When we talk about healing from trauma, we know there are often times physical wounds that need to heal, and in time our bodies can take over and repair the damage that was done. However the emotional side of trauma recovery can last much, much longer and have more traumatic, lasting affects. Healing the damage that was done to our brains, to our emotional state on a daily basis is hard work to say the least.
While our body automatically takes over in the physical healing process, our mental state is not quite so automatic. It takes a concerted effort on our own part to take the steps necessary to move forward and overcome the past that may be haunting us.
Emotional Healing from Trauma can be a daunting task, and definitely a dive into uncharted waters. Allowing ourselves to open up old wounds, and connect with a past that we’d rather forget can seem counter intuitive at first. It goes against everything that we’ve tried to save ourselves from reliving for so long.
For anyone that’s gone down that path, is in the midst of healing, or is just beginning to consider taking on the challenge of trauma recovery, this is a podcast that you won’t want to miss.
I recently had the pleasure of chatting with my friend, and Psychologist at Deep Eddy Psychotherapy, Dr. Charlotte Howard. She joins me on Surviving My Podcast to share her insight into many topics, including Emotional Healing from Trauma, Mindfulness, and Self-Compassion.
Charlotte is also the Author of, Awaken to Love – A Heart and Soul Approach to a Better Love Relationship, and has helped hundreds of women learn to love themselves and feel great about who they are and their place in the world. You can read more about her work and experience on her website, YourselfTruly.com.
We start out by chatting on the topic of how to create emotional healing. Charlotte shares that healing comes down to being able to feel the pain of what you experience and then have a loving, compassionate presence with it. She tells us how the latest brain research confirms how the Neural Webs in your brain can shift or change, through therapy. The process of shifting the Neural Webs means that we first have to light them up through therapy and other healing experiences. Essentially we have to connect with the experience before we can start to heal it.
We also talk about loving yourself, and how difficult that can be for a trauma survivor. Heck, even for those who aren’t trauma survivors, the idea of loving ourselves can be a struggle to embrace. The deep shame, and blame that we place on ourselves, perpetuated not only during the trauma but for so long after, is a hard habit to break. The default response for survivors is often one of casting the blame squarely on our own shoulders rather than where it needs to go, at the feet of the abuser(s).
However, as Charlotte explains, the default response that our brain often creates at the time of trauma, can be one of rationalizing that it’s less safe to blame the parent (or whomever the abuser was), rather than to blame ourselves. So we reflect that anger and blame on ourselves to keep the person close to us. This is especially true when the person who is in charge of our very survival, is the same one who’s inflicting the trauma. Even in the midst of abuse, we still have a desire to keep them close.
We talk about how shame plays such a deep role in our daily lives and how much it hinders our recovery from trauma. The shame that we feel having endured the trauma, and then the shame that we feel for not reaching out for help, for not fighting back, and so many other factors build on each other to the point where we feel like there is no alternative but embrace our own unworthiness; accepting that it was all our fault.
Charlotte also shares her insight on mindfulness, and how it goes far beyond meditation. I know back when I first learned of the term, “mindfulness”, I associated it only with meditation. While that in itself has been tremendously effective as a healing tool, there are so many other ways to practice mindfulness every single day. As you’ll hear and perhaps maybe you’ve learned as well in your healing journey, being mindful of who were are and accepting ourselves and our thoughts in a non-judgmental, neutral way opens up a world of healing opportunities.
Dr. Howard shares all of this and so much more during our chat, so I hope that you’ll tune into the podcast and consider sharing it with anyone who might also benefit.
If you’d like to learn more about Charlotte, her research, and her program, Yourself Truly, check out the information on her website and read the reviews of some of her clients who’s lives have been changed in so many amazing ways! Be sure and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Also on a side note, even though her program is mainly geared towards women, the majority of the content can be helpful for guys too. So I’ve decided to go through it and check it out for myself! I’m excited for the opportunity to try it out, and once I’ve completed it, I’ll bring Charlotte back for another show to discuss how it went! Plus she’s agreed to come back in the future to talk more about Mindfulness, Dissociation, and other topics that we’ve touched on during this episode.
Thank you again Dr. Howard for joining me and sharing your insight!
Images of Dr. Charlotte Howard and her book, used with her permission. Feature image courtesy of Pixaby. Social media created by Matt Pappas.