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How to Overcome Trauma

Updated on December 22, 2019
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Gary Eby is a retired social worker and author of two spiritual self-help books: "The Eby Way" and Reflections: A Journey to God."

Emotional Freedom

Freedom from suffering

Before you start to peruse my essay today, I hope you watch the video about Dolphins and listen to the tune, "Somewhere over the Rainbow". For me these images and sounds stimulate positive emotions of joy, comfort, wonder, hope, and even faith. What about you?

Of course life can be very difficult and challenging at times. When you are struggling with stressful emotions like anger, sadness, fear, guilt, and shame, more than likely, you might feel out of balance. Thought you might be interested in how I dealt with a very painful and depressing personal situation.

But, let me also point out that severe loss, life threatening events, or random acts of violence, can kick in those disturbing emotions, which might actually block the door to spiritual healing. There is never any shame in sharing honestly and openly painful experiences, which actually begins the pathway to freedom and recovery. So, let me take you back to a past event that happened around ten years ago.

A Painful Christmas

It’s Christmas morning: traditionally a time of joy, wonder, faith, family-love, and celebration. I am sitting on the couch in our family room, looking at the soothing and comforting glow of our Christmas tree lights. But at the age of 60, I am struggling with the pain and shame of being fired from my job as a mental health counselor in Grants Pass, Oregon two weeks ago.

I recall the details that led up to this tragedy. It was my job to provide mental health services to inmates in our local jail and to those on probation and parole. Two weeks ago, when I reported into the jail, a woman in the lobby was crying. I sat down beside her to console; that’s what social workers do.

She reminded me that we had talked several times on the phone about her ex-boyfriend, who was going to prison for a felony conviction of driving under the influence of alcohol. She was his payee for his Social Security disability, which he received for a prior closed head injury. In my opinion, his injury was responsible for his mental health issues that involved explosive anger, chronic depression, and alcohol abuse. Through my work at the jail we were able to stabilize him.

She mentioned that she wanted to find out how to deposit his money into his account. I explained this process to her. She also started to reveal her own depression over the whole situation and confessed to having a sleepless night.

As was my custom for the last two years, I invited her as a relative into my office, located within the locked medical clinic. While I was counseling her and trying to make arrangements for her to see her boyfriend one last time, I was confronted by a jail sergeant. I was told she must leave because I had breached jail security.

When I tried to explain that I was just doing counseling, the sergeant brought in the jail administrator. I was accused of circumventing the pat-down process, which I was unaware of. My client offered to be searched, but she was summarily sent out of the facility.

When I again tried to explain to the powers that be that I was only doing my job, I was told that my security clearance was being revoked immediately. Without any opportunity to discuss or process the details of this case, I was asked to pack up my belongings, and then I was escorted out of the facility like a convicted criminal.

To make a long story short, after my employer investigated the situation, I was fired because I had lost my security clearance from the jail. I was also accused of being argumentative with the jail administrator.

I was not informed that relatives who wanted to see me in the jail clinic had to go through security screening procedures. Moreover, my employer did not give me a warning letter about my honest mistake. There was no counseling to formulate a plan to take remedial action. I never had a chance to meet with the jail administrator to explain my side of the story.

Overcoming Suffering

So here is the process I recommend to all of us who have to cope with trauma or any crisis: The first step is to handle the adversity by venting honestly and openly one’s feelings about it. I am angry and frustrated that I was treated in such an unprofessional manner. I feel sad that after helping hundreds of mentally ill, substance abusing, homeless and convicted inmates over the last two years, that one conflict resulted in my termination.

In addition, I feel worried that our income has been cut in half, which will cause significant financial hardship. I am afraid that at age 60, it will be difficult for me to find another job. I also feel ashamed that after 39 years as counselor and therapist, I got fired for what I thought was the process of just doing my job.

The second step, which can be really hard, is to be willing to let go of the pain and suffering. It remains a mystery to me why bad things happen to good people. Today, I choose to take a deep breath; I hold in the air for three seconds and slowly let go for six.

Also through a process of prayer and meditation, I release my trauma. I affirm: “Even though I am having stress over the loss of my job, I totally love and accept myself. And I release my fears to the Love-Light of God.” Most importantly, “I refuse to poison myself with negative thoughts, feelings, and behavior.”

The last step to overcoming adversity is to replace the negative with positive action. I visualize breathing in the Light of God. I feel the comfort and power of that Love.

In addition, I imagine looking at a sunset on an ocean beach. I hear the soothing rhythm of the waves. My spirit basks in the glow of the sinking, orange, light orb. I take a few more deep breaths, and I use the Emotional Freedom Technique to tap energy points and open my mind to new horizons.

In the power of the Law of Attraction, I ask for justice, abundance, and healing. I feel the comfort and peace of a resolution to my problems; I remain open to new and unlimited possibilities. Lastly, I express my gratitude for the opportunity to demonstrate the transcendence of Light over all that seeks to become self-destructive and oppressive.

Update on Positive Solutions

As a mentioned earlier, my painful Christmas happened about ten years. I have learned so much about the Power of the Positive within us and around us since that time.

I am happy to report that I found another job about a year after my unemployment, working at a local Addictions and Recovery Center in Medford, Oregon. It felt good to apply "My Eby Way" approach to helping others recover from overwhelming and terrible addictions. In addition, a year later after my new employment, I decided to retire. Many new and wonderful experiences opened up for me and my dear wife Susan.

For example we took a few more cruises! Susan became an ordained minister and is now the senior minister at Unity Church in Medford. I am currently the musical director. And together we wrote a book called, "Reflections: A Journey to God."

This inspirational book changed our life. It describes many other miracles that occurred in our life, and it gives people spiritual tips about how to resolve life challenges with spiritual solutions.

So... no matter what is going on in you life today, remember my story. Try out some of my suggestions. Never forget, no matter what happens, you always have unconditional worth and value!

May your Christmas this year be the best one ever. Namaste.

A Happy Time Cruising


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