“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” ~ Rumi
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” ~Kahlil Gibran
“We cannot selectively numb emotions. When we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.” ~Brené Brown
“Physician, heal Thyself” ~ Holy Bible, Luke 4:23
“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.” ~ Kenji Miyazawa
“This was not a dark side to Nature, just inventive ways to endure against all odds.” ~ Delia Owen, Where the Crawdads Sing
"Trauma is not what happens to us. It’s what happens inside of us as a result of what happens to us.” ~ Gabor Maté
“Any kind of trauma can become an imprinted experience that dictates how you live and the way you feel about yourself and others.” ~ Gabrielle Bernstein
Life is resilient. The Earth is resilient. Humans are resilient. You are resilient. And yet there is tremendous suffering and pain all over the world. We live in a wounding world. But healing is available to everyone. We each have an inherent predisposition toward healing and a desire to be whole again. Healing from awful and traumatic events and relationships is possible.
Trauma is tremendously widespread. No one is immune to life’s negative experiences. And yet not every upsetting event is traumatic, and not every person reacts to the same adverse experience by becoming traumatized. In trauma there is a deep wound, and part of this wound is internal. Trauma comes from the Greek word “travma,” meaning wound. Trauma is a wound to the psyche, the result of a traumatic precipitating event followed by the internal experience and processing of the negative experience that remains unresolved or unhealed. It is raw. Trauma or traumatic stress can stem from normal responses to an abnormal or toxic situation or culture.
Trauma involves chronic disconnection from the self. Healing involves returning to the true, authentic, fully present self and a rejection of what has been learned and/or necessary to survive or cope (but is not truly who you are). To heal involves becoming whole and re-integrating the splits, disowned (or cut off) parts, and dissociations that were once necessary to survive or cope. Healing also requires empathy, gentleness, and compassion toward yourself for the mental, physical, and spiritual suffering you have endured. Healing trauma involves becoming curious about our blocks to wholeness, integration, authenticity and being present. It consists of healing the disconnection within our self (e.g., body, emotions) and with others (in relationships).
Trauma limits you, overwhelms you, diminishes your capacity to feel, constricts your ability to think clearly or act. Trauma separates us from our self and bodies. It disconnects us from sensations, gut feelings and intuition. The body holds and exhibits trauma in a variety of ways. In the words of Bessel Van Der Kolk (and book by the same name), “the body keeps the score.” When the traumatic reaction gets stuck in the body, we may feel unable – even when it is possible, at a later time – to fight back, defend, escape, or act and react. Trauma can, alternatively, make some people prone to protecting themselves and fighting back when that is not needed (increasing aggression, irritability, threatening or even abusive behavior when triggered). A trigger is a sensitivity that is reactivated and may involve an inflexible or rigid response; healing a trigger involves understanding what you learned and did to cope and how you were “programmed” to respond (even if the trauma was pre-verbal and cannot be remembered). Then you can choose differently (e.g., “I don’t have to keep doing it this way”) and distinguish what is and isn’t truly you. In trauma, we develop coping mechanisms to manage or avoid triggers (e.g., shutting down emotions) and to scar over the wounds. When we are no longer stuck in emotional states and reactions from childhood (or other traumatic times), we can grow, evolve and adapt more easily. We can also sense who we really are.
Healing involves rediscovering the body and sensations and rediscovering feelings and intuition. In a safe environment, with self-compassion, notice and feel emotions and sensations, non-judgmentally, in the present moment. Gently, learn to befriend unmanageable, impermissible, or overwhelming reactions or dissociation and disconnection – these are the very keys to healing! Become curious about the parts of yourself that helped you cope, protected you, suppressed impermissible feelings or memories (e.g., shame, rage) and/or numbed or reduced your fear or horror. Lovingly, learn to feel, claim, and express those feelings. Notice if there is something you need (and do it, if pro-health or self-soothing, or notice without acting, if destructive). Calm your nervous system.
Trauma can manifest as PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder), insomnia and nightmares, depression and anxiety, inattention and distractibility, mood dysregulation, self-harm, eating disorders, chronic pain, autoimmune diseases, addictions, aggrandizing or effacing oneself, and in countless other ways. The link between childhood adversity and mental health conditions is robust. There are also strong links between sociocultural adversity, such as discrimination, and trauma. Chronic stress coupled with hardships predispose us to intergenerational trauma in families and communities. (On the other hand, those with “good” beginnings have protective factors that mitigate traumatic reactions). Collective trauma also occurs when a group of people suffer adverse, uncontrollable events together and cultural perceptions and interpretations lead to rigidity, defeatism, or separation from each other and the ability adapt. Moreover, secondary trauma and compassion fatigue can occur when we lack self-care and compassion for one’s self and one’s own needs as healers and friends.
