As I near the end of my present phase of therapy, I am awed by how we humans are constructed.  When I first began this round of therapy in April 2010, I was skeptical.  My therapist told me that Ego State Therapy would, if I hung in there, give me relief from my PTSD symptoms, but I was still skeptical.  Well, over a year has passed; I’m getting close to the end of this part of the process, and I can say with conviction that I am no longer skeptical.  I’m a believer! 

When I saw my therapist on Tuesday, I asked her about the brain/mind connection.  I told her that I was amazed at the progress I’ve made and amazed at the effect of all my hard work.  She was not surprised.  And then we talked about the human brain and its ability to heal itself from trauma damage. 

In generations past, scientists did not believe that the human brain retained its plasticity past a certain age, and they believed that at a young age, a person’s brain became more or less static, possibly incapable of doing the healing necessary to recover from trauma.  Now, however, scientists know that the brains of many adults, even those in their senior years, are capable of working with the mind to heal from past trauma. Here is a link to an interesting article on brain plasticity:  http://neuron.typepad.com/neuron/2007/07/brain-plasticit.html 

According to what I have learned from my therapist and from my reading, the human brain and the mind are programmed or constructed to heal from trauma if given a chance.  Therapy is the appropriate “chance,” usually. Here is a link to an article that expands upon this concept: http://healingresources.info/emotional_trauma_overview.htm 

As you will see if you read the article cited above, what was deemed impossible by scientists a generation or so ago has been proven possible by today’s scientists.  Furthermore, I have proven to myself that I, an older person at age seventy-two, can use my mind to heal my brain.  At least, I’m most of the way there now.  Soon I plan to be all the way there.
 
So what is my proof of this healing?  All along on this blog I have been giving you information to document my progress.  In one of my first articles, “How Do I Know,” written on Tuesday, June 14th, I discussed the alleviation of my PTSD symptoms to that date, most notably my ability to ride public transportation and stay in the present rather than dissociate when passengers acted out.  More recently, in my post of August 26th, I said, “. . . I feel more ‘together’ than I have felt in a long time.”  Thus, because I no longer experience PTSD symptoms with the intensity I have experienced them in the past and because I feel more “together” and less fragmented, I can say with conviction that my mind is healing my brain. 

For me, therapy works!  Does it work for everyone?  According to the literature, it works for a lot of people.  EMDR, for example, is endorsed by the Veterans’ Administration as an effective therapy for veterans returning from war and who are suffering from PTSD resulting from their experience in battle.  (http://www.emdr.com/)  Other therapy modalities such as Lifespan Integration Therapy (http://www.lifespanintegration.com/) and Ego State Therapy (http://www.inlpa.com/index.cfm?CFID=4275&CFTOKEN=13895182&a=10071) have also worked for many people. 

Is going through therapy easy?  No, it’s not!  Is it worth the effort?  For me, it certainly is!  As the old adage goes, “There is no such thing as a free lunch!”  In other words, if you want relief from PTSD symptoms, it’s up to you to make that relief happen.  Your therapist can show you the way and guide you, but he or she cannot do the work for you.  My therapist is a facilitator, a person who accompanies me through the therapeutic process and who helps me make my therapy possible, but she cannot do the work for me.  If I want the payoff, I have to do the work to get it. 
 
As my therapist and I talked last Tuesday about the mind/brain connection and the human ability to heal from trauma, I was awed by the wondrous way we are made.  We each possess a miracle-about-to-happen, whether we are aware of this or not.  And I’m convinced that as time passes, scientists will discover more and more about the mind/body/brain connection.  It could be that in our grandchildren’s time, people will cure themselves of many physical maladies by tapping into the amazing resources that lie within their own minds.  I can foresee that in the future, doctors may possibly steer more people to appropriate therapists than to pharmacies.  I won’t live long enough to see if my thoughts on this are on the money, but I hope they are. 

In the meantime, if you are living with PTSD symptoms, try experiencing for yourself the rewards of appropriate therapy.  Find a therapist experienced in helping trauma survivors alleviate their PTSD symptoms.  Commit to your healing, and see for yourself how wondrously you are made! 

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