There is a trauma that remains unrecognized in many of our lives and yet, it determines how we feel about ourselves in every moment. Masked behind what is considered a ‘normal’ upbringing is an experience that convinced us that it is unsafe to be who we really are, and forced us to abandon ourselves. For those of us who have suffered through this experience, our lives revolve around trying to compensate for the resulting trauma. We do this through self-worth addictions – never-ending attempts to prove our worth. But until we remember what happened to us, no matter how much we achieve, or how great our life may seem on the outside, it will not feel like enough. To be more precise we, ourselves, will not feel good enough. The wound will always gnaw at our core. It calls for healing as is the nature of any trauma. And it won’t let us rest until that healing takes place and our inherent self-worth is restored. This is the story of that unspoken trauma, and how we can find wholeness once again.


The story began the day we were born. As vulnerable infants we depended on our parents for all our needs, including emotional and psychological. It was essential for us to feel loved and accepted in our families. Only then would we feel safe in our environment. For most of us, the love and acceptance we required was granted freely at first. All we had to do was cry or flash a wonderful smile and it was enough to have our parents pick us up and shower us with affection. On a primal level, we felt that we belonged in our tribe and there was no reason to feel unsafe. As animals, we could feel at ease in our bodies because who we were was allowed. Breathing came easily back then. Soon however, simply being who we were would not be enough to get the approval of our parents. Instead we would need to fulfill certain expectations. As if suddenly, there were rules in place of how we needed to behave, or what we needed to do to be considered a “good” boy or girl. Can you remember what these expectations were for you? If so take a few moments and write them down.
Although certain expectations from parents are needed to provide healthy limits for a child, the nature of these expectations and how they were imposed upon us have done a great deal of damage. These expectations became the laws of love or acceptance within our families.  When we could fulfill the expectations, we were worthy of acceptance and could breath deeply because we still belonged. Eventually, however, we encountered situations where we could not fulfill one of these expectations. Either we were not capable of living up to it, or didn’t live up to it as well as a sibling. Possible consequences included a parent giving us a disappointed look, the silent treatment, raised voices, anger and even being hit. Regardless of the exact response from our parents, we ultimately experienced a withdrawal of their acceptance. This is the critical moment to our story, and we need to examine it carefully. Every time acceptance was withdrawn the underlying message that was being communicated to us was that we were not worthy of acceptance as we were; we were only worthy when we could meet these expectations. We were learning to believe that our worth – our fundamental value as a human being – depended on how well we measured up to expectations.

Can you remember a time when you saw that disappointed look on one of your parents’ faces? If it is not too overwhelming, take a moment to explore. How did it make you feel? Answers may include fear, sadness, pain, guilt, shame, rejection, confusion, terror, anger and even rage. For those able to access their feelings from this young age, it may seem surprising to uncover the intensity of emotion brought up by this seemingly normal scenario. But there are very good reasons for these emotions. Not only was our acceptance being taken away in that moment, but also our safety. As vulnerable children, being accepted by our parents was a matter of life and death, because without them we would be alone in a world in which we would not be able to survive. Thus, when we were unworthy of acceptance it meant that we were unsafe as well.  This is how our worth and safety became intimately connected to meeting expectations. Only by meeting them would we be considered a valuable member of the family and be safe within this world.

With so much at stake when we were not living up to an expectation, our fight or flight response naturally kicked in. Our breathing went shallow, and the hairs on our bodies rose. The trauma was starting, as we were being forced to make a choice. On one side was our instinctive self – our own internal compass, our inner guidance – telling us what we wanted to do in that moment, how we wanted to behave and what we felt life was about. And on the other side was our parents’ version of what we should be. This was a devastating position to be put in. To choose our own self meant that we would be abandoned by the tribe. But, to be what our parents wanted us to be meant that we would have to abandon our own instinctive selves. No matter what we chose, the trauma of abandonment was inevitable.

The notion that we could either be part of the tribe or be in touch with our instinctive self but not both, is at the heart of the trauma. This is an unnatural choice, because our health depends on being in tune with our inner world while also having a vital connection to our community. When who we were did not match the expectations around us, we were confused and struggling with important questions for our growth and development. We were asking, “How do I reconcile my inner world with the outer? How does all this life within me, these important parts of myself, and these emotions that I feel fit in this world? How can I live in this world without losing myself?” We depended on our parents for safety during these moments so we could answer these questions. Yet, when acceptance was withdrawn in such moments, these healthy questions were lost. The threat of losing our safety became more urgent and forced us to answer new questions: How can I feel safe in this situation? How can I prove my value to the tribe and get my parents’ love back? Ultimately, who am I to abandon, myself or my tribe?

This is a choice that should never have been. There are ways of setting limits for a child without ever making safety a question or putting a child’s self-worth on the line. There are ways of communicating to a child that even though this part of yourself needs to adjust in this situation it doesn’t mean you have to abandon it completely. It may be useful to you at other times. It is one of the hardest things to help a child reconcile what is coming from their inner world with what the outside world is asking of it, without crushing him/her.

