By: Jennifer Nurick Psychotherapist based in Australia
Can Energetic Healing Help Treat Trauma?
There are so many different forms of energetic healing that it is difficult to put them all in one basket called ‘energetic healing’. The question is always can some of the different forms of energy healing help with trauma resolution – in my experience – ‘absolutely, they can’!
The definition of trauma has expanded in recent years as research has differentiated between ‘Types of Trauma; shock and complex. 'Shock Trauma' can occur as a medical procedure or a car accident. ‘Complex trauma’, which refers to a person’s exposure to multiple traumatic events often over a long period of time.
Whilst there are similarities between the two, there are also substantial differences, physically, mentally and emotionally. For the purpose of this article we will look at ‘shock trauma’.
Currently, Phoenix Australia: Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) all promote the use of a version of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for the treatment of shock trauma. The premise is that CBT interventions, are based on changing thoughts which will in turn change emotions.
The issue with a purely CBT approach is the lack of integration with the body and the spirit. After a big car accident for example, may leave an individual knowing in their head that the car accident was not your fault, that it is not likely to happen again, but still they may feel terrified to get into a car. I know this from personal experience. I was in a near fatal car accident at age 13. I knew in my head it was very unlikely to happen again, but I resisted getting into a car again for over a year. I would feel panicky and my body would move to the side automatically if a car looked like it wasn’t going to stop. My body held the memory of the accident and was simply reacting to keep me safe. Consider this a physiological coping mechanism developing through my experience.
Many researchers in the area of trauma are calling for the need to integrate body, mind and spirit in the healing of trauma (Levine, 1997; van der Kolk, 2014; Rothschild, 2000). I don’t think we can separate out these three elements. We need to address trauma in a holistic way to address it most effectively. This means integrating techniques such as CBT for the mind, body processes, such as somatic experiencing, for the body, and other modalities that work with the spirit (Brom et. al., 2017).
How do we work with the spirit? There are many ways to work with the spirit. Working with the spirit is about re-connecting to your essence in a way that is powerful and meaningful to you. Being supported by people who care about you. In many aboriginal cultures, traumas were held by the collective, even if they happened to an individual, the collective came together to support the individual in their healing.
Working with spirit is to have a sense of something greater than oneself, a sense of connectedness to nature and being in harmony with nature (Abram, 2017). Taking time to nurture your spirit in a way that is meaningful to you, whether it is painting, gardening or walking with friends. Spiritual work does not have the same definition as it once had, the key is to take tim