Tag Archives: Sensorimotor Psychotherapy

Successful Strategies for Deep Healing of Trauma and Pain

Using Mind-Body Connection for Deep Healing

The average medical marijuana cardholder in California is a 32-year-old male who uses it for chronic pain.  If so many young people have so much chronic pain, it’s tempting to think medical marijuana is for “anyone who can fake an ache,” according to Professor Jon Caulkins of Carnegie Mellon

Another part of the equation is that physical pain often develops as a result of stressful events lodged in the body.  It’s also possible that many ‘patients,’ including those who are veterans, actually suffer from deep emotional pain and trauma.  (Read Part 1 for the Mind-Body Connection to trauma and pain.)

Two young women who wrote to Parents Opposed to Pot explained their need for medical marijuana to deal with traumatic childhoods. One said it was because her mother had committed suicide, while the other said she had experienced traumatizing sexual abuse.

Using marijuana in order to numb painful feelings, or for getting high, will only mask the underlying emotional pain. In all cases of psychological issues, including PTSD, marijuana works against true healing, no matter how much temporary relief it provides.

21st Century Strategies for Healing

Since pain or disease (dis  ease) is imbalance, the body which created the disease can also be the body which heals the disease.

Dr. Libby Stuyt, a professional advisor to Parents Opposed to Pot uses Brain Synchronization Therapy to heal trauma in the body and
bad memories. The neuroplasticity of the brain means that even post-traumatic experiences can be weakened or discarded. At the same time, the brain can relearn forgotten neural pathways.

Dr. Libby Stuyt is Medical Director for the Circle Program at the Colorado Mental Health Institute

Besides Brain Synchronization Therapy, Dr. Stuyt recommends both EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Recovery) and Biofeedback based on heart rate variability.

Neurofeedback is another therapy which can heal trauma, PTSD and ADHD without drugs.  Even the Washington Post describes very positive outcomes from Neurofeedback for healing additional problems such as depression and severe pain.

Some therapists have found a newer technique, Brainspotting, to be  even more effective than EMDR.   The theory is that Brainspotting taps into the body’s innate self-scanning capacity to process and release focused areas that are maladaptive.  Brainspotting can often reduce and eliminate body pain and tension associated with physical conditions.

Listen to Dr. Libby Stuyt’s video about why marijuana is not an effective treatment for PTSD.

Another technique, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy provides healing in which the victim need not remember or relive the painful experiences.   This therapy changes the brain’s reactions to events to change how legacy of trauma affects the victim.  Sensorimotor therapy treats the effects of events as they recur in response to reminders of the trauma.

Treating Root Causes Rather than Just the Symptoms

The good news is that there are ways to treat PTSD and chronic pain that don’t involve drugs, ways that treat the root causes rather than symptoms.  “Medical” marijuana does not provide deep healing.

Medical marijuana is an addiction-for-profit industry which needs new users and promotes long-term use.   Habitual users run the risk of becoming psychotic.  Like continuous opiate users, they may also develop addiction.

At the Alternative Wellness Club, published in Oregonlive, 2014, patients were introduced to “dabbing.” Some of these  users  claimed to have bipolar disorder which may in fact be related to trauma–or triggered by marijuana. Dabbing increases the risk for addiction and psychosis.

The recent report from National Academy of Science found marijuana can give moderate relief to three medical conditions, pain being one of the conditions.  Although the human body has cannabinoid receptors, marijuana’s cannabinoids are foreign to our bodies.  They’re not endo-cannabinoids, the body’s natural occurring chemicals, but exo-cannabinoids.  With marijuana use over time, THC will replace the cannabinoids associated with joy and happiness.

Therefore, it’s hard to claim THC is truly “natural” for humans.

Mind-body healing solutions are the “natural” solutions, and they cannot be addictive.  They offer help for chronic suffering in ways “medical” marijuana and pharmaceutical medicines cannot help.

Read Parts 3 and 4 to find out more about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and drug policy.

*Quote is from Professor Jonathan Caulkins of Carnegie Mellon.

Mind-Body Solutions Offer Healing Without Medicine

Trauma Becomes Biology, But There’s Hope

How do we help children with difficult childhoods grow into adulthood without becoming drug users?  Is healing possible without using medicine?  Can our health system devise ways to treat chronic pain and illness without using marijuana or pharmaceutical drugs?

Those who grow up in difficult, traumatic situations – those whose bodies hold a painful past of abuse, shock or emotional pain – respond to opioid pain pills differently from the way non-traumatized people do.  They may be primed for opioid pill addiction more than others, according to Jon Daily of Recovery Happens, Sacramento. Furthermore, emotional trauma during childhood also leads to hypertension and a host of chronic illnesses.

Popular writer Monica Cassani agrees.   She describes on her website how Chronic illness is trauma embodied.    Her blog is called Beyond Meds

Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia now recognize Adverse Childhood Experiences as part of public health.  Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACEs are considered contributing factors to depression and a host of chronic diseases.   Experts use 10 paradigms for testing childhood trauma.  A score of 4 or more ACEs makes a person 460 percent more likely to suffer from depression.  A score of 6 or more takes 20 years off life.  Adults with high ACE scores are susceptible to chronic diseases that are rare in those who do not have ACEs.

image
Childhood Disrupted and The Body Keeps the Score are two excellent books for understanding childhood trauma and its relationship to pain and illness.

The death of a parent, divorce, family drug abuse, physical and sexual abuse are among the events that can be counted as ACEs. These traumas are singled out because of their unexpected and unpredictable nature.  Severe bullying, excessive parental criticism are included, as well as living in a violent neighborhood.  Extreme poverty also creates stressful situations which can be compounded by abuse and the other problems.

Healing Chronic Disease Through Mind-Body Solutions

There’s good news.   Psychology,  Psychiatry and the medical field can lead the way for overcomimg both disease and emotional garbage. Understanding and applying the mind-body connection can work miracles without medicine.  Several notable scholars have led the way.  Francine Shapiro’s Getting Past Your Past and Bessel van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score provide excellent explanations and understanding.  Books by Daniel Siegel and Peter Levine offer therapeutic keys to healing.

Donna Jackson Nakazawa wrote one of the most straightforward explanations of healing ACEs in her new book.  Childhood Interrupted explains the causes of trauma in childhood and how to heal it.   In another book, The Last Best Cure, she describes her own healing from two debilitating auto-immune diseases.   (Nakazawa experienced the sudden traumatic death of her father when she was twelve.  While she outwardly coped, her body suffered deeply.) A science journalist, Nakazawa writes for the general public.

Part 2 will cover healing psychiatric problems through mind-body solutions, and Part 3 will summarize the growing problem of traumatized childrenPart 4 explains how we’re creating a new, larger generation of traumatized children.