For this reason no one is blaming our parents. They didn’t know any better, because the same mistake was made during their upbringing. Our parents deserve compassion just as anyone who endured this choice does.


Few survive this choice without a great deal of emotional pain. In this critical moment, some of us may have chosen to rebel against the tribe. In our anger or rage, whatever our parents demanded became the last thing we would do. After all, many expectations we faced were unjust. They were unexamined notions of perfection that demanded we repress the sides of ourselves that our parents were uncomfortable seeing. Anger is a natural response when we are told to be ashamed of, or repress crucial parts of ourselves. Though we chose rebellion in the name of protecting our instinctive self, it was still a coping strategy to deal with the terror of this choice. It did not help us reconcile the conflict of our inner world with the outer but, instead, was a reaction to deny all authority. As a result, the trauma of being abandoned by our tribe, a profound loneliness, would continue to live within us and fuel our rebellion.

Most of us, however, in our vulnerability, chose to conform to the tribe.[i] And in doing so our instinctive self slowly became less relevant. This connection had to be left behind in the name of safety. This is a very significant dissociation process in our trauma. Our instinctive self lives in the body. Our reflexes, our inherent nature and the vitality are all found there. We had to leave it behind because it no longer served us. In fact, to stay in the body would have been confusing and dangerous. It was a nuisance, constantly pulling at us with feelings or parts of ourselves that were not allowed anymore. Our surroundings frowned upon these parts and soon even we learned to look upon them with disgust, suspicion or doubt. And so the body, the instinctive self, was left behind.

This abandonment was not the result of an isolated event. We had to make this choice over and over again. When we would later go to school, join social groups, become part of a work culture, some spiritual groups, watch television, even interact with certain friends or partners - each of these settings would provide their own set of expectations that we were asked to fulfill. And when we did not meet them the same withdrawal of acceptance occurred. Eventually we lost complete touch with our bodies, save whispers from time to time.


Abandoning the body, we slowly adopted a new self that lives in a state of trauma. It is convinced that it must fulfill an internal list of expectations. As adults, these expectations may be remnants of our past or we may have come up with them ourselves. Either way we will do whatever it takes to fulfill them because we still believe that our worth and safety depend on it.

On the surface, proving our worth seems normal. But a closer look will bring critical awareness to those afflicted by the trauma. Consider what it is that makes you worthy of acceptance at this time in your life. Write these things down. Now imagine that you are no longer able to fulfill one of these criteria. For example, imagine you lose someone’s approval, or you don’t look as attractive, or make a mistake at something important to you, or are not as successful anymore. How do you feel about yourself? What is the experience in your body? Those of us afflicted by this trauma will feel the fight or flight symptoms returning to our system. Breath will again go shallow. We will feel the desire to run and re-establish our sense of worth in some way. Or we may feel a crushing internal sense of being smaller, wanting to freeze even. These are just some body indications that we still feel that our safety is at stake when we do not manage to meet expectations. In essence the energy of the trauma lives on in the moments when we feel our worth is at stake.

We are convinced that pursuing success, approval, a life partner, perfection, even self-growth and other endeavours will help us establish a healthy sense of worth. But in fact we are engaging in Self-worth Addictions, where at best we will feel high for some time, but very soon this will wear off leaving us feeling unworthy again.  How these “innocent” pursuits end up becoming addictions cannot be discussed completely here. For our purposes, it suffices to say that in and of themselves there is nothing wrong with these pursuits. They become addictions, however, when they are driven by the terror of not feeling safe, or not being worthy unless we can attain them. Then we feel good about ourselves and breathe when we are successful for example, but very soon this worth will be challenged and we will back out there looking for the next dose of success. There will always a reason to feel unworthy.

The highs and lows of proving our worth have become the dominant experience. Our society, friends and family support the idea that these pursuits will eventually lead to happiness. That is what makes this trauma so difficult to detect. These pursuits are celebrated by the world around us regardless of whether addiction, terror, and a deep sense of worthlessness are what drive them. But no matter how much we prove, we will still feel unsafe and unworthy. This is because the notion that we need to prove our worth is a reaction to trauma. It is what we came to believe as reality amidst the terror of those moments, but it is not the truth. Even if we are successful in our endeavours and seem to have our self-worth well established, the terror of losing that safety still remains in the background of our experiences. The problem is that we have forgotten the trauma. We have forgotten the choice, and what was left behind. We are running to prove we are safe, when all the while the real pain awaits our immediate attention. All the while our instinctive self calls for the healing of the trauma, so that we can actually feel safe.


