Treating Trauma

Treating Trauma

Betrayal can be a serious physical and mental health hazard.  Despite what people say, time does not heal all wounds.  When betrayal trauma goes untreated, research indicates it continues to worsen with time.I suggest you find someone to help you heal who is trained in trauma therapy. Ask specifically if the person you are considering has experience working with the psychological/ emotional effects of relational abandonment and betrayal trauma.

This article by Michele Rosenthal, trauma survivor is a helpful guide: “Tips on Choosing the Right PTSD Professional

Trauma Treatment Modalities and Practitioners

Somatic Experiencing (SE) 

Somatic Experiencing was developed by pioneer in trauma studies, Peter Levine.  SE is a proven trauma treatment that helped me. With SE session, you gradually learn to retrain your nervous system to release the fight/flight/freeze response associated with PTSD.

In the video below, he offers a summary of how his understanding of trauma contributed to the development of Somatic Experiencing ( 6 minutes).  You can find a list of certified SE practitioners here



Rapid Eye Movement Desensitization (EMDR)

EMDR is a another proven therapeutic technique to help alleviate the debilitating symptoms of trauma.  EMDR is a simple, short-term method that helps to synchronize both sides of the brain and calm the nervous system. It has proven most effective for one-time, acute traumas.  The sooner after the shock, you seek treatment, the better the prognosis.

There are many therapists and counselors trained in EMDR. The International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation has a list of member practitioners that can be searched by country, state and zip code. If no results, try searching by your state only.

The original book on this subject that I recommend is Overcoming Trauma through Yoga: Reclaiming Your Body (2011) by David Emerson and Elizabeth Hopper.  Below is a brief (3 minute) introduction to the book.  And a link to an article explaining trauma-sensitive yoga by the author:

Yoga for Emotional Trauma: Meditations and Practices for Healing Pain and Suffering (2013) by Mary NurrieStearns and Rick NurrieStearns. Combining yogic principles, gentle yoga postures, and mindfulness practices, this is a Buddhist oriented book filled with sustenance and practical support that can help move you along your own healing path.


Many yoga teaches have become aware of the importance of adapting their teaching for trauma survivors.  Look for a ‘trauma-informed’ class.  Or, you may be able to find a trained TCTSY facilitator near you.


Treatment Centers

I am not personally familiar with any treatment centers for PTSD, as I only worked with local therapists and healers myself. But these articles list the best-known PTSD treatment centers.

Books and Videos

Bessel van der Kolk’s latest book The Body Keeps the Score (2015) is an important book for understanding trauma, accessible to practitioners as well as people seeking to heal their own trauma. He is a renowned trauma expert who has spent his professional life studying the impact of trauma. I am including his talk, though it is long (1hour/20minutes), because it is well worth listening to for his overview, experience and background reflections on treating trauma.

The classic, pioneering work on trauma Trauma and Recovery (1992/2015) by Judith Herman is a must-read, especially for her discussions of domestic violence and rape.

Trauma and Beyond: The Mystery of Transformation (2014) by Ursula Wirtz takes Carl Jung’s “Red Book” as a map or template for working with loss and trauma. Recommended for clinicians and those with background in depth psychology.

Trauma and the Soul: A psycho-spiritual approach to human development and its interruption (2013) by Don Kalsched, another Jungian author who offers penetrating insights in this amazing book into the dynamics of perpetrator/victim in the traumatized psyche.


Belleruth Naperstak’s Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (2006) explains how helpful guided imagery can be for some people to help heal the traumatized brain. See the appendix for a more exhaustive list of trauma therapies. I also recommend Belleruth’s powerful, soothing, transformational CD: Guided Imagery to Help With Heartbreak, Abandonment & Betrayal

You might also consider David Berceli’s, The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process either the book or one of the many CDs he offers. He outlines a simple, tested somatic releasing method you can do on your own that can be somewhat helpful. I found taking the one-day workshop that is offered by trained facilitators helped me get the hang of the exercises. Not a quick fix, but exercises to help release the freeze response.