Yes! Trauma can be HEALED and we can RECOVER from our habits and addictions. The old way of thinking about trauma and addiction boxed us in to the effects of these experiences and conditions for life; that old understanding is just plain wrong. Current neuroscience is freeing us from therapy that doesn’t work, pointing us in a clear direction that is much more quickly effective. Pervasive still today is the unnecessary suffering that comes from healing and recovery approaches that have us relive and re-experience painful memories. There is no need for such an approach any more at all.

From nearly every field of scientific inquiry, we know that regenerating the brain’s neural pathways for healing, recovery and JOY is a painless, downright enjoyable process that requires NO revisiting of the past, and very few words. Talk therapy is generally not the way to go. If it helps, by all means, continue; but, if you’re noticing that it doesn’t feel good quickly enough or in the long run, please know there are alternatives that work better.

The godfather of trauma himself, Bessel van der Kolk, M.D., who once pioneered our current understanding of trauma at Harvard Medical Center, was interviewed by the New York Times where he was explicit in his message that healing and recovery occur through less verbal, more sensory approaches that soothe the brain’s “fire alarm” (amygdala). The connection between trauma and addiction is now clear: When the brain’s amygdala remains activated, as a result of trauma or chronic stress, we become urgent for a quick fix, no matter how unhealthy. The body becomes determined to find relief. If we haven’t yet learned and practiced into our nervous system a set of healthy tools for healing and recovery, we automatically go to whatever we’ve practiced in: alcohol, drugs, food, cigarettes, caffeine, sugar, shopping, gambling, videogames, sex, aggression, and so on. It feels easier than learning something new or different.

Many times, it is only when we are finally done with the temporary relief habitual behaviors bring, as well as when those behaviors lead to consequences we absolutely can’t stand anymore, that we have a winning chance to learn and practice new “go-tos” – healthier tools that will also become automatic quicker than we think. Soothing the brain’s amygdala, which ultimately re-trains the whole brain, brings us the quality of life we truly want, filled with dignity, hope, peace, power, happiness, and balance. Believe me when I say, it feels good to FEEL GOOD!

Visit www.drmelrose.com, www.traumahealing.org, www.sensorimotorpsychotherapy.org, www.aa.org, and/or any another 12-step program that applies. The combination of sensory healing approaches with 12-step is proving extremely effective for unmanaged stress, unresolved trauma, and the habits and addictions we are done with.

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