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Our Solution for the “God” Line on Our Affirmations, 200 Responses Later

30 Mar

Well, after going through nearly 200 responses – from our blog, Facebook and an avalanche of emails – to the question about how people felt about our affirmation line that says, "I know I am held in the hands of God and I am perfectly, utterly safe", we learned that we'd underestimated the number of people – survivors of childhood trauma especially – who felt surprised, distressed, betrayed and sandbagged by that line.

Many trauma survivors reported that they felt hearing that line undid the good that the audio program was doing for them, and sent them back to a very dark place that was all too familiar. Where was God when I was being molested? is pretty much where their thinking went. Some just didn't care for the line but were able to ignore it.

We went back and forth, discussing what to do. It's still the all time favorite affirmation for most of the folks we hear from, the line we're told does the most good. And of course, as with all the imagery on our programs, it can serve as a poetic metaphor as opposed to a concrete assertion, and some take it that way. Certainly in the instructions, we ask that every listener become the editor and "take what you like and leave the rest".

For all these reasons, we don't want to remove it. On the other hand, we certainly aren't in the business of exacerbating distressing feelings of betrayal, despair and fury in people who've already been through hell.

Offering two different versions on all our titles would be confusing, not to mention prohibitively expensive for us – it's not just a matter of removing a line, but re-scoring and re-mixing the music. We have eight different scores on our programs and each one is individually created for each title. And for most titles it's not necessary anyway.

But since this line has the most severe impact on trauma survivors, we've decided to create some new options for our Healing Trauma title.

First, we're going to post a warning on the catalog page, letting people know that this line is on the affirmations track.

And then we're going to offer an alternate version, for this title only, that excises the line, and make the alternate version available as a download, by request only.

It will take a few weeks for us to create this new version. We'll announce it when it's ready.

For us, that seems to be the fairest way to handle this intense disparity in reaction to that line, while staying true to our original intent. And we won't go broke doing it.

We're all very grateful to you for your honest feedback and thoughtful responses. I can't remember a time when we heard from so many people, and so quickly. It was very illuminating and helpful, and I hope this solution is an improvement for those who could use it.

All best and thanks again.

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Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award.