Talk therapy can’t release trauma where it’s stored in your right brain, unless you add the creative exercises you discover in highlights of my radio conversation for A Lasting Love with Dr. Jane Simington.
Dr. Jane teaches trauma recovery intensives through her company, Taking Flight International. She holds a Ph.D. in health sciences, a master’s of nursing and a bachelor’s of psychology. She wrote the books JOURNEY TO THE SACRED: Mending a Fractured Soul and THROUGH SOULS EYES: Reinventing a Life of Joy and Promise, plus the award-winning films Listening to Soul Pain and Healing Soul Pain.
Hadley: Talk therapy activates the logical left-brain, but it can’t release trauma which is stored in the right brain. What creative exercise can we use to release trauma from the right brain, right now?
Dr. Jane: I’d like to recommend several exercises. One goes back to Carl Jung’s work. He’s the first psychoanalyst who claimed you could heal yourself by just drawing in a circle. So now we call that Mandala Work.
I’ve used this with people who have serious mental illness. I’ve given them assignments to just draw. I’ll give them a cut-out circle and inside to music they just draw to music.
First do it in black and white and then do color. Then they look at the images they draw, because I believe they are soul expressions coming back to them to give them messages.
I have them title that Mandala. What is this? What is my message? They are to do one Mandala every single night. It’s like they’re pouring their grief out on this paper, and it’s reflecting back the beauty, the message they’re supposed to receive.
So I highly encourage you to do Mandala work. It’s very powerful. Working your grief out in clay or dough is very powerful. I’ll give people a lump of clay and tell them to squeeze their terror into that clay. And just let it shape to show me what your grief is like. You can paint it. If there’s a lot of anger, you may want to crush it up.
I also believe in the power of ceremony. Sometimes we need to write a letter to someone who’s died or someone you’ve divorced. We need to write that letter and then have a fire ceremony to burn that. I always say, “I send this smoke up to my creator. In return for that smoke, I receive the most incredible healing and blessings.”
Another thing I do a lot of is based on Julia Camera’s work in The Creative Way.
Hadley: That’s very effective. It’s called, The Artist’s Way.
Dr. Jane: I have them write out what it is they need to do next. I changed her instructions and have my clients write nonstop for 30 minutes. They aren’t allowed to look at it for a whole month. Then they bring it in and we talk about it.
Another art technique I use when I know people are really ready to step into the future, I have them do a collage. They cut pictures out of magazines to show what is absolutely essential to move forward in their life.
They put those pictures on a large piece of construction paper. Then I help them interpret it. You can cut cords with the energy. You can paste a picture of yourself.
If you still have energetic attachments to this man who walked away from you, then you put yarn on your picture and I guide them to cut those cords with a gold scissors then we burn those cords in a fire. So I use a lot of ceremony and a lot of art in sacred rituals.
Hadley: It’s good to visualize and feel that negative, destructive, harmful energy leaving your body. You can do this while you’re taking a hot bath, and have candles around you and you send your angst into the flame and watch the smoke drift away. You can do this right now to feel better.
Dr. Jane: I’d like to add to the bath ritual, as the water’s going down the drain visualize that you’re sending angst deep into the heart of the earth. She has the power to destroy and take all of that negativity from you. And shower as if you’re standing in a sacred waterfall, washing negativity away from you. So there are many visualizations you can use.
It also speaks to the fact that the right hemisphere understands that language of visualization and dreams. When we’re in trauma, much of the left hemisphere hypocamus actually shuts down. So we don’t have good language and we can’t articulate well. But we can visualize, image and draw, and pay attention to our dreams, and pray and meditate and chant.
Hadley: This is how you can turn a trauma into what can be a creative gift to transform your life. You can use whatever tickles your fancy or speaks to you that you’ve discovered today. Take action right now. See how much better you feel when you take new actions and get new results that heal what Dr. Jane has called, Post Traumatic Soul Disorder.
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