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How to Overcome Trauma

Updated on December 22, 2019
qlcoach profile image

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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    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 

      8 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Gary - We haven't crossed paths recently, and I started thinking about you. I found your hub, and your honesty and peace after releasing anger about your unfortunate situation. I see that time has passed, and hopefully, life has dealt you better job opportunities or at least a path to follow. I admire your attitude, and your wonderful messages of peace and light. I remember when you sent me peace and light and the aha story of the fox, a blue one, I believe. My best to you in the future, and may peace reign and light shine in your life. I will soon find more hubs and see how things are going for you.

    • qlcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Gary Eby 

      9 years ago from Cave Junction, Oregon

      I want to give a heartfelt thanks to all of you who left comments on this Hub about trauma. Feel free to vent or to ask me specific questions. I will do my best to help. Peace and Light....Gary.

    • profile image

      vet in dallas 

      9 years ago

      Pets are great for helping people overcome about anything

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      how can I fight truma?

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Thank you so much, i don't know if i should say this but i was traumatized after watching a video in which a murder took place, i couldn't sleep, every time i closed my eyes the man's face who was murdered popped up, i did not know what the video was about but my stupid friends forced me to watch the video, it was called "2 guys 1 hammer" which please do not watch it for the respect to the man's soul who died, and for god's sake!.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I found this article very helpful. My boyfriend is suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder, and I am a psychology student in college, so naturally, I want to help him. Unfortunately, I have not learned enough yet to really understand the treatment for DID. I knew that the patient needed to be able to overcome whatever trauma has caused the disorder for them, but I wasn't sure how to help him overcome his trauma. He has admitted to it, and shared some feelings about it, but I wasn't sure where to go from there. He is receiving professional therapy, too, but he refuses to go a lot of the time, and since he trusts me, I try to do what I can for him. Thank you for explaining the process of overcoming trauma. This will help a lot (if he is willing to try...)

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Thank you...

      You've helped me to solve my problem..

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Thank you...

      You've helped me to solve my problem..

    • qlcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Gary Eby 

      11 years ago from Cave Junction, Oregon

      Thank you Kim and Solcarina for sharing your Light. I am reminded of an old and wise saying: "Pain is inevitable in this life, but suffering is optional." Namaste...Gary.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Thank You Gary,

      Forget perfection, which is deadly and imperfect after all: an illusion. However bright the future may turn out, it will not be without shadows. Thank you for sharing.

      MY friend, your gifts are innumerable; your depth is incalculable; your presence is unforgettable.

      Stay close to those you love. Our friendships are not temporary!

      Every step is a new adventure;

      every thought, every feeling and every action a new

      challenge to be more conscious, more aware than before.

      Things merely have to improve. The status quo is a steppingstone to brighter days.

      Flow as our soul whisper...)

      Thank You for you are You.

      Sending love and light, beauty and Joy.

    • profile image

      Kim Garcia 

      11 years ago

      Thank you Gary for your friendship and for posting your story. Your hurt is obvious, but your honesty, openness, and willingness to share with others this incident will in some way minister to those in need. I guess in many ways we have all been treated unjustly at some point during our life span. It is how we choose to cope with the unjust act released upon us that makes the difference between a happy and rewarding life, one filled with love and compassion, or a life filled with resentment, hate, and unforgiveness. You obviously are an overcomer and possess the wisdom to see beyond the temporal. I truly believe that your step by step methods in overcoming trauma are based on God's Laws of Attraction. Jesus said "Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven." Juke 6:37 These basic beatitudes are truly for our own self development as we are the ones who will gain or suffer from either a heart of stone, or one of purity. This has been a very hard lesson for me to learn, the lesson of forgiveness, but once I GOT IT, I began to heal. Letting go of past hurts and resentments are key to healing. You are very wise and I agree with your wonderful and enlightening message. Peace n' Blessings! ~ K

    • qlcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Gary Eby 

      11 years ago from Cave Junction, Oregon

      Well I accept your healing grace and I pass it forward to all who suffer and need relief. It is is mystery to me why bad things happen to good people. But I still believe strongly that when we lend a helping hand to others in need, only good can come from it, and the "wolves" can be forgiven too. Love and Light back to you Lisa.

    • Lisa Luv profile image

      Lisa J Warner AKA Lisa Luv 

      11 years ago from Conneticut, USA

      Wow –

      I can relate in more ways than I have time to write- from the cold lumping attitudes of the probational/judicial workers to being a sensitive caring person & sticking my neck out to help others.

      I really have had a bug in my bonnet watching the people working for

      The criminal system (after helping others or seeing the downfall of released people) It is a shame that there is not more compassion in the people who work in probation offices and such--I suppose it is a job personality consequence?

      They seem not to be able to see the sheep from the wolves after a while? I suppose we should feel bad for them haven gotten so hardened they think even friends & loved ones of convicted criminals are wolves. How sad and yet unnerving.

