Date Tags help

These statements seem to attest to the fact that group members need to feel that others listen to their contributions and try to understand. Without this feeling, they feel threatened, they tend to hold back and retreat from the group, or they make renewed efforts to get their individual point of view across until they feel certain it has been understood. The result is that either the group loses potential contributors or else each member responds solely in terms of his own needs with little regard for the group needs. Alpert and Smith (7) have appropriately described such behavior as anarchic participation. Much of it has to do with unconscious parts of the brain that keep interpreting the world as being dangerous, frightening, and unsafe. When you tell a traumatized person You're not a bad person or It wasn't your fault, it's common to be met with: I know that, but I feel that it is. Traumatized people know we shouldn't feel that way, but we do. Our brains go on autopilot to try to manage the difficult feelings, fueling behaviors that may be maladaptive today. Reconnecting to our bodies is a critical aspect of healing. Almost anything that can help you reconnect to your physicality is valuable--running, dancing, karate, to name just a few. A wide range of physically-oriented therapies, such as EMDR, neurofeedback, yoga, and somatic therapy, have shown well-documented success in helping us push beyond our cognitive limitations to heal trauma. BRINGING IT HOME Trauma forces us to see that people are vulnerable to their environment, providing a conceptual framework for understanding how oppressive social and political conditions get inside us and cause personal suffering and dysfunction. In a society organized around domination, it is inevitable that trauma will be pervasive, both because the systemic oppression itself is traumatizing and because the power differential that is an aspect of oppression supports individual acts of domination. Some icebergs are situational and pop up only in the realm of fitness. Because they don't cut such a broad swath in your life, we're not going to bother asserting the mental energy to melt them; A great example of this type of iceberg is Being fit just isn't who I am. A way to steer around it is by challenging that belief's origins. You might say something to yourself like, Fitness is not who my parents were, and I learned that message early on from them. But that message from way back then has no control over my destiny now.

Fitness may not be who I was, but it's who I want to become. As an adult, I'm different from my parents in many ways, so why not in this way, too? It's not a disrespectful thing to live my life differently and to be fit. Even though you're not tackling this iceberg head-on, if you continue to work out and eat healthfully, then gradually that iceberg will melt all by itself. Group Members Feel They Are Accepted. A study conducted by the writer (70) gave some evidence that one of the outcomes of membership in a self-directive group is an increased feeling of acceptance by group members. Personal interviews were conducted with individuals who had gone through an experience in a relatively self-directing group. Although the leadership of the group did not in many respects conform to our conception of group-centered leadership, free discussion was encouraged, the atmosphere was relatively permissive, and responsibility resided in the group to work out its own internal problems and to select its goals. On the basis of a content analysis of the recorded interviews, statements were classified into various categories. Six of the sixteen group members made statements which fell into the following category: Feel more accepted by others; Excerpts from two of the recorded interviews may convey the flavor of such attitudes: Here at the laboratory I'm tackling the most difficult problems that I've always had to face in my life. I'm face to face with my group adjustment. Calling out structural injustice shifts the blame off individuals, similar to how a trauma-informed approach shifts the question from what is wrong with you? This shift acknowledges and destigmatizes the challenges we face and empowers us to engage in personal and community healing. Unresolved trauma doesn't just harm individuals--and drive self-harm--but also drives a cycle wherein victims become perpetrators, harming and traumatizing others. Among those who have committed serious crime, the vast majority have also suffered trauma. Few death row inmates have not suffered lives that read like a case study of extreme abuse, and it is the rare juvenile incarcerated for rape or murder who has not endured a cruel childhood. Abusers are humans with stories, just like us.

Absorbing our culture, we all become perpetrators--perhaps not as explicit abusers, but in the unconscious bias that lodges in our mind and bodies, fueling the microaggressions that slowly and cumulatively traumatize, a topic of considerable discussion later in the article. Understanding this helps us generate compassion for ourselves and others, even as our actions do harm, and instills us with the responsibility to unlearn the lies we have been taught. Trauma lives in the body and sets our behaviors in motion, but we can heal, and even come out stronger. All trauma can disconnect us from our bodies, and the cultural body hierarchy can have the impact of disconnecting some of us even further, deepening our body shame and making us believe our bodies do not belong to us. You'll wake up one day and realize, Hey, you know what? Being fit is who I am. You're in shape, looking and feeling good, and being confronted by so much evidence that your iceberg has no choice but to adjust to your new reality. For the last example, let's go back to Jan's story. Let's say, like her (and many other working moms), you have an iceberg of I should be there at all times for my family. That's a wonderful and noble principle, and one worth keeping. The devil here is in the details. What you want to do is hold the belief, but define very concretely what it truly means in the context of your life. If you believe that you should always be there for the people you love, then doesn't that mean something about preserving your health and life span? Spending twenty minutes at the gym three days a week (and away from your kids) to add ten years to your life might just be worth it! I almost had to overcome some of the childhood hurdles of feelings about groups that I had as a child. I always was more or less of an isolate. It seems to me right now my own feelings are becoming very much involved and that I'm beginning to react spontaneously on the basis of what's in me, rather than as an objective professional person. I have something that I've never felt in my whole life. People are supporting me and helping me. Everything that I have to say -- maybe not everything, but many things that I have to say -- they seem to be of value to somebody.

