I want to thank each and every veteran, first responder and those unsung heroes who have quietly
faced trauma in one way or another to help others. I honor you.
As the child of two veterans both in post-traumatic stress, I understand not only what you have
sacrificed, but the impact of a traumatized parent on a family. My parents did not fall into the drug
and alcohol pit, nor were they violent. However, I watched as they cycled through mood swings,
dissociation, nightmares, flashbacks, avoidance, triggers, and physical problems. At times, it was
an obsessive conversation between my father and his fellow veterans. At other times, it was the
cold silence of the elephant in the room that every family member avoided as my mother tried to
deal with the black depressions that hounded her life. Even though they tried, there was little joy.
As children, my brothers and I grew up assuming these behaviours were normal. And they were
normal ……..to families living with PTSD. This effect goes on for generations unless it is treated
The impact of PTSD on families has been recorded in David Finkel’s new book Thank You for Your
While there are issues unique to each population of those who experience post-traumatic stress
(PTSD), there are overlaps in presentation. Whether you are a veteran, first responder, the victim
of a crime, accident, human trafficking, or some kind of abuse (physical, sexual, extreme or ritual),
or if you have experienced a long-term relationship with a narcissist, post-traumatic stress, has,
at its core, a similar presentation. These issues effect more than just the person who experienced
or witnessed the traumatizing incident. To some degree, they impact everyone around them,
including future generations.
I started this article with the stress PTSD places on families because for veterans, police officers
and others in uniform who are repeatedly exposed to stressful, dangerous situations, there is a
culture of ‘man up’. There is the idea that you can deal with it on your own. How is that working
for you? How is it working for those you love?
It didn’t work for the four young veterans who recently took their own lives. So tragic.
I realize that a main motivator for those who risk themselves is to save others. You and your
family need to have courage to face what could be the biggest challenge of your life…yourself,
your thoughts and feelings. It is time to save your loved ones by first saving yourself.
For hundreds, perhaps thousands of years, the emotions of our people were sacrificed on
battlefields and in soul-numbing working conditions. We could not afford to have emotion under
those circumstances. This avoidance of feelings became a cultural norm as our ancestors died or
were wounded physically and emotionally. We learned from infancy to keep a stiff upper lip, to not
speak about our problems, to grow up and stop being such a crybaby. This toughen up culture
still destroys our humanity.
As family members and human beings we need to deal with our emotions. When we suppress
or repress them, we pay huge prices in terms of our quality of life, sanity and health of not only
ourselves but for generations to come.
The biggest tragedy is that the most powerful methods to heal PTSD and safely and effectively
deal with our feelings are relatively unknown. Energy Psychology (EP) is a cutting-edge method
that really works for trauma. Lest it seem too unusual, Harvard Medical School now teaches
acupuncture, the basic form of energy balancing. Energy psychology has recently been accepted
by the American Psychological Association. There is some very exciting research. The work of
Dr. David Feinstein is showing dramatic, encouraging results.
In my clinical experience as a psychotherapist, using energy psychology, I have helped many
people suffering from PTSD. Besides teaching clients basic energy balancing, I use a method
called Swaying. As yet, Swaying, while effective, has not been proven. Other EP methodologies,
such as Gary Craig’s Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), also practiced by Nick Ortner as
Tapping; and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprogramming (EMDR) are already well on their
way to being recognized among practitioners and the general public.
Of course, working with a skilled therapist is the best route. However, you can start to help
yourself by learning some of these methods. You can do a search about Tapping, EFT or several
other EP methods. As you learn them, you will quickly access the emotional and mental freedom
for which you fought so hard. All you have to lose is the trauma.
My gift for you is the awareness that energy psychology can deal with your PTSD. There is hope
for a great life.
Peace and joy for the holiday season.
Eden, Donna; Feinstein, David Ph.D. Energy Medicine
Gallo, Fred P. Ph.D. Energy Tapping for Trauma
Mayer, Michael Ph.D. Energy Psychology