08/04/2014 03:30 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Views From Down Under -- Trauma

2014-08-04-sTRAUMATICBRAININJURYsmall.jpgI recently attended a trauma workshop for therapists and what I took from this session really made me sit up and take note. Australia is holding a Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse in Intuitions; the commission's next step will be looking into adult survivors of child abuse in the community. Unfortunately in Australia the three big churches have harbored the offenders. Many stories were found to be covered up and priests, bishops and other clergy simply got off scott free or have since died.

The complex trauma that the victims have carried with them all these years is no less than the day the abuse started to occur; our minds simply push the memories into the subconscious. Complex trauma is developmental trauma, so as children these adults didn't have the opportunity to go through normal early childhood development. They experienced abnormal development and learned to live their lives in a state of hyper- or hypo-pathological states, which can result in long-term disease, disability, chronic social problems or early death. Also to factor in are the inter-generational transmission, passing on the mental health issues to the next generation.

Looking closer at this inter-generational transmission of abuse we can see how each generation has coped, some in silence, depression, suicide or turning to substance abuse. You see when your early attachment bonds in childhood or as babies are missing or dysfunctional then this can send messages of feeling unsafe and not knowing your physical boundaries. Quite often an abused child will grow up to be an abuser him or herself; this is the tragedy of a systemic system that firstly treats the victims, e.g., a drug addict as a criminal, not a person who needs help and healing and the perpetrators not always held accountable as we have seen within the churches. Perpetrators need re-education in changing beliefs, this is the neural networks sparking up new pathways. Once it's understood that change is possible, then you can change your thinking and the mind will take care of the rest.

I had to ponder the Australian Indigenous Aboriginals when I was sitting in that room learning about the systemic abuse, the repercussions, the inter-generational impact, the stigmas and the sad state of our understanding as a community and individuals towards those that seem to appear less fortunate than us, those who had babies, infants and young children taken from them. A whole race affected by induced trauma. How have they coped?


There is hope though; Dr. Bruce Lipton, the author of The Biology of Belief, has done some groundbreaking work in the field of new biology or epigenetics. He is a former medical school professor and research scientist. His experiments, and those of other leading-edge scientists, have examined in great detail the mechanisms by which cells receive and process information. The implications of this research radically change our understanding of life. It shows that genes and DNA do not control our biology, that instead DNA is controlled by signals from outside the cell, including the energetic messages emanating from our positive and negative thoughts. Dr. Lipton's profoundly hopeful synthesis of the latest and best research in cell biology and quantum physics is being hailed as a major breakthrough, showing that our bodies can be changed as we retrain our thinking.

Epigenetics has made it clear that there is no escaping the truth it lays within our very deepest self. You cannot run away from your circumstances, you can't hide behind a facade or pretend to be who you are not, you cannot disconnect and you cannot fane ignorance, because every cell in your body holds that memory of the abuse and you cannot change yourself, your future generations until you change your thinking. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help as can Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy and many other therapies, but to think we must feel, so never under estimate the power of mediation and yoga as extra tools towards finding well-being and good psychological health.


Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-656-HOPE for the National Sexual Assault Hotline.