The Resilience Factor: Trauma and Recovery—The Personal Side

I wholeheartedly believe in the resiliency of the human spirit. I guess I kind of would not be a “good therapist” if I didn’t. I believe that human beings can experience terrible things and emerge wiser, stronger, kinder and braver than they ever knew possible. Also as a therapist, I know how awful trauma can be and the havoc it can wreak on the minds, brains and bodies of children and adults, especially if left untreated.

Many years ago I had a season of life where “the universe” (as I sometimes call it) kept bringing me trauma survivors and specifically survivors of sexual trauma and children experiencing sudden loss of loved ones (bereavement). I learned through that season how strong people are. The resolve of children who had lost those closest to them was particularly amazing and humbling. After meeting with many trauma survivors and doing some research, I decided to become certified in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) Therapy. EMDR is an especially beneficial therapy for those that have experienced trauma and/or those who are trying to reduce the frequency and intensity of post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.

EMDR Therapy:

“shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. EMDR Therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR Therapy training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes [and remove the blocks] ” (EMDR.com).

Through the process of meeting with trauma survivors and becoming certified in EMDR therapy, I witnessed again and again the transformational power of the human mind and body to not just “recover” from trauma, but actually heal. I call this the difference between “victim” and “survivor.” Someone who has experienced trauma and not yet healed may see themselves only as a victim. They may recover physically, but not heal emotionally. While those who engage in therapy—including EMDR Therapy—are able over time to move to seeing themselves as “survivors” and not solely victims.

This survivor mentality is part of the beauty and resiliency of the human spirit. In his book about trauma, The Body Keeps the Score, Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk states that one of his favorite professors Elvin Semrad taught him, “most human suffering is related to love and loss and the job of a therapist is to help people acknowledge, experience and bear the reality of life—with all its pleasure and heartbreak” (page 26). I completely agree with Dr. Semrad. As a therapist certified in EMDR, it is my privilege to walk with people who are acknowledging the pain and loss in their lives in order to emerge seen, heard, supported and hopefully stronger.

If you have been diagnosed with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder or are trying to overcome a traumatic event–past or recent–a certified Orlando EMDR psychotherapist can help you. She can help you learn stabilization skills and go on to process your trauma so that you can move forward with a higher level of peace and hope in your life. Please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment.


Yolanda Brailey