After years of living with terror running in the backdrop of our lives, taking the first steps towards healing may seem overwhelming. Fortunately, the clues to healing the trauma are found within its story. Our connection to our instinctive self – our body – was abandoned during this trauma, and that is what we must reclaim. Indeed, this healing journey is the heroic process of re-inhabiting the body. Here, our instincts can be accessed once more while the medicine for our trauma await the time that our connection to our inner world will become unlocked.

To get in touch with the body is to experience ourselves as the animal that we are. It begins with becoming aware of our breathing, our heart beat, and how the body moves. It entails getting in touch with the sensations that occur within our body during life situations. How it feels to be tense, angry, happy, sad, and how we are responding to the people in our life – all of these have a corresponding sensation in our body. Eventually we can learn to track the sensations and when we experience an intense situation we can learn to contain these sensations so that they can be processed in the body entirely without overwhelming us. The more we connect to our body, the more we will come to see that it knows how to heal. Just as it has the intelligence to heal a cut or broken bone, it also has the innate capacity to heal our psychological trauma. We just need to learn how to allow this healing process to occur in our bodies. These are the prerequisites of trauma healing that become available as we connect to the body[ii]. Therapists and body workers who can hold space for us to develop these skills are of great help. They can provide guidance and in some cases hands on support for our body to release the energy of the trauma when we start to process it. (At times they are necessary, so if this process becomes overwhelming do not go through it alone)

With these skills at our fingertips, it will soon be time to face the trauma directly. This renegotiation process will allow us to complete the healing and fully inhabit the body. Here again the story gives us clues on how to take this step. The trauma occurred at the choice that should not have been. This is where our bodies were abandoned, and this is where we can complete our return to them.  To access this critical moment, we have to stop running after the things that we think will prove us worthy of acceptance as adults. Every time we feel that our self-worth is at stake, we are brought back to this choice. The same energy is present, and we can use this to our advantage. To do this we can start by imagining ourselves not doing the things that prove our worth (with practice we can eventually learn to do this in real time – during the actual moments when we feel our worth is at stake). For example, think of a person whose approval is important to your self-worth – perhaps someone at work, a partner, or a friend. Now think of a situation where you need to behave a certain way to get their approval. Go into that situation in your head and, rather than saying or doing what is required, stop yourself for a moment. Another example would be to think of something that makes you feel successful and stop yourself from achieving that task in your mind. Now, feel what comes up. When you find the right situation – the one with a charge, where you really feel your self-worth is at stake – then there will be an emotional and physical reaction to not doing the task. This will bring up the energy of the trauma.

The key here is to allow ourselves to feel what is rising up in the body without reacting by running for approval or success. Instead, we need to allow ourselves to stay there and feel the sensations that are coming up. Perhaps there is confusion, fear, sadness, guilt, anger- we let ourselves feel them in the body without talking ourselves out of them. They will not overwhelm us when we have learned to contain them and breathe with them. We let them flow through us – rather than denying them. There will be an urge at this moment to make a choice. One part will urge us to think “who cares what the person wants” or to say to ourselves “I don’t care if I am successful anyways” (this is the rebelling reaction within us that pretends the world does not matter). Another part will urge us to conform – run to do exactly what the person wants us to do or get that success at all costs (this is the side of us that chooses the tribe regardless of the inner world). Both are reactions that we want to avoid giving into. Instead all we have to do is stay there refusing to choose either side. Stay suspended in the feeling of conflict. This will bring up more energy. Indeed, the fight or flight terror of this moment will eventually come forward with time and practice. To stay in this conflict is to be vulnerable. We will be bringing up the vulnerability of the child who felt his/her life depended on choosing. To not choose is terrifying. We didn’t feel safe then, and deep down we still don’t. We must be willing to feel the vulnerability and terror of this moment – even lean into them. Of course we do not want to feel these things. But when we are willing to feel what we have been running from, we provide the healing space the body has been longing for all our lives.

The innate healing process will then enfold in two steps. First, the instinctive self that has been left behind – frozen in time – will automatically begin to unthaw. The life, the vitality that has been trapped will start to release into the body. Connective tissue that was stuck will loosen as this happens, and energy will literally start to pulse through the body. A sense of who we are, what we really want to do in this moment will start to be felt. Ideas, dreams, ways of moving through life that have long been repressed will start to come forward. Parts of the self that have been left behind and which make us whole will also be revealed – some creative, some compassionate, some playful, some trusting, some filled with hope – foreign parts that we will nonetheless recognize immediately like long lost friends. They will come forward because by not making a choice, we have told them that they are now safe. That they do not need to be sacrificed to fit in this world, but rather they are needed and we will commit to learning how they can flourish. A new era is starting, where these soulful parts of ourselves are just as important as what the world is asking of us. We will not choose anymore. Finally, our worth will no longer be in question. The animal, this instinctive self, knows its worth. It feels it through to the core, and it can breathe this knowing freely into our bodies.

