Meditation for Trauma Survivors: What’s the Hype?

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Now, y’all know Mind-Body Medicine skills are my jam. I use Mind-Body Medicine practices in my self-care routine. But, if I am being honest, meditation is my favorite mind-body practice. In full transparency, meditation was not always my favorite practice. Like many others, I thought meditation was about completely quieting my mind. Because of this, meditation often felt impossible. Despite this, I continued to meditate and eventually developed a daily meditation practice. As a holistic therapist, I know that meditation can be used during therapy sessions. 

As an integrative and holistic therapist, I believe in the healing power of meditation. But, as a Black therapist, I understand that the idea of meditation may raise questions and skepticism. So often, Black, Indigenous, People of Color are told to try things without clarity. Well, not at RISE. Let’s take a deeper look at using meditation for healing trauma. 

What is Meditation?

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At RISE, we define meditation as a period of concentrated awareness in which one receives clarity, connection, and guidance. As a holistic therapist, it is important to note that meditation is not about completely quieting the mind. It is about fostering internal understanding and deepening spiritual connection. Most folks hear the word meditation and instantly visualize a specific scene. This scene usually is of a person sitting still on the floor, in complete silence. But, contrary to popular belief, meditation takes many forms. These forms fall into three general categories: concentrative, awareness, and movement. Examples include prayer, mindfulness, visualizations, chanting, dance, walking, eating, yoga, and more. The truth is, you’ve likely engaged in at least one of these forms of meditation.

Why Meditate? 

So, here’s the thing. Our minds are constantly running. These days most folks are often scrolling social media, watching television, thinking about the past, or anticipating the future. In doing so, our minds are in a constant thinking loop. This thinking loop disconnects us from our bodies and our true essence, our self. This pattern of thinking causes fear, low self-esteem, self-criticism, anxiety, and depression. While thinking loops impact many people, trauma survivors are impacted differently. As a holistic, trauma therapist, I know that meditation can can assist. 

Meditation allows you to press pause at the moment and spend time with yourself. When you meditate, you turn down the background noise and turn up your inner awareness.Choosing to meditate is a big step in separating yourself from what the rest of the world wants and expects. When you try to adhere to what the rest of the world desires, you create suffering. The truth is, these “rules” set by the rest of the world are made up. Meditation allows you to create and adhere to your own rules. Your rules are the ones that matter the most.

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Meditation for Healing Trauma

Trauma is stored on the body and is displayed differently for everyone. Meditation has many benefits, including reducing some of the effects of trauma. Meditation can help by:

  • Reducing Inflammation
  • Improving the Immune System
  • Regulates Mood
  • Creates Groundedness
  • Deepens Spirituality
  • Enhances Awareness
  • Enhances Vitality
  • Promotes Rest and Restoration
  • Calms Physiological Responses

I am not the only trauma therapist that understands the power of meditation. Aimee Ruscio, Ph.D. of EFT Works DC, also believes in the power of mediation. Here’s Aimee’s view on how meditation gives us valuable chances.

A Chance to Rest

Lots of people, when they finally slow down, find that their bodies need rest. Sometimes that looks like a midday nap after lunch, falling asleep mid-meditation, or skipping out on walking or sitting to get some extra sleep. Listening to our bodies and responding with loving care is an important part of the healing process that’s easier to do when so many of life’s other distractions are not present.

A Chance to See the Stories Our Minds Create

I went to a meditation retreat. I have a memory of scraping food off of a plate into a bucket while someone waited behind me in a line to do the same. In the moment, I felt rushed and worried that the person behind me was angry that I was taking so long. People on the retreat were generally kind and patient, and I couldn’t even see the person behind me. I imagined their anger, so the rushed feeling was coming from inside me, not the actual situation. Our minds act like a filter, not only taking in information about reality but also consolidating that information into stories about reality. Being in meditation helps us see what’s reality and the story about reality that our mind creates.

A Chance to Feel More 

While part of being on retreat does feel easeful, insightful, and healing, there’s also a real challenge to it. Being more fully present makes everyday experiences like a delicious meal or a beautiful walk in the woods all the more enjoyable. We really pay attention to and take in the taste and textures of the food or the feeling of sunlight on our skin.

But the relaxation, presence, and space also make room for emotional pain from the past that still needs healing to bubble to the surface. Especially for people with histories of trauma, slowing down and opening up can allow a lot of old pain to the surface. On retreat, the prescribed response is to allow the pain to be there and to be curious, open, and loving towards it. And that is incredibly helpful when we can pull it off.

Start Healing Trauma Using Mind-Body Medicine Skills in Baltimore, MD

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As a trauma therapist, I know that sometimes seeking guidance from yourself can feel challenging. So often, trauma survivors are manipulated and gaslighted. As a result, trauma survivors begin to question their decision-making abilities. In reality, you are not the sum of all the hurtful things you’ve endured. You are not stupid, crazy, or incapable. The truth is, you are powerful, insightful, and resilient. Meditation can help you re-discover your inner essence.

Trauma therapy can help you get to know yourself. Using Meditation as Mind-Body Medicine skill during therapy sessions, helps you reconnect with yourself. Becoming a silent and attuned observer of yourself, helps you recognize thought patterns. In therapy, we will discover the origin of your thoughts and “stories” you may tell yourself. Then, together we’ll work to identify ways to re-story these narratives. Throughout our work together, we will find ways for you to honor yourself, forgive yourself, and forgive others. And by reaching out for support and taking care of yourself, you’re already making strides in the right direction. Make the first step to get started with trauma therapy in Pikesville, MD.

  1. Contact me here with questions about counseling
  2. No questions and ready to get started with therapy? Schedule a consultation now.
  3. Start therapy to heal your heart and reconnect with yourself.

Other Therapy Services at Revitalizing Inner Self Essence

I know that getting started with therapy can bring an array of emotions and thought. But I want to assure you that as a Black queer therapist, I am dedicated to creating a safe and welcoming environment for you to process trauma and reconnect with yourself and your life. At my Baltimore-area practice, I specialize in helping survivors of domestic violence and homicide overcome trauma. If you’re not ready to begin individual therapy, try joining our upcoming Mind-Body Medicine skills group.   Details about the group are below. If you have further questions about me or my practice, please contact me.