Counseling and Trauma Resolution:

Takin’ Care of Business

The goal of Counseling and Trauma Resolution is to resolve the unfinished business in self with core relationships and past traumas. My Hula Hoop Theory is to visualize as we step into a Hula Hoop that all we have control over fits inside this hoop. When we focus on what is in that hoop, namely ourselves, and how we react to others and circumstances outside of it, we make the best use of our own real power. What has happened in the past (guilt, anger), or has not yet happened,(fear, worry, anxiety), is not in our Hula Hoop. How others choose to behave is not in our Hula Hoop. When we recognize this, we conserve our power and energy for focus on what truly is in our power to do something about, taking care of our own business. This means not leaving things unresolved that can show up in our current relationships and emotional health. Put another way, dumping out our buckets of manure that tend to get heavy and unpleasant. Our aim in At EASE™ is to assist in doing just that. Carla Staats

The Effectivenss of Equine-Assisted Experiential Therapy:Results of an Open Clinical Trial (Klontz,et al, 2007)

This study funded by OnSite produced the following conclusion:
“A major goal of this treatment approach is the resolution of unfinished business. Corey (1991) defines unfinished business as unexpressed feelings that are linked to memories carried into present life in ways that interfere with one’s ability to function effectively. He notes that unfinished business remains until an individual deals with unexpressed feelings. Experiential techniques help clients resolve unfinished business through re-experiencing significant life events and relationships, allowing them to work through unresolved conflicts and emotions to live more fully in the present (Wegsheider-Cruse & Bougher, 1990)”.

Principles of Trauma Resolution

The following are excerpts from an expert in the field Bessel van der Kolk from :

“The aim of these therapies is to help the traumatized individual to move from being dominated and haunted by the past to being present in the here and now, capable of responding to current exigencies with his or her fullest potential. Thus, the trauma needs to be placed in the larger perspective of a person’s life, as a relatively isolated historical event, or series of events, that occurred at a particular time, and in a particular place, and that can be expected to not recur if the traumatized individual takes charge of his or her life.” (van der Kolk, et al)

“Reconditioning anxiety, for changing beliefs, and for developing a cognitive system that somehow allows a person to cope effectively in a world that now is known to be capable of great destructiveness. (Epstein, 1991)Once the traumatic experiences have been located in time and place, a person can start making distinctions between current life stresses and past trauma, and decrease the impact of the trauma on present experience.”(van der Kolk, et al).

“Staying focused on problem solving, on doing something, however small, about the situation- rather than concentrating on one’s distress-reduces the chances of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)”. “

Many people who feel powerless to change the outcome of events resort to “emotion-focused” coping; they try to alter their emotional state instead of the circumstances giving rise to it. About one-third of traumatized people eventually turn to alcohol or drugs in a (usually ill-fated) search for relief. This coping behavior is often a prelude to developing PTSD”.

Alleviating Symptoms, Finding Words

“Mindfulness, awareness of one’s inner experience, is necessary for a person to respond according to what is happening and is needed in the present, rather than reacting to certain somatic sensations as a return of the traumatic past. Such awareness will free people to introduce new options to solve problems and not merely to react reflexively.

Group Counseling
Also see: W.O.W. At E.A.S.E., Warriors At E.A.S.E. & Teens At E.A.S.E

. “Emotional attachment is the primary protection against being traumatized: people have always gathered in communities and organizations to help them deal with outside challenges: we seek close emotional relationships with others in order to help us anticipate, meet and integrate difficult experiences“.

“Regardless of the nature of the trauma, or the structure of the group, the aim of group therapy is to help people actively attend to the requirements of the moment, without undue intrusions from past perceptions and experiences.”

“In a group of people who have gone through similar experiences, most traumatized people eventually are able to find the appropriate words to express what has happened to them. As was observed almost fifty years ago: ‘by working out their problems in a small group they should be able to face the larger group, I.e. the world, in an easier manner” (Grinker & Speigel, 1946).’

“However to varying degrees, the purpose of all trauma related groups is to 1) stabilize psychological and physiological reactions to trauma, 2) to explore and validate perceptions and emotions 3) to retrieve memories 4) to understand the effects of past experience on current affects and behaviors and 5) to learn new ways of coping with interpersonal stress” (van der Kolk, et al).

“Sorting out exactly what happened and sharing one’s reactions with others can make a great deal of difference in one’s eventual adaptation. Putting the feelings and cognitions related to the trauma into words is essential in the treatment of post traumatic reactions“.