This is a profound awakening of the instinctive self. Yet, this new self is still a child. Not childish.  No, its impulses are necessary for an adult life to be fully lived. It is a child only in that it is still raw, and we must learn how these new emotions and parts of ourselves interact with the world.  This is the second step of the healing process. The important questions that were lost during our abandonment must be answered. For example, in the case where we want someone’s approval, there is the way that person expects us to behave, and then there is our instinctive way of behaving that is awakening now. In the case where we are pursuing success, we have this notion of success that has always made us feel worthy in our lives thus far, and we have this new life force coming forward that may have a different version of success or other ideas of how it wants to pursue the same success. We may assume that we need to choose this new life that is awakening. But again we must be willing to stay in the conflict. To choose either is to abandon the other like we did when were young. This time we just need to keep feeling the conflict – holding the space where we do not choose. When we can allow both sides to exist at the same time – our old way of getting safety, and this new life coming forward – the healing occurs. This is why the body is so important. The mind has difficulty holding these two contradicting forces at the same time – it tends to choose one. In the body, we can hold the contradicting forces with ease. And in holding them both, there will be an energetic interaction of these two forces. This will give birth to new more vital possibility that honours both the self and the world. This is a marvellous healing phenomenon.[iii] It is not a logical process, where we say “well, I will do some of what I want and some of what the world wants.” No, this is a process that will reveal new possibilities of how to engage in this world while honouring the self. The terror to prove our worth will release its hold on the body, as we have given ourselves a new experience of safety and resourcefulness during the critical moment when we were once asked to abandon ourselves. We have found a new way – the trauma is renegotiated.

The entire healing process consists of reawakening the instinctive self and then learning how it can interact with the world. Of course this is not a one stop healing event. It is a process that takes time, experimentation and a commitment to consistently provide this nurturing space for ourselves. It is a long journey, but all the bounty, all the gold, all the wisdom that have been missing in our lives await. The meaning and purpose that want to come forward and show us our place in the world slowly reveal themselves with each step. This is a marriage – ourselves with the world. By honouring both, we no longer need to be a hermit, nor do we have to conform and become a stagnant cog in a wheel that is crushing our humanity. Instead, we are bringing forward the vital energy and insights that our communities so desperately need to inform their futures.

Amidst the new possibilities that will come forward for our lives, we will also access information for our children. The difficult task of how to create a safe space for the next generation without passing on this trauma to them, depends on our ability to provide this space for ourselves first. When this happens, the choice that should not have been, will be the choice that no longer is.

To your healing,


Satyam Malhotra is a professional Physical Therapist. He uses tools including CranioSacral Therapy and SomatoEmotional Release to connect clients with their innate healing potentials in order to heal emotional and physical ailments. He is also the Co-Author of Born on the Mountaintop; a book that helps people explore and break free from Self-Worth Addictions. To find out more about his work visit or you can contact him at with any questions or comments.

[i] In reality, the trauma will often split our psyches into both the rebel and conformist; one side becomes the more dominant part of our personality, but the other does exist in more subtle ways.

[ii] Peter Levine’s, Waking The Tiger, is a good resource to understand and develop some of these skills.

[iii] Carl G. Jung referred to this concept as the transcendental function. In this case we are applying the concept in the body.

Brainspotting: a cure-all for psychological trauma or parlor trick?

Eye see you

Brainspotting: a cure-all for psychological trauma or parlor trick?

The following article was posted on March 25th, 2009, in the New Times – Volume 23, Issue 34


If a few therapists are right, a relatively new therapy technique called brainspotting could be the closest thing yet to a cure for psychological trauma.

If they’re wrong, it’s nothing more than a passing fad in the world of psychology. Whatever the truth, the technique is a mystery for much of the world outside a core but purportedly expanding group of therapists and psychologists.

David Grand, a psychotherapist out of New York, began selling brainspotting, a technique used primarily to treat sufferers of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other traumas, to the therapeutic community about three years ago. Grand conducts large training sessions and has a slew of CDs and DVDs 
for sale.

The brainspotting pitch sounds almost like a midnight infomercial: Just wear some headphones; watch the end of a pointer; recall some traumatic memories; and your problems will disappear. But wait, there’s more: Patients with trauma-related symptoms can often walk out after one or two sessions free of symptoms. Or as local therapist Lara Battles put it, brainspotting “is the bomb.”

Battles, a 30-year licensed marriage and family therapist in Arroyo Grande, is one of two people in SLO County trained in brainspotting. She and SLO-based psychologist Terri Quinn talk about it with near giddiness.

“This works better than anything I have ever seen, period,” Battles said.

The technique piggybacks on a treatment called Eye Movement Desensitization and Repositioning (EMDR), which uses oscillating sounds and images to move brain function across the left and right hemispheres to surface suppressed memories. The American Psychiatric Association and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs only in recent years recognized EMDR as an effective treatment for trauma.


Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, was developed in 1991 to treat trauma patients. Brainspotting, which uses fixed eye position and is considered by some to be more effective, came more than a decade later.