      Gary I can relate to the attitude you were up against--I have on my own tried to help others and there was one probation officer that was smart enough to tell the difference between a sheep and a wolf (and she did end up being promoted up in ranks big time!) I ended up (and I think the respect was mutual) considering her a friend & another caring higher soul.

      Why could she keep her discerning healthy and others turn, out bitter, grouchy, and egotistic? Than again maybe they were always bitter, grouchy, and egotistic?

      On the other spectrum~ kind, loving, giving people like us also pay a price for being deceived by wolves (whether the wolves mean it or not). Naïve me has been victim to this much of my life too!=)

      Gary ~

      I do think there should be a better system to help people cope when they get out of prison-(-heck many of them are only there from mistakes they made from lack of coping skills in the first place-)

      I think they need so much help to get on their feet -maybe more halfway houses when they get out.

      I have met just in a normal walks in a small town/city many of them released,with no where to go((in the middle of the winter))((now that is the crime)), no way to get work, or a way to get to a job, homeless, starving, frezzing to death and the list goes on>

      I can hardly cope with life as blessed as I am - How they are suppose to cope, get on their feet, be successful, and not end up in the brink again is beyond me!

      I know Gary I have paid a price like you for helping people (may be un-conventionally according to the judicial probationary protocol) but I still can not help but see good in people (hopefully with better decrement now) and walk by and do nothing knowing they are starving, freezing, exhausted with no friends, no help, no emotional support, no home and turn myself away.

      If as a Good Samaritan, I am punished for well-intended good deeds than so be it! (Yes in the past I have paid dearly & seen the people I spent so much time and energy helping abuse this kindness and to my dismay fail and end right back in prison or at least not live a good productive life styles.)

      But there are a few that are doing well- that I might hear from (it warms my heart for humanity when they are doing well) and when they say thank you- I always say-(and I mean this) “ They’re success is all the thanks I need.”


      We need to pray for the Sheep (innocent & can be decieved), the wolves (who need help & than abuse the hand that feeds) and the harden hearts men (that go around seeing only wolves).

      Gary I truly understand how this trial and tribulation happened to you.

      I like to think that God is weathering us for better rewards in His service.

      I think the world of cold, selfish, unjust people wear down sensitive people, for example sweet sensitive pure loving Michael Jackson, “my gut tells me the world did in him from its relentless cruelty" "just my gut mind you"

      Gary I am honored to be friends with such a nice man as yourself.

      Thank you for the wonderful read, that let me know you better (I cherish that treasure) and realize the depth of your wonderful true spirit!

      Gary I have faith your crown will have numerous shinning jewels!

      Gary You Are All Right, and You Will Be Alright!

      PURE LOVE,


    • qlcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Gary Eby 

      11 years ago from Cave Junction, Oregon

      I thank all of my readers for these positive and heartwarming comments. I am reminded of a wise statement: "Pain is inevitable in this life, but suffering is optional." Namaste....Gary.

    • Lisa Luv profile image

      Lisa J Warner AKA Lisa Luv 

      11 years ago from Conneticut, USA

      You Know God does put certain people in our path- and this article is only one of the reasons I was nugged on to your path- I am taking this article to read as I fall asleep tonight.Thank You for it! Also thank you so much for all your kind words. Blessings


    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      11 years ago

      This was a refreshing, inspiring hub! Thank you for sharing. I am learning that when you sincerely and honestly want to help others, there is much spiritual warfare to discredit your honorable intentions.

      You are so right!

      Although I too feel your dismissal was unwarranted I want to commend you for not letting the negativity get the best of you. No doubt you have acquired many beneficial coping skills that have afforded you the ability to rise above the situation optimistically. This is a clear indication that the very things you have taught your many counselees you have personally put into practice yourself! Bravo & Blessings!

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Gary ... Thank you for sharing this. We are in the process of stitching Heaven & Earth together. It's nice to hear all the lofty platitudes and catchy quotes, but the help for me is in ground-hugging stories like yours, and tools that we share.

      "...why bad things happen to good people" ... simple: To experience; to learn. The KNOWING that we gain from actual participation, gives deeper empathy and wisdom when helping others. A rape counselor can offer aid that a non-survivor just cannot. An angel who lowers their vibration and meets you on the floor of the abyss is uniquely qualified to lift you up to the heavens. They paid for that ability. They gave themselves to the human experiences. We honor and cherish these unselfish emissaries of Creator's LOVE. That includes you, my friend. I send you love and appreciation for your sacrifice & generosity of spirit.Amen & A-ho

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 

      12 years ago from India

      That was unfortunate indeed - but maybe the Universe has an abundance waiting for you somewhere else?

      Am so glad to meet a fellow EFT and LOA enthusiast :)

      Thank you VioletSun for leading me here!

    • VioletSun profile image


      12 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      qlcoach:  Wow, that was quite a surprise to read about your abrupt dismissal; its unfortunate that the powers that be sometimes do not have a sense of fairness and follow rules by the book.  Your tips, are ones that many can use, as life has its ups and downs.

      I hope to read sometime soon, that you found another job or creative way of earning your living. It may sound like a cliché, but when one door closes, another one opens.


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