Palliative Care vs Healing from Trauma

I used to work in Radiation Oncology. I was the field engineer (ie: local factory-trained expert) for the machines that are used to send directed beams of radiation into the body.

There were two main reasons to do this. One, was to kill the cancer cells in the body. The idea was that once the cancer cells were gone, the body could proceed to heal itself. The other reason for this treatment was something called “Palliative Care.” Palliative Care had nothing to do with healing people. Often used with terminal cancer patients, it was used to kill the nerves so the patient would feel less pain and better tolerate the existence of the cancer.

If a cancer center were to give palliative care, alone, to patients with treatable cancer, that would be medical malpractice. Palliative care eases the process of dying, and is not a cure.

I can’t help but see the parallels in healing trauma. Many practitioners take a ‘palliative’ approach to trauma, and sometimes even call it ‘healing.’ This may simply be that they are teaching what they have found works for them in managing their own trauma, and this is important, because coping is certainly better than not coping. But that is palliative thinking. Real healing is never about finding a way to cope. It is about fully reconnecting ourselves to our original, vital, divine selves.

You’ll know you are healed because you will no longer need your coping mechanisms to function in the world. You will no longer have to live your life centered on your trauma. Your trauma will have dissolved into life lessons, firm boundaries and a source of your unique power.

You’ll know, because you will no longer be bounded by triggers.

Take a look at the graphic below. This NICABM chart illustrates how to create a window. A place between fight/flight and freeze response where one can strive to create some kind of life. It holds the assumption that past trauma is a constant, cannot be healed, and that the only option is to find ways to cope, to function. Again, this is palliative thinking, and while it has its place, it is NOT healing.

We are not created to be trauma hosts. We do not have to carry baggage handed to us by others for the rest of our lives. We can heal.

To learn more about the Trauma Cycle and how to create your own healing, check out our link:

#TraumaCycle #NumbZone #HealingTrauma

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