One of my academic and clinical areas of specialization is trauma: how it develops, what happens in the body and brain,and how we heal. Our field has done an amazing job recently of building an understanding of the body and sub-cortical structures in the experience and healing of trauma. Because of that we can now say with hard scientific evidence that when you have been through trauma it is almost impossible to “get over it” just by talking about it, or willing yourself to “move on”. This is an oversimplification but without getting into more details: Trauma is “stored” in different parts of our brain than the parts of our brain that do “language production” or event “intellectual analysis”. For so long - that is where many people (especially in western, patriarchal, post-colonial societies) have thought that the soul existed: in our thought life and how we understood matters of the divine, made moral choices, or not. What we did with our thoughts and our ability to intellectual overcome suffering, particularly in the body, was a sign of mora superiority. What if that’s not the case? What if the soul is all through us, including the parts of our brain and body that hold our trauma? What might that mean for us? With the better understanding of where our trauma “lives”, it may be time to investigate where the soul “lives”, where our suffering can occur and how that includes the whole of ourselves and our bodies. This has implications for the stories we tell ourselves about what trauma recovery means, what soul care can look like, and the things we say to people (or not) about how to “get through” when they are living in the wake of trauma, chronic pain, and whole person suffering.
For those of you who have been through trauma, I am so sorry. I am celebrating with you the healing you have done so far, and I am holding hope for the healing that is yet to come.
If you haven’t had a chance to yet, listen to me talk about all of this on the episode of @theliturgists “spiritual trauma” #trauma #traumainformed #traumarecovery #psychology #neuroscience #therapy #embodiment #recovery #spirituality #spiritualtrauma #theliturgists #whathillarysreading #bookstagram