Learning to heal
Admitting you may be traumatized—from living through Covid-19 or for other reasons—is the necessary first step on the path toward healing. Each of us processes trauma differently. Symptoms can range from numb, furious, guilty, helpless, depressed or unmoored to difficulty focusing, concentrating (spacey), flashbacks, bursts of unexplained anger or tears—or a host of others from withdrawal to abrupt lifestyle changes to frantic activity.
Even those who did not have Covid-19 or suffer the loss of loved ones may experience trauma from the viral attack: Many faced the disorienting effects of prolonged social isolation, constant exposure on media to soaring death counts, socially distanced funerals, stories of people of all ages going from mild symptoms to death in days.
In 2001, the 9/11 attacks brought our country together against a common enemy and showed us the way toward healing. Now, 20 years later, attacks by this even deadlier common enemy split our already-fractured country. We are a country traumatized.
The Resources listed below can guide you through a fascinating understanding of what we now know about trauma, how to recognize and treat it, and help you explore effective approaches for you.
'Time heals all wounds' is simply not true. It doesn’t heal these wounds. But they can be transcended.
Dr. Rachel Yehuda. professor of psychiatry and neuroscience, director of the Traumatic Stress Studies Division at Mount Sinai School of Medicine
The Body Keeps the Score
Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
By Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD. Founder and medical director of the Trauma Center in Brookline, Massachusetts; professor of psychiatry at Boston University Medical School.
Covers a wide range of healing approaches—from recent new therapies like EMDR to ancient ones like yoga—that can reduce trauma’s debilitating effects. A refreshing look at causes of trauma in a wholistic way. Why and how we hold trauma in our memory. How it affects our ability to love and work. Moving and frank stories of the author’s own patients as they find their way to healing. (New York Times bestseller)
What Happened to You?
Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing
Audiobook narrated by Oprah Winfrey and Bruce D. Perry, MD., PhD.
“How and why what happened to you shapes how you feel, think and act.”
The authors narrate stories of their own personal traumas and provide a framework to “help you understand and face your own... You may just discover a path forward.”
“My hope for you is to not just fly, but soar.” Oprah
PTSD & Trauma
HelpGuide is a small independent nonprofit that runs a mental health website. One section of the website deals with PTSD and trauma.
This website lives up to its promise to “help you help yourself.” User-friendly and down-to-earth, a few minutes on this site will guide you through every phase of how to cope with traumatic events.
Gives 7 practical steps to assist your recovery. Explains the difference between traumatic stress and PTSD. Offers coping tips (“challenge your sense of helplessness”). Useful links take you to related sites including one providing healing help for COVID-19 Long- Haulers—people who recover from the virus but have symptoms that linger or reappear months’ later.
Healing From Collective Trauma
Learn how communities and individuals can successfully respond to and heal from collective trauma.
Trauma Resource Center Websites
A guide to websites giving help and advice on children and families affected by exposure to trauma. Compiled by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Overcoming Trauma Through Yoga: Reclaiming Your Body
By David Emerson and Elizabeth Hopper, Ph.D.
The authors—one an expert yoga teacher and the other an experienced trauma therapist—join forces in this fascinating guide about why “trauma-sensitive yoga” is a good way to “intervene in the body’s own alarm systems and begin to “turn them down.”
How Trauma Lodges in the Body
By Bessel van der Kolk
How traumatic experiences can imprint themselves beyond where language can reach. The complexity of memory and our need for others.
How Trauma And Resilience Cross Generations
By Rachel Yehuda
What we’ve learned from the field of epigenetics about how the lasting effects of stress and trauma can transmit biologically to the next generation, based in part on studies of children of Holocaust survivors, and pregnant women who survived the 9/11 attacks.
Waking the Tiger, Healing Trauma: The Innate Capacity to Transform Overwhelming Experiences
By Peter A. Levine, with Ann Frederick
A smart integrative view of healing from trauma, draws on disciplines ranging from philosophy to animal behavior in the wild. Explains why traditional talk therapy and drugs often fail as a treatment for people with trauma, especially wartime Vets.
EMDR: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy
If you are skeptical about or unfamiliar with EMRD treatment for trauma, this website provides the science behind why there is a connection between “eye movement and persistent upsetting memories,” and how success rates have made EMDR such a widely successful form of treatment.
Flowers In The Dark: Reclaiming Your Power to Heal from Trauma with Mindfulness
By Sister Dang Nghiem, M.D.
This poignant and hopeful book, based on the mindfulness teachings of Zen Buddhist spiritual leader Thich Nhat Hanh, blends the author’s personal experience of surviving childhood trauma with practical wisdom, knowledge of neuroscience, and mindfulness training to help us move through trauma in the body. Shares stories of her own trauma and many others. Guides readers in meditation and healing techniques.
The Art of Living: Peace and Freedom in the Here and Now
By Thich Nhat Hanh
In troubled times, there is an urgency to understand ourselves and our world. We have so many questions, and they tug at us night and day, consciously and unconsciously. In this important volume Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh——one of the most revered spiritual leaders in the world today——reveals an art of living in mindfulness that helps us answer life’s deepest questions and experience the happiness and freedom we desire.
Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm
By Thich Nhat Hanh
“Written in words so intimate, calm, kind, and immediate, this extraordinary book feels like a message from our very own heart….Thich Nhat Hanh is one of the most important voices of our time, and we have never needed to listen to him more than now.”
Music for healing
In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attack, people turned to music for comfort and for the healing it can bring. The two amateur videos below were made after the attack. The first shows William Harvey, a Juilliard student, who played for rescue workers at the National Guard Armory in lower Manhattan, where families of those missing on 9/11 waited for news. His experience is one of the stories on this site. The second is a song performed by Grace Church School students for their friends who had lost parents.