Wednesday, December 31, 2008

PTSD Healing: Moving Toward 2009

Only one day left in 2009 – one day remaining in this PTSD year in which you made no progress/some progress/tons of progress. No matter where you are on your PTSD healing timeline the new year offers the chance for a fresh, rejuvenating start.

Over the past few days we’ve taken a good look at the state of our PTSD, designed PTSD healing resolutions, and considered how to make those resolutions stick.

Tomorrow I’ll post 12 PTSD Healing New Year Resolutions for 2009 - all of which are reachable, all of which we'll explore in the upcoming months so that you inch closer and closer to freedom. But today we’ll take the day off from all this introspection and planning and leave the heavy thinking to my friend Brett Baughman (personal success coach, among other things).

An important way to prepare for change is to visualize the process, not just the old ‘if you can conceive it you can achieve it’, but an image of the entire process as a whole. One of the difficult things about achieving anything is the unexpected pitfalls and pitstops along the way. However, if we break down the process so we see where we are, and if we understand that each part of the process takes some time, then we have more focus, strength and patience.

Dr. Abraham Low, a mental health self-recovery guru, said, “If more of my patients had more patience I’d have less patients.”

So, let’s have some patience with ourselves and the healing process. In Brett’s experience of working with recovery he’s developed the following overview of the healing process, which he sees as containing these 3 simple steps:

Step #1 – We must be willing to let go of our trauma. Making a list of how negatively PTSD affects us helps us see why we should be willing to let it go, and then moves us toward the idea of giving up PTSD because we can quantitatively see the large picture of its impact.

Step #2 – We must focus on what we want. Redefining who we are plays a large role in healing PTSD. So, who are you? Not the PTSD you, but the real you lying dormant underneath? Outside of (and if it weren’t for) PTSD who do you want to be? Making a list of the things you would/could/want to do if PTSD did not exist is an excellent way to begin to see the real you waiting to be set free.

Step #3 – Recharge your therapy. It’s important that we work with people who know how to gently guide us where we need to go, rather than allow us to skirt the real issue(s) just because we’re too afraid or tired to go there. Make sure you’re working with a therapist qualified to understand the process of overcoming trauma. Make sure you’re working with someone strong enough to call you on your manipulations and diversions so you don’t waste time (or money!). If you’re looking for a new therapy adventure, find a therapist who works with Neurolinguistic Programming and its sister technique, Time Line Therapy (for a look at creator Tad James in action watch this fun(ny) video clip). Both of these techniques (in addition to hypnosis) are processes that work to reframe traumatic memories in the subconscious, retrain the brain, release negative emotions and define a new perspective – all of which allows us to plan, embody and create the future so we let go of the past.

It is possible to bridge the gap between PTSD and a joyful life – 2009 can be the year you move farther out onto the span…. Let’s cross it together.

(photo: hbomb1947)

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