In other words, for the first time I am finding myself in group life. As an individual, I think I have gained self-confidence from it which I have felt I lacked. I've always felt uncertainty about my ability. I wouldn't have believed I would have done as much talking in our group as I did. It takes active work to reclaim your body--to stay with it, trust it, and care for it. But it can be done. To begin, we must recognize that our traumas are not our fault, and that we are not alone in our woundedness. We are all suffering from the individual and collective traumas of injustice and finding our way in a world that doesn't give equal access, opportunity, or respect. What connects us to one another is our human vulnerability--our need for belonging, for feeling valued and connected to others--and the distress we feel without it. This realization of our shared humanity can move us to seek connection with empathetic and understanding others. Connection with others, in turn, can help us feel safe enough to wade into our pain and vulnerability, rather than trying to escape it through disconnection or other coping behaviors. Stay tuned for deeper discussion of connection and vulnerability in articles of their own. We can also cultivate our self-compassion and learn to give ourselves a break when we engage in behaviors that we're not so proud of--like the ones described in the next article. Healing from trauma helps us to claim our bodies as our own and experience what it means to live in them, themes also explored in future articles. Taking care of yourself means not only that you'll be here longer on the planet but that while here you'll be more vibrant, more energetic, more present with them. You're not violating your belief by carving out time for yourself. You're just shaving off the trouble spots that snag you when you bump up against them. Here's where you need a mantra. You can use something like this: Sometimes, being there for the people I love means taking care of myself by exercising or My needs are not in conflict with my kids' needs. They value my company but will be best served by a parent who is energetic and balanced, not mad at herself for skipping her workout.

If we teach ourselves to stop and think more critically in moments of decision, we have a chance to prevent the stress that comes from making bad choices and gain the resilience that comes from successfully navigating our trouble spots. CHALLENGE THE THOUGHTS As you know, negative thoughts--especially the ones that are lifelong habits--have a way of creeping in just when we're making progress on our goals. So let's be ready for them. I'm never the one to speak up first. I've been inclined to let other people do the talking. Apparently, group members gain more acceptance of themselves, just as does the client in individual therapy. Thus, unless a worker in an industrial organization feels free to criticize his supervisor's judgment or question a policy of management, unless he feels it is safe for him to put forth an idea of his own without being ridiculed, that worker will not be an active participant in the organization, and the total group has lost a potential contributor. The group will be denied the data or the skills which this worker might have brought to bear on a problem and will have reduced the chances of arriving at that solution which would be best for the organization as a whole. Freedom to participate and freedom of communication have been mentioned as conditions required for releasing the adjustive capacities of a group. It is here that the interrelatedness of all of these conditions is most clear. Although there may be no external barriers to communication, and there may be provided all kinds of opportunities for a group member to participate, there will be self-imposed barriers and inhibitions within each group member who does not feel acceptance in the group climate. Perhaps this is why stereotyped and institutionalized techniques for getting group members to participate and communicate so frequently fail to achieve their purpose. In and of themselves, mechanical methods seldom produce freedom of communication and creative participation in a group. We can't fully move our way out of trauma because oppression and other structures of domination are ongoing, but we can learn to treat bodies--our own and others--with the respect and caring they are due. I wish for all of us safety and the opportunity to fully inhabit our bodies. I wish for a future where body sovereignty is a birthright. Some people suggest that because the term Native American includes the word American, it describes people within the frame of their colonizers and should be avoided. Others appreciate that using the word American affirms that they are also Americans. The term American Indian is favored by some, although criticized by others for its misinformed origins, which date back to the 1490s, when Christopher Columbus and other Europeans referred to all of Asia as India.