Amy Culberg, the well-known writer and humorist with a diehard following, (myself among them) has a powerful teaching story to tell about how she banished a repeating nightmare that had plagued and exhausted her for years.
I love this story because it broadcasts the very empowering truth that there are ways to kick those hideous nightmares to the curb – and in weeks, not months.
Nightmares from posttraumatic stress are nothing like regular, garden-variety, scary dreams – they don’t shift or change, degrade or fade over time. Nope, they stay the same, and remain as vivid and contemporaneous every miserable time.
The databases for mind-body research on guided imagery and meditation just keep on growing, I’m happy to report. There’s a steady growth of well designed, randomized clinical trials that yield promising-to-robust results.
And – be still my heart! - there’s now enough of a cache of respectable research to generate systematic reviews, meta-analyses, scoping reviews, bubble maps, the works. This, people, is a significant step up.
This week, we’re putting the spotlight on University Hospitals of Cleveland and their major initiative to thank employees for the effort, dedication, and self-sacrifices made month over month.
It all started in 1988: UHHS was the very first major institution to request a calming, reassuring guided imagery tape for chemotherapy patients in the waiting room — they took a chance on us, and in effect, launched us and gave us legitimacy in the world of traditional health care.
And in August 2018, the Connor Integrative Health Network of University Hospitals of Cleveland launched a customized streaming page of a dozen stress-relieving, empowering, procedure-easing meditations for providers, staff, patients, and their very own selves.
In our mission to bring health and mental health resources to those most in need, Health Journeys works together with a variety of partners to make sure our guided imagery is easily accessible, targeted to specific, relevant health concerns, and fits the needs and budget of each partner.
We couldn’t do it without them — and today, we’re putting a spotlight on Richard F. Garrett, MSW, a Clinical Social Worker specialist in Albany, Georgia. With over 38 years of diverse professional experience, he also collaborates with other doctors and physicians in his clinical group, Richard F. Garrett Trauma Solutions.
We talk about shame in the singular quite a bit, don’t we? Sometimes we partner it with guilt (though, as we’ve said before, we do make sure to separate the two), but shame rarely works alone. That’s because it tends to create more problems and delay healing others.
Here are some studies that tell the tale — or some important new pieces of it:
I am very interested in the effects of guided imagery on people who have been traumatized. I can see how guided imagery can be difficult to handle and create more anxiety. I can also see how it could be helpful when done in a safe way.
Do you have any suggestions or thoughts on how to teach guided imagery to a person with a history of trauma?
Hello! Belleruth Naparstek here – clinical social worker and founder of Health Journeys. We’ve been producing and distributing evidence-based, psychologically sophisticated and medically accurate guided imagery and meditation audios by foremost leaders in the mind-body field since 1991, when (trust me) it was not such a cool thing to be doing the way it is now.
Anyway, I’m here to say: This, People, is Nurse Appreciation Month!
Now. Let it be known that we’ve always been nuts about nurses, every month of the year; and for years we’ve celebrated Nurses in May. So, it’s wonderful that the rest of the world has noticed the amazingness of nurses and is applauding what they do for the rest of us - with historic, unfettered enthusiasm and appreciation - thanks to their all-in response to caring for people slammed by this vicious virus, but – just sayin’ – nursing greatness is not news to us, and we’re no fly-by-night fans.
Recent studies are clarifying and refining what works best for reducing the severity of posttraumatic stress symptoms in our Veterans, turning long-held assumptions upside down.
Two recent studies find that general meditation training (ie, practices that do not focus on specific traumas, but instead serve as all-round resilience and self-regulation training) can do a way better job at reducing symptoms than what for years was touted at the V.A. as preferred therapies: Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE) and Present-Centered Therapy (PCT).
I just finished Jim Gordon’s new book, The Transformation: Discovering Wholeness and Healing after Trauma, and I liked it so much, I want to tell you about it.
It’s filled with what I value most: clear, practical, doable, and universal healing tools for survivors of traumatic events. His descriptions and instructions are so simple and cogent, readers can replicate them, whether they’re trauma survivors themselves or clinicians working with survivors, or, as is so often the case, both.
The central insult of posttraumatic stress is the sense of helplessness it engenders. Powerlessness is the thread that runs through every traumatized response, whether it’s from a car accident, family violence, a hurricane, or a school massacre…