Some talk of “big T” and “small t” trauma. In “big T” trauma there is an identifiable traumatic or adverse event, such as sexual or physical abuse, war and political crisis, neglect or abandonment. “Big T” trauma is most clearly associated with symptoms of PTSD, and there are demonstrable links to autoimmune diseases and other diseases. “Small t” trauma– occurs due to the absence of “good” and essential conditions, such as a child’s needs being met (e.g., needs for safety; rest; affection; nurturing and secure attachment via unconditional, loving acceptance; the allowing of all of one’s emotions including anger, sadness, curiosity; play) or a culture being discriminatory (rather than supportive). “Small t” trauma can result from poverty; emotional neglect, criticism or shaming; bullying. Repression of emotions can start as an adaptation to an environment unwelcoming of them or to adults who themselves were unable to experience all of their emotions. Healing this trauma explores how we suppress ourselves, ignore our feelings and/or needs, and learning to accept and feel the emotions once again. For example, the repression of healthy and appropriate anger can contribute to depression (as one has depressed or suppressed the anger). It may also involve examining beliefs that you are responsible for other’s feelings or must not disappoint or upset others, as well as shame or fears of being blamed.
Human beings evolved in connection, collaboration, and community. We are wired for attachment and connectedness. We desperately desire to be authentically ourselves and to be seen and accepted as we are. Isolation, loss of connection, judgment and shame can cause despair. Numerous studies show that the degree of adversity alone does not correlate directly to degree of traumatic reactions; one’s connectedness matters. Many studies also show that techniques and skills are not what heals, but rather healing, authentic, present relationships.
To heal involves a becoming whole, a healing of the wounds at all levels (mental, physical, spiritual, energetic, relational), and a transformation of your relationship to yourself. Healing involves a combination of
• self-compassion and self-acceptance
• practices that focus on being fully present and connected to oneself (e.g., breathing, mindfulness, yoga or movement, meditation, journaling/writing, art, time in nature)
• mind-body interventions (e.g., self-regulation, relaxation and rest, real world or imaginary exposure while calming or soothing the nervous system, medication if needed to reduce distress enough to allow for other “work”)
• cognitive interventions (meaning making, perception, psychoeducation, cognitive restructuring, positive expectancy)
• relational connectedness (the importance of healing relationships, re-experiencing relationships as accepting and supportive, considering early attachment history and our attachment style, inquiring about past and present relationships)
• energy or tapping techniques, EMDR, bilateral stimulation
• grounding and containment practices
• use of metaphors, imagery, and transitional objects
• discussion of diet, substance use, and lifestyle choices.
• a recognition of one’s basic human needs and emotions (as an antidote for denying, ignoring, belittling or shaming them).
• For those whose trauma is more collective or cultural (as in discrimination against certain populations), addressing systemic influences and social activism may also be empowering.
We all want to be ourselves, to be whole, in genuine, accepting relationships. When we can be fully present, fully ourselves, and fully seen and accepted as ourselves, we are no longer disconnected. We are whole. We are healed.
Citrinī Nata Devi, PhD, CCTP, E-RYT(500), C-IAYT
Citrinī has a calling to promote trauma healing on all levels – individual, familial, ancestral, collective, planetary. She is passionate about supporting each of us in being our most integrated and actualized selves. Citrinī understands, as a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP), trauma-informed practitioner, a senior-level TriYoga instructor and Certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT), an energy healer and a psychologist, that trauma can easily get trapped or blocked in the body. As a trauma healer, she brings her expertise in the interconnection of mental, physical, emotional, energetic, spiritual, interpersonal, and intergenerational aspects to soothe, rebalance the nervous system, and restore the flow of energy and well-being. In trauma healing, In her many years as a psychologist (in private practice and in other settings), she worked with victims of abuse, neglect, assault, sexual trauma, crime and natural disasters, refugees, victims of discrimination, harrassment, and bullying, individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other anxiety disorders, dissociative and eating disorders, those seeking to self-harm or self-medicate (whether through addiction or other means), and those who were convinced to believe that they are not who or how they should be. Citrinī incorporates her experience and knowledge of our basic needs for safety, security, and stability, mental health treatment, yoga therapy practices, energy healing, spiritual support, interpersonal relationships to support healing at all levels. For more information on Citrinī's training and experience with these different modalities, please visit the other pages of this website.
Please note: This treatment is not a substitute for psychological or psychiatric care. Although Citrinī is trained and worked for many years as a psychologist, these trauma healing services are integrative; they neither qualify nor can be billed as traditional outpatient psychotherapy.