Overcoming the Effects of Trauma

Can one ever really overcome trauma?

That's a really great question (it's also a question someone asked me recently). The reason it's such a great question is because it's really difficult for you to answer it superficially or with pat answers and still call yourself a human being. In this post, I'll do my best to share with you openly and honestly from my own limited experience.

As one who’s suffered significant trauma at different points in his life, if you're struggling with trauma or a series of traumatic events right now, let me say (as, perhaps, one of the first in your life), "I'm so sorry you're going through this right now. I'm with you, okay? Just so you know...I, too, in this very moment, am struggling deeply with the after effects (the Post Traumatic Stress [which is NOT a disorder]) of the physical trauma I've endured over the last nine months."

Like anything that's creating suffering, the first step to recovery is to remove yourself, if at all possible, from any current, on-going sources of trauma. On-going spousal or parental abuse are two examples of just such a source. Until you remove yourself from your direct connection to the source, recovery is going to be really, really difficult. If you're in the middle of either of the above hurricane-force traumatic sources, please tell someone about it, and do so RIGHT NOW. I'm totally serious about this. Stop reading this, and go tell someone what you're going through. This will be here when you get back. I promise.

If, in this moment, you can't distance yourself from the trauma (like, say, from the trauma of a severe injury or physical attack and your recovery [or lingering lack thereof] from it), do whatever you can to create an oasis of peace and safety for yourself, a place where you can go regularly (at least daily) to experience some relief. During my most recent ordeal, I created such a place for myself. Did it deliver me from the momentary trauma? No. But it helped me remain vertical, positive, and "reasonably" upbeat until the source of the trauma could be eliminated. Ultimately, after many L O N G months, it helped me identify and receive the deliverance I needed.

The place I created was both physical and spiritual. Physical, in that it was on my couch (simple and free). Spiritual, in that it placed me in the ocean of God's lovingkindness, where I could just soak in His love for me as long and often as I wanted.

(In fact, I'm still soaking in it!)

To get back to the overall question at hand...

There really are no easy routes to getting over trauma. In many ways, some of its elements will stay with you the rest of your life. That's part of the price of your humanity. But it doesn't have to effect you or those around you negatively (as it may be now or has in the past).

The approach to healing I’ve pursued (and will probably pursue for the remainder of my life) is “Inner-healing Prayer (IHP).” If you google Francis MacNutt, Rita Bennet, Betty Tapscott, or David Seamands, you’ll find a wealth of information on IHP.

In a nutshell, IHP is the practice of remembering the traumatic event in question and inviting Jesus to come be with you in it to help you give voice to the sticky emotions (and unwanted shame-based reactions) that have kept you prisoner; experience the healing Presence of Almighty God; and traverse the winding paths of true, biblical forgiveness (for yourself, God[1], and those who hurt you) and whole-hearted repentance (basically, the complete rethinking [or revisioning] of your life and relationships with God, yourself, others, and even nature). Since it can be very difficult to do this on your own, I recommend you seek out someone with skill and experience in IHP, who can talk with you, pray with you, and walk with you through such remembrances and returnings.

Yes, it's quite possible to heal (or find significant healing) from trauma. It just takes time and work and, often, the assistance of others. I'm in the process right now of searching for a Christian therapist, who can talk with me, pray with me, and walk with me in just such a manner.

If you want to talk with me about some of these things, please feel free to email me at dave@TempleMartialArtsTraining.com

God's peace to you, dear friend...


  1. Acknowledged or not, almost everyone who's suffered significant trauma holds God (at least partially) responsible. Even though God did nothing wrong, ultimately, you must forgive Him for the things you're holding against Him. God knows you're mad at Him, and He understands completely why you feel the way do. It's okay (in fact, it's more than just okay) to tell God EXACTLY how you feel about Him. Go ahead...tell Him; it won't offend Him or hurt His Feelings. He already knows about it anyway. There's really no sense pretending you don't feel what you feel. Go to Him now...and tell Him exactly how you're feeling. CU...


My new book, Experiments in Prayer: Monastic Practice in Ordinary Life, is now available in Paperback and Kindle/eBook formats on Amazon.

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A Note to All My Blog and Social Media Friends and Followers:

I've made it a point, over the last decade, to accept friend and follower requests from any who ask. I think I've "defriended" only three or four people in the last ten years and did so only because they posted inappropriate material to one of my walls or timelines. Thankfully, it's been several years since anyone committed such a breech of etiquette.

I write all this to indicate I have many "friends" and "followers," whom I do not know personally (yet!). Lately, I've been getting countless (sometimes more than 200 a day) messages from people I don't know. Please know this: I speak a brief word of blessing over each person who sends me a message, but I can respond directly to only a few each day. If I did not discipline my activities in this way, I could, conceivably, spend my entire day every day responding to such messages.

By disciplining myself to the above social media activity-limitation plan, I in no way want to belittle or disrespect anyone or hurt anyone's feelings. My hope and prayer is that, even if I don’t respond to your message directly, you will know I cherish you and pray you'll experience God's love and grace personally and deeply. Experiencing God is the highest Good anyone could ever experience. May each of you experience such Good through your pursuits of Divine Union with Jesus Christ, the Eternal Living God.

As always, may the Lord bless you and keep you…


IKIGAI Weekly Blog Schedule (per The Training Trinity):

Mondays: Meditative Prayer

Wednesdays: Holistic Discipline

Fridays: Martial Arts Practice



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