Brainspotting, however, is still largely unstudied and unproven. The VA director of the National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Josef I. Ruzek, had never even heard of brainspotting when asked by New Times. The technique is most effective on treating post traumatic stress, according to those who use it, yet even Ruzek had to Google the term, he said in an e-mail response.

“I don’t think VA will be bringing [brainspotting] into the system anytime soon because there is a lack of research-based evidence for its effectiveness at present.”

New Times could find no brainspotting critics, nor were there any national organizations with any knowledge about the therapy.

Nevertheless, about 2,000 people are trained in brainspotting, according to information from Grand. Several local therapists claimed the technique elicits the most effective results seen in decades of treating trauma, even better than EMDR. Both Battles and Quinn said the rapid results they’ve seen with brainspotting were not possible with more traditional and widely accepted techniques.

“It really does help people move through trauma more quickly and more effectively,” Quinn said.

So what is it? There are variations on the method, but the key components are a pair of headphones and a fixed point for the patient to look at. Quinn uses a retractable pointing rod.

The theory behind brainspotting is that trauma in the brain can be tied to the body, particularly eye position.

The theory goes thus: Fixed eyes help focus where a trauma is stored in the brain. As the patient verbalizes those memories he or she can better bring them to the conscious surface. The goal is for the patient to process the event as a memory and not an ongoing pain.

After someone experiences a trauma they can re-live that event when encountering similar situations, Battles explained. In other words, that memory becomes ingrained in nearly everything that is experienced afterward. Battles said brainspotting unwinds neural loops of trauma left in the brain.

It’s not perfect, Battles and Quinn admitted, but they said brainspotting is more effective with trauma patients than anything before it. Quinn estimated she has about an 80 percent success rate with her patients. Will it catch on? Without more research, many skeptics say they’ll just have to wait and see..

Staff writer Colin Rigley can be spotted at

Chrysalis Anti-human Trafficking Network

Jacqui Linder, Executive Director of the Chrysalis Anti-human Trafficking Network and trained Clinical Traumatologist through the Traumatology Institute speaks about the Sex Trade Worker Hotline.  Compelling interview from a skilled trauma care professional.
Sex Trade Worker Hotline

Professional Post-Trauma Care Directory – Traumaline1 makes it easier for Trauma Survivors to find care when and where they need it


In 1999, Dr. Anna B. Baranowsky established the Traumatology Institute in Canada offering a comprehensive training curriculum in post-trauma care.  Courses included Early Intervention Field Trauma; Intake, Evaluation & Assessment; Group Approaches in Trauma Care; Tools for Trauma care using a Cognitive Behavior Approach; Supervision and Compassion Fatigue programs.  As the Institute grew, individuals, organizations and institutions began to request information about professionals who could provide training and services within communities beyond the immediate reach of the Traumatology Institute.  Requests for trained clinicians within Canada and the United States came more frequently and with this the realization of a need for a directory of trauma care professionals.  This was the beginning of the idea for TraumaLine,1 a web based directory to meet this specific need.

What is Trauma and why do we need TraumaLine1?

The goal of “TraumaLine1” was to establish a well known professional trauma care directory making it easier for clinicians to practice in their specialty area and survivors to get the care they need when they need it.   Although post-trauma care is a highly specialized service, it is clear that appropriate, timely and skilled responders are in great demand.  Trauma can occur any time and any place and a timely response can make the difference between years of unnecessary suffering and a reasonable and healthy recovery process.  Access to skilled professionals is an uncertain road as up until recently there is no centralized database to showcase those specializing in Trauma care.

Post-Trauma Responses including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may occur after exposure to a very stressful event.  Events that tend to lead to PTSD and other related stress disorders tend to include those typified by serious injury, illness, or threat of death personally or to those who you know or have contact with.  A traumatic event is generally something that is terribly frightening that leaves you feeling hopeless, helpless and out-of-control of the unfolding events.

In the course of one’s lifetime approximately 60% of men and 50% of women directly experience at least one significant traumatic event.  Women are more at risk of exposure to childhood sexual abuse or a sexual assault later in life; while men are more inclined to experience physical violence, war combat, natural disaster, accident or to witness another’s serious injury or death.

The good news is that although exposure to trauma is fairly common only 7-8% of the general population is diagnosed with PTSD over the course of their life-time.  Women tend to be more vulnerable to the development of PTSD (approximately 10%) while only 5% of men exposed to trauma will develop PTSD.  In the U.S. approximately 5.2 million adults will meet the diagnostic criterion for PTSD in any given year.  This number represents only a small percentage of individuals who have experienced a trauma over the course of the same year.  So although diagnosis of PTSD is relatively small compared to exposure those suffering from the aftermath of trauma but still managing to cope is quite a large number and requires care in order to lead to an optimal outcome for the individual.

