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Last Updated on May 6, 2016

Psychologists, mental health counselors and nowadays have a persistent crisis state, or many tools to work with when helping individuals through traumatic experiences or episodes. From extreme weather disasters to school shootings, earthquakes to being victimized by family violence, to reaching out to help individuals injured or exposed to a injury at the Oklahoma City bombing to the Boston Marathon bombings, there are certain emotional health strategies that can aid in healing injury and related depression and mood disorders.


Nevin G. Alderman, MA, CMHC, Clinical Director at New Haven Residential Treatment Center in Provo, Utah, said his team has used many injury healing rituals and exercises to help troubled adolescent girls in treatment and their families. The program provides a unique residential treatment program that helps adolescent girls realize increase and positive change but these strategies are appropriate for whoever has experienced crises that are significant, heightened tension, and protracted pressure -associated injury.

The objective of these healing exercises, said Alderman, is restoring hope. They are also meant to help awaken folks in the hold of the trauma and reclaim a lost section of themselves. It’s beneficial to work with a trained mental health professional whenever possible while a few of these healing strategies may be performed by yourself. Alderman said auditory, visual and kinesthetic aspects balance — meaning they’re able to accomplish individuals who learn and cure best through visual stimulus, auditory stimulation, or feelings.


1. One of the methods for healing that has become more commonplace in our culture is revisiting the site of the injury. We’ve seen and heard about this many times on the news. For instance, when Gabrielle Giffords returned to the site of the violent rampage that killed six people in 2011 and wounded her, she had a moment of reflecting and making a statement, and she left a bouquet of flowers in a memorial. In addition , we observe this each year on September 11th as family members of those killed decant to the former World Trade Center site (and, now, the official 911 Memorial) bearing flowers, wreaths, and pictures of their family members. The idea with revisiting an injury site is the traumatized person or family can begin to process the pain, grief, despair, and hurt that occurred there.

“A revisiting is really exposure therapy,” said Alderman. “There are degrees and measures you may take. It lets the emotions to be more and more vivid in line with all the mental encounters at the time of the injury. It lets folks reprocess the info in a safe space — rather than the usual hazard to their mortality.” They may draw a happy face with chalk, or bring another symbol of healing. Alderman recalled bringing a mum and her two daughters after leaving an abusive father to some home they lived in right. Once there, the sisters were able to share memories as well as their mom managed to sing a song from their childhood. Alderman said they collected several symbols, as keepsakes, like twigs and leafs. Whether itis a flood, a tornado, the loss of a house, the thought would be to “go back, revisit, and honor and take that and utilize that for the soil for that future”.

2. Healing the Home. When trauma occurs in your home, or is somehow connected with the home, a therapist can accompany the family for a “walk through” of their homes to retrieve the surroundings as a safe space. If there’s been a crime, abuse, or self harm in a home, the house becomes a symbol of the pain. To treat the home is to go to various locations and try to create a fresh significance for the reason that region. “It is the really space they sleep in, eat in, living in,” said Danna Olinick, MSA, CMHC, Assistant Clinical Manager and counsel at New Haven. “In order to possess peace and recourse, it must be safe,” she stresses. Alderman added that element of the procedure would be to bring in things which make people feel safe and relaxed, like art and symbols on the walls.

3. Symbolic Transformation. In this approach, support system or family and an individual is challenged to recognize ways they can transform debilitating, unhealthy, and self-destructive facets in their lives by picking symbols that were brand new, empowering, positive. “This could mean altering the look or layout of a room,” says Alderman, “or ridding themselves of something from the past.” It letting go of memorabilia linked to the trauma might be cleaning out the cupboard, and perhaps purchasing a new kit to represent a brand new start.

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4. Masks. Creating paper mache masks is a means to assist individuals and families express the internal and external impacts of the trauma. In of the masks, people paint while going through a traumatic event, what they were feeling indoors. On the exterior, the face they revealed the world is painted by them. Maybe it had been a brave face, despite the fact that they were terrified; or perhaps it had been a mean face that covered up being frightened. “We attempt to use symbols, words, as well as colours,” said Alderman. “In traumatic encounter, we automatically believe our experience was the same as the other persons. While there is certainly a shared meaning to get a family, there are individual significance for each. To be able to honor and witness both of those is significant.” A different element of the method is to create a brand new mask that represents hope — and what a hopeful future can look like.

5. Sand Tray Therapy. It is a non verbal way of trauma recovery that includes using a container that is simple with a variety of figurines and items. The sand allows folks express their internal experience and to express themselves on conscious and subconscious levels. And gives them the opportunity to explore, express feelings and have them be silently seen by other people who love them. It’s an opportunity to allow them to recreate their internal experience. Participants buy sand and small objects that represent things that are different to them, in addition to a container to hold them. Afterward they’re given a chance to position items round the sand box in various formations and it’s also a form of therapy. “The purpose there is you’re developing a world,” said clinical psychologist Rick Biesinger, MA, PsyD. NCC, who’s a specialist in psychological evaluation.”But you never suppose a label. You do not call it a monster although they may put a creature in there. You let them describe what it is to them personally since it can possess a different meaning.

6. Music as an Injury Medium. Music therapy has been shown to assist in a number of methods. Music can be chosen families and by people, or by the therapist. This brings a deeper healing level of work. “Songs that express, cure, or replace emotions,” are strong, said Alderman. Some families, collectively, have a tune. He says daughter and one dad he worked with were able to speak to every other through the music they picked when they were unable to locate their particular words.

7. Family Symbol. The family will be supported by a therapist in selecting or developing a symbol that represents their trauma recovery. It is something that they then keep in a visible place inside your home or on the person. “I worked with a family that has been attempting to regain trust and peace in the home,” said Olinick. “For them that was symbolized by the ocean and also the sand since it is constantly there; it is continuous. They went and took a photo of a location they framed it in their house and enjoyed. So when they walked by, they were reminded by it of good times. In addition, it symbolized that they’re building trust and peace again.” Some families pick symbols they are able to take or wear, such as trinket or a bracelet. They may additionally choose a mantra, for example: “we’re powerful, we are survivors, and together we can be stronger.”

8. Laughter and wit. Comedy and uplifting experiences of laughter are a vital section of healing. It will help people feel more positive and hopeful. “I believe it is incredibly significant,” said Biesinger. “It’s mentally and physiologically impossible to feel humor and pressure in exactly the same time. There is no medicine that could replace a great laugh to assist a family fix.”

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