the unresolved and compounded traumas and losses that don't have the proper, supported outlets to express, release, and ultimately heal. I haven't read all your posts but the few I've found - well I must say, I'm impressed by the breadth of work I see represented here, and grateful you are sharing your knowledge and experience with spiritual and healing modalities. I have no doubt you are helping others with this generosity of your spirit. Namaste <3

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Oh, I meant to mention (though I'm guessing you do know about it, since it's somewhat similar to EFT, that EMDR helped me a lot in the past (look at it if you aren't familiar and might be interested) And yes, affordable access keeps me from returning to it though I've suffered more trauma since I last worked with it....

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Hi :) Sorry to hear you have had such a rough time @resumeconfidence. Hopefully, if all goes well the psychotherapist will have a way to share some techniques, youtube or something or maybe I will. The hypnotherapy part blew me away, I was not expecting it to be so effective and personally meaningful. Really look forward to the next session which is Thursday evening. :)

Thank you for your post and the extremely important work you do! Very interested to see the results of the study!

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You're welcome I am so excited to share :) I'm posting this afternoon about the most important mental exercise Buddhism teaches us not to suffer more, which I touched on briefly here. Warmest blessings to you!