There are numerous professional and public websites that focus on information for trauma survivors, databases for specific professions (psychologists, social workers, etc.), trauma specific information sites for professionals specializing in trauma and trauma networks … however, TraumaLine1 is the only professional website directory entirely focused on  helping trauma survivors find skilled post-trauma professionals with a broad spectrum of trauma care approaches. was built to raise awareness of the needs of trauma survivors and those professionals with the skills to respond.  We believe that trauma care is a very specific and unique skill and TraumaLine1 was established as a way for service providers to showcase their unique talents and be found by those looking for care from specialized trauma practitioners.

Professionals wishing more information about or wishing to post their profiles can begin with a free 2 month trial using the “60dayfree” promotional code.  For more information, contact  TraumaLine1 is always free for those seeking care.

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Dr. Anna B. Baranowsky is the CEO of the Traumatology Institute and the founder of  For information contact us directly at


Release: What is PTSD and how do I help?  Trauma Recovery On-Line training for trauma counselors and emergency responders everywhere

Traumatic events are part of life.  Statistics show that 70% of people are impacted directly by trauma over the course of their lifetime.  In general, we are remarkably resilient yet when exposed to extreme events, even the strongest individuals can feel shaken.  The Institute has developed a series of courses for professional trauma responders and counselors in a comprehensive trauma training certification that is now available on-line, and on demand at your own pace.  These courses are all based on “best practices” research and developed over many years through careful examination of what works in real settings with those who have been seriously injured, ill or traumatized.  The Traumatology Institute is dedicated to training individuals, organizations and groups to offer skilled care to trauma survivors in your community and anywhere around the world.

TORONTO, April, 2012.  The Traumatology Institute (Canada) launched their comprehensive Clinical Traumatologist training curriculum on-line (May 2011) in an e-learning platform which is on-demand.  Students can now take courses anywhere in the world at any time  The new on-line school will help caring mental health professionals around the world build skills that work when helping trauma survivors struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Courses for personal resiliency skills in a Compassion Fatigue (CF) program are also offered for care-givers (Compassion Fatigue is defined as secondary stress and burnout—a debilitating condition impacting care-providers).

With the new on-line format, busy professionals and those living in remote locations can develop skills in post trauma care and protect themselves from Compassion Fatigue symptoms.  According to Dr. Anna Baranowsky, “there is a heavy cost to caring borne by professionals”.  Trauma response skill development and self-care act as buffers to the impact of caring for trauma survivors.

The new, cutting edge on-line program teaches participants how to:

  • Become skilled in offering emotional first aid care and long-term counseling interventions to trauma survivors
  • Develop a comprehensive toolkit for working with individuals, groups and organizations following a traumatic event
  • Identify symptoms and build Compassion Fatigue resiliency skills

By designing a flexible and affordable program that professionals can complete any time and in the comfort of your own home or office the Traumatology Institute hopes to reach out to those who may not otherwise have access to comprehensive trauma training.

The curriculum is well-suited to counselors, psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists, clergy, employee assistance professionals, clinical supervisors, emergency responders and other helping professionals.  There are two training streams.  The Clinical Traumatology stream trains counselors and other clinical professionals while the Community and Workplace stream trains people who work with trauma survivors but do not have a counseling focus.

What does the Traumatology Institute On-Line Training Curriculum have to offer?  Learn more about Clinical Traumatology, Community & Workplace Traumatology, Field Traumatology and Compassion Fatigue training at

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Dr. Anna Baranowsky, CEO, Traumatology Institute (Canada) is a psychologist who works with trauma survivors.

For more information contact Dr. Anna B. Baranowsky

E-mail:; Phone: (416) 229-1477 ext 335; Web: &

Trauma survivors and trained trauma therapists connection offers a simple-to-use registry for trauma survivors to search for help from trauma care specialists. Trauma counsellors and other professionals can post their profiles in this specialized registry to highlight their unique and in-demand skills allowing them to be easily found on-line by those seeking trauma therapists and other trauma informed response professionals.

Service Seeker

You can now search for a trauma counselor or service provider who meets your needs in your area. If you cannot find someone in your location you can search for trauma specialists who offer web-based and telephone counselling services. It can be challenging to know where to look for a trauma care provider who meets your needs. Finding a great mental health professional is even more important for survivors of traumatic experiences. TraumaLine1 helps you find the best in your area. Trauma therapists come with their own specific training, experience and qualifications and are able to help you recover after a traumatic event.
TraumaLine1 is also filled with helpful information about what to look for in a care provider, symptoms of PTSD, suggestions about treatment approaches and other information.

