Healing From Trauma: What Does It Take?

To the Editor:

Re “Tales of the Super Survivors” (column, Nov. 24):

I am aghast at the reductionistic simplicity of David Brooks’s column. How callous and incorrect the assumption that healing from trauma is simply a matter of “storytelling.”

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a significant disruption in the neural processing of information, as evidenced in a multitude of scientific studies based on magnetic imaging and other sophisticated brain processing indicators.

How sad for our wounded warriors that their life-altering psychic injuries are reduced to a matter of simply reframing their future. They’re guilt-ridden enough; do we now add the onus of responsibility for their own suffering? How tragic.


New York

The writer is a clinical psychologist.

To the Editor:

Kudos to David Brooks for a sensitive column about the resilience of the majority of people who have been exposed to extreme stress.

I myself am a child survivor of the Holocaust who still has dreams about World War II. But I have managed to lay aside a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder to have a satisfying personal and professional life in spite of it.

Overcoming adversity can lead to growth and fulfillment, and an ability to overcome the many inevitable difficulties we all face.



The writer is a professor of psychiatry at Temple University School of Medicine.


About briandmahan

Following a catastrophic automobile accident several years ago, I began suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I was hit by one of two cars that were racing on the 10 freeway in Los Angeles. And, although I walked away from the accident, I began to have several FULL-BLOWN panic attacks a day (I didn’t even know they were panic attacks; I just thought I was going crazy). But, after just a few sessions with a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, my anxiety and panic attacks ceased and I haven't had one in 9 years. In fact, my life changed so dramatically and quickly, I decided to train in the same technique. Upon completing a three-year training program studying Somatic Experiencing, the work of Peter Levine, PhD., my self-obsessed passion for healing and personal transformation shifted. I've been blessed to be able to help and assist other survivors of unresolved past traumatic events, who suffer from PTSD, Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Depression and Stress to feel safe, joyful and to take take control of their lives again. And, now, I consider that car wreck to be one of the best things that ever happened to me. It’s my passion for the past 9 years to share my story, experience, and know-how with others, like you, who may simply have been trying to heal with the wrong approaches. (You can’t heal a toothache by getting a massage.) I am not a psychologist, a medical doctor or a spiritual healer. I am a trauma survivor. And I have come to understand that PTSD, anxiety, panic, stress and depression are physiological conditions more so than they are psychological disorders. I hold retreats, workshops and free seminars, focused on establishing a sense of safety and re-awakening embodiment through healing stress and trauma. I also offer one-on-one sessions both face-to-face for local clients and by Phone and SKYPE for clients nationwide and internationally.
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