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Posttraumatic Stress (PTSD)

Posttraumatic Stress (PTSD) (276)

19 Feb


I suffer from PTSD from a very unique trauma. My mother has Borderline Personality Disorder and destroyed my path in life a very long time ago. She made me leave the man I loved, that was her main goal.

Although I am lucky to have found another great man and have been married for almost 22 years and have 5 amazing kids (triplets and twins!!), I am still experiencing the pain of this loss.

We never broke up with each other, as we loved each other and wanted a future together.

My mother broke me down in every way until I felt that suicide was the only way out of pain. My boyfriend felt the same way.

Didn't she ever read Romeo & Juliet? I guess not.

Anyway, I was referred to you regarding PTSD and I would like to know what kind of self help I can use to help me with this unusual loss in my life. Thank you!


12 Feb

Dear Belleruth:

Which of your CD's can help me get rid of my flashbacks and strangulation feelings that are due to my PTSD?  
Please advise.

Thank you,
Linda P.

Dear Linda,

I'd start with something fairly neutral and relaxing for a couple of weeks, like the Relaxation & Wellness or General Wellness, to see if you find it calming at all. 

You could also start with Healthful Sleep instead of or in addition to those two titles I just mentioned.   A lot of trauma survivors start with this imagery and get a double benefit from it: it's good 'starter' imagery, just as the two titles mentioned above are; and most trauma survivors have trouble with sleep anyway. 

12 Feb

Researchers from the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder at the VA Boston Healthcare System and Boston University Medical Center performed a meta-analysis to evaluate the efficacy of imagery rehearsal therapy (IRT) as a treatment for nightmares, general sleep disturbance, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress.

Bibliographic databases and cited references were searched to identify clinical trials of imagery rehearsal in individuals with post-trauma nightmares.

Thirteen studies met inclusion criteria and reported sleep and post-traumatic stress outcomes in sufficient detail to calculate effect sizes.

12 Feb

We got this very moving email from a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, who suffered from longstanding blocks to getting a good night’s sleep.  It doesn’t always work out so perfectly - that guided imagery can remediate this so quickly. But it happens often enough – quite a lot, in fact - and it’s always wonderful to hear about it.

It’s very encouraging to know that sometimes a good night’s sleep can make everything else seem possible;  and that guided imagery has a very good chance at making that happen – without drugs and with very little effort:  just what it takes to press “PLAY”.   

How can you say thank you to someone you have never met?  How can you show gratitude for being given back something so intangible that its value is priceless?

Let me explain. This past Tuesday Jan 29 I saw my psychologist for the first time. I am working through abuse of all kinds, the worst being sexual abuse and rape that I suffered though growing up.

21 Jan

Our good friend, colleague, tireless advocate for veterans, and gonzo guided imagery champ extraordinaire, COL  Jill Chambers, passed along this note to our Akron team…

It describes a really smart way to use guided imagery…
This was from the redoubtable Ana Yelen, who works with the Healing Warriors Program, where body-based treatments, such as Healing Touch, Cranio-Sacral work and Acupressure are offered to wounded warriors.

We love what she figured out to do when these interventions were provided in the context of a public space..  Check it out: 

26 Nov

We got this note attached to an order for several CDs.  

This massage therapist would appreciate hearing from any other practitioners who have some experience with combining guided imagery with their massotherapy or energy/biofield therapy practice.  So please post something if you have the time.  Here is his note:

I’m a massage therapist with a large, long-standing practice outside of Minneapolis. I always say that I’m always learning from my clients.  Last week I most definitely did. 

A new client brought the Healing Trauma CD with her, for me to play while I worked on her.  Clients bring in their favorite music to sessions from time to time, but this was the first request I’d gotten to play guided imagery during a session.

It proved to be a powerful experience for both of us.  The work I did was deepened and further potentiated by the imagery.  I suspect that the imagery experience was deepened and further potentiated by the deep tissue massage and acupoint work I was providing. 

It was a real eye opener. I intend to experiment more with using guided imagery in my massotherapy practice with selected clients.  I would like to hear from any other practitioners  who have experiences with this combination.

Thank you in advance.
Surya D.

26 Nov


I have been using your Abandonment CD for well over a month, closer to two months as often as multiple times daily, usually as I go to sleep or if I awaken early, so that the CD can facilitate a return to sleep.  Unless I am already very upset, Bellaruth's voice now relaxes me right away.

I wanted to express that it is concerning to me that I often sob and cry very hard during the CD, and this reaction has been present from the first. I feel very in touch with my loss and trauma in those moments, and the pain is sometimes horrendous. Sometimes I actually wail.  It frightens my cats a bit.

My life has been utterly shipwrecked by betrayal and loss, and I have very poor quality of emotional life, constant depression and abysmal self-esteem. I am in therapy and taking DBT [Ed. Note: Dialectical Behavior Therapy, described here) as well, trying to control my negative self-talk.

26 Nov

Researchers from the National Center for PTSD at the Boston V.A. conducted a long-term follow-up on participants 5-10 years after completing a randomized controlled trial comparing cognitive processing therapy (CPT) with prolonged exposure (PE) for posttraumatic stress (PTSD) on traumatized survivors of rape.
Intention-to-treat (ITT) participants were assessed 5-10 years after participating in the study (M = 6.15, SD = 1.22).  The investigators attempted to locate the 171 original participants - women with PTS who had experienced at least one rape.
Of the 144 participants located, 87.5% were reassessed (N = 126), which constituted 73.7% of the original ITT sample.  Self-reported PTS symptoms were the primary outcome.  Clinician-rated PTSD symptoms, comorbid diagnoses, and self-reported depression constituted secondary outcomes.

19 Nov

We just came across this letter from a decade ago, describing the healing impact guided imagery can have on old trauma we aren’t even aware we’re carrying.  It doesn’t happen this dramatically all the time – usually the gains are more subtle and incremental, and kind of sneak up on you.  But it happens often enough, especially when the timing is right and a lot of inner work has already been done.
We thought this was a hopeful reminder.  So, here it is, with a little bit of paring down and a switch from the specific to the generic when the identifying info was too specific:

05 Nov

Hello Belleruth,

I attended your Conference on guided imagery in New Orleans after Katrina. I utilize TF-CBT (Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) with children, but had not been maximizing the relaxation-imagery component.  This helps me ramp that up to help our severely traumatized children and youth.

Now, I am in my forties and suffered from what I now know were panic attacks for most of my late teen and early adult years, possibly due to hormonal shifts I now describe as anxiety.
I believe in the guided imagery work and felt its deep movement during your conference, after which I bought a pile of products for personal use. I have immersed myself in these audios and now, a few days later, I am exhausted and have muscle soreness, chest pains and shortness of breath.