Healing after Trauma: Ten Steps Forward, Nine Steps Back

Most of us have suffered psychological wounds. Just as the body can be damaged, so can the mind. But the similarity ends there, because mental and physical injuries heal by different means. At another time I’ll explore physical healing in … Continue reading

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The Soft Animal of the Body

Let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. — Mary Oliver Bessel van der Kolk’s 2014 book, The Body Keeps the Score, reminds me of how strongly both my physical and mental condition have been shaped by … Continue reading

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There’s No Such Thing as an Adverse Childhood

Adverse (ad´vərs, ´advərs; adjective): preventing success or development; harmful; unfavorable. Definitions matter, because the words we apply to our lives influence whether we feel hopeful or discouraged. Can a childhood be adverse? Events during childhood can certainly be harmful and unfavorable. And yes, painful formative … Continue reading

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Child Abuse: Just My Imagination?

Are memories of childhood adversity nothing but self-defeating stories we tell ourselves? It’s easy to question the way childhood hardship often lingers on the mind. Does thinking about the past do more harm than good? A few years ago, after a book and a … Continue reading

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My Childhood Made Me Do It!

The good thing about having been raised badly is that it provides an excuse for the embarrassments of later years. Have you succumbed to addiction? The Adverse Childhood Experience Study demonstrates how susceptibility to alcoholism and drug abuse rises in near-lockstep with one’s burden of early hardships. … Continue reading

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The Watcher

In writings about Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT), mindfulness, and other subjects, the concept of the watcher comes up often. The terms vary; other names for this entity include the observer, the true self, and simply consciousness. Quakers call it … Continue reading

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