Service Provider

Trained trauma therapists can post their professional profiles on-line in a fast, secure and simple process. You can increase your professional visibility as a trauma counselor, provider and responder on the TraumaLine1 site. Our site offers you a professional looking webpage without the cost of running your own site. We handle all the technical aspects and help you get found online by service seekers.
Even if you have a current website it is often difficult for those seeking trauma care to find you online without constantly upgrading your Search Engine Optimization and the cost of online advertising of your site. TraumaLine1 works to help searchers find your profile through our matching database linking trauma survivors seeking care with trauma responders serving individuals, organizations and communities.
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Green Cross Newsletter January 2012

Presidents Message

2011… Whew, what a year… floods, hurricanes, earthquakes in areas that NEVER have earthquakes, tornados that destroy entire communities, snowstorms that shut down cities, unprecedented triple digit heat and fires ravaging almost an entire state. Damages reported at an estimated $35 billion dollars in the US and still counting.

I have a colleague, a seasoned Emergency Manager, who was in Emmitsburg Maryland when the “they never happen here” earthquake hit the Eastern Seaboard. He was with a group of at least 20 other city, county and state Emergency Managers from around the US taking a class from the best Emergency Management instructors in the country.

Boy , these guys will know what to do in an emergency, right??? Wrong. The way my friend tells the story, when the building started to shake, they all looked at each other, went to the windows to look out (didn’t Drop, Cover and Hold as recommended or stay away from the windows), and eventually went outside. They pulled out their cell phones…. And were THEY surprised when they didn’t have any service! This only happens to other people, not them! They struggled to know how to communicate with their families or their coworkers in other parts of the country to let them know they were alright.

We can take a lesson from them… no matter who we are… Mental Health Professionals, trained Traumatologists, Social Service providers … when a disaster or emergency happens; we need to have prepared for it BEFORE it happens. Our families will be our priority, our home will be a concern, our friends and co- workers will then be next on our list.

WE are not immune to disasters. We may see ourselves as someone who works with those who are impacted but we also are vulnerable in our own homes, families and communities. Being prepared means we will have fewer things to worry about when the wind blows, the water rises, the earth shakes or the temperature rises to dangerous levels. Being prepared, at least, will make the event less chaotic and may actually save the life of someone we care about.

Simple steps can make a big difference. Talk to your family about your own Family Communication Plan. How will you reach everyone to let them know you are OK or to find out how they are? The experts recommend that each family designate an Out of Area Contact person and that every family member have a card with that trusted person’s phone number on it so they can call that central “hub” to give and get information. During a disaster we can more easily call outside an area than we can within it. Text messages will sometimes get through when nothing else will. And think about how you are going to charge that cell phone if the power is out for an extended period of time!

Stock up on water and food to last at least 3 days in case you can’t get to the grocery store. If you have young children at home, or elderly, or pets, have extra supplies they might need on hand.

Your family sees you as invincible, always there; always ready to step up to help. They depend on you. Make sure you are prepared so that you can take care of them first and then take care of others … your clients, your coworkers, your customers.

Who knows what 2012 will bring, but if we are each prepared for disasters in our own families and communities, we will better be able to serve others.

Mary Schoenfeldt
International Board President

Dr. Dan Casey, CT, Exec. Director, GCAT: Report of Happenings for 2011 01-12-12

We started the year with – 190 members, we ended the year 2011 with 366, and monetarily end the year with a credit in the Balance sheet! The membership increase has to do with more training offered, people interested in deploying, and membership renewals.

We had many happenings this year that proved propitious to GCAT, among them we have been asked to prepare a Memorandum of Understanding with World vision, and started the paperwork trail for an agreement with the National EDS office of the Salvation Army. The World Vision requests us to be the agency that responds to any crisis incident with and for them in the Central U.S. The MOU, based on our present active MOUs with the Humane Society of the U. S, and the Salvation Army Northern Division, has been drafted and offered. We await the return of the MOU from Michael Hageneur of World Vision.

We have been in contact with all active and inactive GCAT training sites, to assure them we are working with and for them, and to see what we can do to assist them in their endeavors.

We have had two of the sites ask to be removed from our data base, and one that is transferring their training site to another entity in their state. The last entity that has asked to be considered as a certified training site is in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia .

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Green Cross Newsletter Oct 2011

Presidents Message

2011 has been a year of incredible disasters around the country … and around the world. I was just looking at some photos of Japan’s destruction from the earthquake and tsunami in March of 2011. I was struck not only by the pictures of the destruction… but the pictures of recovery. One photo was a pile of steel, wood, concrete and many unidentifiable objects piled high… and then another photo taken just a few months later, the exact same location is a fertile field with green vegetation and volunteers working to pick up small rocks. I saw the strength of spirit and determination in that sequence. And I was reminded of the incredible pull towards life, health and hope that resides within the human spirit. We as Compassion Fatigue specialists, mental health professionals, therapists, field traumatologists… whatever our title…we have the privilege of sometimes being a part of supporting that spirit as it accomplishes super human tasks. I, for one, occasionally need to be reminded that it’s their spirit that is doing the work; I am only guiding and at times simply standing by so they know they aren’t alone.

