Trauma Resilience and Healing

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How Do We Become Trauma Resilient?
How Do We Recognize and Find Healing from the Traumas that Possess Us?
How Do We Help Others Become Trauma Resilient?
How Do We Help Others Heal from the Traumas that Possess Them?
Why Are These Important Questions More Urgent that Ever?

Why Am I Asking These Questions? 
And Asking Them Right Now?
And Living Them Right Now?

First of all, I have to establish the fact that the answers to all of these questions can only be found at an intersection.  What intersection?  The intersection where insights from science, spirituality and psychology (body, mind spirit) meet.  Resilience to and healing from trauma are facilitated by learning and experience that meet at the crossroads called “Reality.”

I want to share a short section of the 4th chapter of my book, God Is Just Love, so that you can better understand why finding our way to this body, mind spirit intersection is a life and death matter.

In The Nick of Time

How do I know that the reconciliation of spirituality and science is a matter of life and death?

I know because it was my life that was, for years, on the proverbial chopping block.  It was my body, mind and spirit that had to peacefully resolve the conflict between religion and science or I would most likely have died. More than once, I wanted to die.  Depression runs in my extended family, on both sides.  Stories abound in our family history concerning the suffering of aunts, uncles and cousins.  Their pain and trauma have, it seems to me, been directly connected to various dysfunctions like alcoholism, sexual abuse, slow suicides, and all manner of diminished lives.  One of my abiding life questions has been, since my teen years, is there a way out of this depressing cycle?

My answer today is? “YES!” 

Next question.  Who showed me the way through this repeating and terrifying crisis?

My answer, today.   Psychologists, psychiatrists, pharmacologists, spiritual teachers and guides, and above all God, experienced as unconditional and always present love.  Together, spirituality and science possessed enough of the truth to foster healing and uplift me towards abundant life.

However, at the beginning—my earliest memory of depression is from 8th grade–none of these resources were available to me.  I just toughed it out.  The culture mocked counseling.  Religion demonized psychiatry.  Family frightened me away from both illegal and legal drugs.  My emotional health was dominated by a fear of abandonment.  My image of God was one of conditional love.  Fear was at the heart of my life story.  (You can learn much about my story in my first book, The Extraordinary Ordinary uplifts us, Halfway to Heaven, 2011, available at  .)

In college, 1969, counseling became a resource and remained so for many years.  At age 33, spiritual practice (lectio divina, prayer) and wisdom found in books (Henri Nouwen, The Wounded Healer) and at conferences, (“Training in the Arts of Spiritual Counseling and Healing Prayer,” led by Walter Wink and Morton Kelsey) began supporting my journey towards wholeness.  Between 1985 and 1988, my maturing spirituality led me towards a radically renovated image of God.”  The distant and angry God began to be, in the hidden depths of my soul, the “available and adoring God.”  I learned, am still learning, to take all kinds of pain to God in prayer (see Wisdom Jesus, by Cynthia Bourgeault, chapter 15 on ”The Welcoming Prayer), and leave it there, at least until the next time. Not until 1990 did desperation cause me to get past my fear of psychiatry and medications (Lithium, Effexor).  I began to know, and counsel others, that healing always required a body, mind, spirit partnership.

 At that time, I began feeling this deep sorrow for my ancestors who were never blessed by the emergence of new anti-depressants, nor the resources of spiritual counseling.  In the last decade or so all of these sources of healing have been swirling around my life, one helping and then another.

 I am always aware of the risks I take when I allow my life to be stretched– like the risk of taking on a massive research and writing project.  Yet, I stay as close as I can to all the sources of my healing—spirituality and science, prayer and psychiatry, love and medicine.  I counsel others that healing always requires a body-mind-spirit partnership.

And I continue to grieve for those who believe that in this area of healing, spirituality and science are enemies.

Now, here are very brief introductory answers to the six questions above, with the promise that in this newsletter and my ministry, you will be reading and seeing much more from me, and many others who also care deeply about your trauma and your healing.

How Do We Become Trauma Resilient?  How Do We Recognize and Find Healing from the Traumas that Possess Us?  Answers to all six questions begin with first asking and answering these questions.  Only “Wounded Healers” need apply for the joy of helping others with their traumas.  “Physician, Heal Thyself.”  12 Step programs offer one of the best paths for this healing.

How Do We Help Others Become Trama Resilient?  How Do We Help Others Heal from the Traumas that Possess Them?  Once, by way of our own healing, we qualify for helping others with their traumas, we continue to learn and practice the healing arts.  There are many models.  (TRM?  CRM?  What are these?  Please find out.)

Why Are These Important Questions More Critical and Urgent that Ever?  We have entertered, and are quickly diving deeper and deeper, into the most severe and univeral spiritual and mental health crisis in human history.  I have no doubt of this fact.  If you can not yet see this, find your way of looking up to see the signs of the times.

Why Am I Asking These Questions?  And Asking Them Right Now?  And living them right now? This is, for me, a body, mind spirit question and must have a comprehensive answer. I am engaged in this work because of the word I have been given, from science, from the scriptures and the Spirit, and from my body.

The body keeps the score, and so do the scriptures and the scientists and especially God who is Just Love.  I have been reading and listening and paying attention.  That is the answer to the “Why?”  (KCW)

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