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September, 2010



By Sandy Plone, Ph.D.

Stories from nature, whether presented in accurate or metaphoric format, can be reframed in such a way as to be relevant for humans; healing lessons can also be gleaned that are relevant to the ways that we psychotherapists learn to help our patients gradually heal from devastating traumas.

In the essay “If You are Hit You Don’t Have To Fall” (2010) by Dr. Dorthea McArthur, several connections to helpful ways of healing trauma for ourselves stand out, since we humans also feel wounded and dazed after traumatic events.

 Some examples of the ways we can be helped to take the blows, accept help from others, then shake it off after it’s understood, moving on with more wisdom can be seen in several currently used therapeutic modalities: Somatic Experiencing is a form of therapy aimed at reliving and resolving the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental and physical trauma-related health problems by focusing on the client’s body sensations (or somatic experiences). Introduced in Dr. Peter Levine’s book  “Waking the Tiger”(1997) the observations of animals in the wild and how they deal with and recover from life-threatening experiences offers insight into the biological healing process. One key to healing traumatic symptoms in humans may lie in our being able to mirror the adaptation of animals (Wikipedia).

Scientific research has also established EMDR  (Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) as effective for posttraumatic stress, as well as stress reduction, anxiety disorders, and other psychological problems. The goal of EMDR treatment is to achieve the most profound treatment effects within the shortest time possible while maintaining stability for the client. It addresses the treatment of issues stemming from disturbing life experiences; outcomes include a more adaptive emotional state, a revised cognitive perspective that includes the integration of insights and patterns that can guide future behaviors for the client (EMDR International Association;


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