It also serves as a personal reminder to me that there are no guarantees of what tomorrow may bring for me or anyone I know. Now is the time to take care of business… whether that’s making sure you have copies of important documents in a safe place, having a family emergency contact plan, or simply telling someone what they mean to you.

I’ll start by telling you how much you mean to me… without you, Green Cross simply wouldn’t exist. And the people we touch, would be denied our guidance and our presence as they face whatever it is that is challenging them. So thank you for being there. Mary Schoenfeldt Board President

Happenings Since Our Last Newsletter:

By: Dr. Daniel Casey, CT, Executive Director, GCAT

Director’s Report for the GCAT newsletter, bringing membership up to date since our last newsletter in July 2011.

Green Cross has been very busy this summer! Sixty seven (67) new members and we deployed twice this summer to the Floods of North Dakota.

Our services there were very needed and well provided. We deployed small groups as there were no accommodations for more than a few people at a time.

After watching our GCAT Personnel working with the Salvation Army group in Minot, the FEMA Incident Commander on site called our office and asked how they could be provided the same services. This led to a long discussion and sharing a lot of information back and forth.

We couldn’t deploy with them without a contract, and they couldn’t sign a field contract, so we did not ‘officially’ work with them, but the last week we were there, the Salvation Army work lightened enough that I asked our last person to imbed in the FEMA camp and provide the same services we had been providing to the SA. This was very well received and I think it will lead to an M.O.U. with them in the near future. GCAT participated in a Citizen Corps EXPO in the State of Washington in August, 2011. (see Laura’s article this issue).

We provided field interventions, as well as a full day training to 500 individuals in De-Escalation Techniques.

Our Organization has grown to Four Hundred and Seventy Three (473) members as of October 31, 2011. This is the greatest number of members we have experienced since we assumed the Executive office in Minnesota in 2008.

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Green Cross Newsletter July 2011

Happenings Since our last Newsletter: By Dr. Daniel Casey, CT, Executive Director, GCAT

Since March, we have been on alert for deployment to Japan for the earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear fall out.
We have received a donation of $1000.00 from the United Eastside Church of Tallahassee Church in Florida, specifically for the Japan deployment. We have also received a donation of $232.00 from Rev. Trish Hall from Celebration Center for Spiritual Living in Falls Church, VA. And another donation of $150.00 from our GCAT President Mary Schoenfeldt. We want to send out a special thank you to our donators. An interesting note from Charles stated that because of his work with Japanese Professionals, “everyone now going to the disaster zone (all Japanese professionals) must read and follow the Green Cross standards of self care.” He states, “The money will be well used, but not yet.”

We are currently deployed to Minot North Dakota following the floods that have occurred and are still raging there.

Our active Membership has grown to nearly 300 persons over the last few months. Some of this is due to training and certification, to renewals of memberships, and for the possibility of deployment to Disasters.

Green Cross has been invited to join in the Citizens Corps EXPO Disaster Scenario in the State of Washington. We will be providing training prior to the Expo Exercise, (under the auspices of UMTTI) as well as serving as the main mental health unit serving the disaster scenario.

Our office has been busy with registration and certification issues, as well as working with five (5) sites that wish to be recognized as GCAT Training sites. Some of the present sites listed on our web site have been inactive, or not providing training, and have been put on notice of their standby rating.

Institutionalized Trauma on the Micro Level Presents a Mega Risk

When you hear the word trauma most minds leap to events like Japan, Haiti, even September 11th. As a professionally trained Traumatologist, trauma often means megaevents. These events are usually out of the ordinary, unexpected, and unique. But what happens when trauma becomes common place in the life of untrained helpers? Foster parents who work with traumatized children seldom have training in self care and compassion fatigue. However, they are routinely exposed to the same vicarious exposure that first responders encounter. Foster parents are at high risk for compassion fatigue.

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Can we afford not to forgive?



Some ponder the question “how does the heart remain flexible throughout life or become rigid and inflexible closing down our ability to connect with others, love, grow and heal?”

They are the same people who are interested in an open “spiritual heart” that is capable of giving and receiving unconditional love, with the capacity to be healed and support the healing of others.

So why does the heart “harden”? A purpose of our intellect is to protect the psyche from pain. The rationale for closing down emotionally toward someone who has hurt us is to protect us from future pain. Success, then, is measured when the one who has hurt us no longer has access to our heart or recognition from it.

While immediately comforting, this process can become a destructive pattern of punishment and revenge by withholding love. Consequently the purpose for which the “open spiritual heart” was created is denied. The irony of this “protective” process is while the adversary is shut out, the pain is locked in and our ability to love and to heal is compromised .We become a prisoner to the layers of the hardened and inflexible heart. The pattern of protection can become more injurious than the original hurt. The choice for the steward of this heart is (1) to keep it closed, sustain the pain, stay isolated and a victim or (2) forgive, open it, let the light of love flow in, circulate and flow out. Read the rest of this entry »