Three things aroused my curiosity as a Master of Social Work graduate student at the College of Social Work at the University of Houston and these three things have continued to inspire me as a trauma psychotherapist. One, humans are resilient: no matter how difficult or unbearable life appears to be, we figure out a way to endure and live another day. This spirit and energy is also what drives us to search for health. Two, the mind and body are connected. Complex PTSD cannot be resolved without working on both fronts; the mind must have insight and understanding and the body must have release. Three: the loss of human potential to humanity is incalculable. When all energies are devoted to survival, there is very little energy left over for cultivating one’s potential.
When I was an intern at the Michael E. DeBakey VA, I was surprised at how resilient the chronic homeless veterans were. Additionally, I noticed how most were not present in their bodies, a state called dissociation. This observation led me to further studies as a Post-graduate Social Work student at the Menninger Clinic. I wanted to better understand how the psyche processed and made sense out of pain and suffering. This education was of great importance, however, the answer of how to treat dissociation and the distress held in the body still eluded me. This quest led me to the work of Peter A. Levine, Ph. D. His explanation that the body needed to be able to complete self-protective motor responses and release thwarted survival energy bound in the body finally explained what I noticed in my patients. I took on the arduous studies of Somatic Experiencing (SE). With this holistic view of the mind/body connection, I feel better equipped and confident to help all those who seek healing.