Book Review | Healing Trauma by Peter Levine

Healing Trauma is a groundbreaking book by Peter Levine that offers a fresh perspective on the treatment of trauma. The author has extensive experience in the field of trauma therapy and has developed a unique approach that combines Eastern wisdom with Western science.

The book begins by exploring the nature of trauma and its effects on the body and mind. Levine argues that trauma is not simply a psychological phenomenon, but a somatic one as well. Trauma is stored in the body, and unless it is released, it can continue to cause physical and emotional pain. He believes that by addressing the body’s response to trauma, we can begin to heal the wounds that have been inflicted.

Levine’s approach is based on his understanding of the body’s natural healing capacity. He believes that trauma can be healed by reconnecting with the body’s innate wisdom and by restoring the body’s natural balance. He explains that trauma disrupts the body’s natural rhythms, and that the key to healing is to restore these rhythms.

One of the most powerful aspects of Levine’s approach is his emphasis on the importance of grounding. He believes that trauma disconnects us from our bodies, and that grounding techniques can help us reconnect. He says, “Rebuilding connection is really the key to all of these exercises, because trauma is about a loss of connection, first to the body and self, and second to others and the environment.” Levine offers a variety of grounding exercises that are designed to help us feel more present in our bodies and to help us feel safe and secure.

Another key element of Levine’s approach is the use of somatic experiencing. This is a technique that helps individuals release the energy that has been trapped in their bodies as a result of trauma. Levine explains that trauma is often accompanied by intense physical sensations, and that these sensations can be released through somatic experiencing.

Levine’s approach is also deeply compassionate. He recognizes the suffering that trauma can cause, and he offers a gentle, compassionate approach to healing. He emphasizes the importance of self-care, and he encourages individuals to take responsibility for their own healing.

Overall, Healing Trauma is a powerful and important book that offers hope and healing to those who have suffered from trauma. Levine’s approach is based on a deep understanding of the body’s natural healing capacity, and his emphasis on grounding and somatic experiencing makes his approach both unique and effective. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has experienced trauma or wants to know more about how to help others who are struggling after a traumatic experience.

Personal Mythology: Beauty and the Beast

Journal Date: February 2, 2021

In contrast to the first myth I wrote about, my second (and earlier one) is much more fun. 

As a little girl, my favorite movie was Beauty and the Beast. I was literally obsessed with Belle (though I wouldn’t call her my favorite princess– for the purpose of this exercise, let’s say favorite Disney “archetype”).

To go back and look at this story and the character of Belle is both endearing and amusing to me.

I hadn’t thought about this movie or how much I loved it in years, maybe decades, even.

So it was pretty amazing to me to discover that my adult self had turned out to be so similar to this character I’d admired so much as a child.

Here are some examples of the similarities that I had a good laugh about while I listened to the song called Belle from the original movie:

There goes the baker with his tray, like always
The same old bread and rolls to sell
Every morning just the same
Since the morning that we came
To this poor provincial town
Me complaining about living in Eastvale, or about “normal” day-to-day life in general.
Look there she goes, that girl is strange, no question
Dazed and distracted, can’t you tell?
Never part of any crowd’
Cause her head’s up on some cloud
No denying she’s a funny girl, that Belle
Accurate. This is how I live my life, with my head in a book.
Look there she goes, that girl is so peculiar
I wonder if she’s feeling well
With a dreamy, far-off look
And her nose stuck in a book
What a puzzle to the rest of us is Belle
How often have I heard people say that I’m “super pretty but super weird”? Or wonder why I’m so different from everyone else?
Now it’s no wonder that her name means “Beauty”
Her looks have got no parallel
But behind that fair façade
I’m afraid she’s rather odd
Very diff’rent from the rest of us is Belle
It’s true. People usually do seem to perceive me this way.
Look there she goes
The girl is strange but special
A most peculiar mademoiselle!
It’s a pity and a sin
She doesn’t quite fit in
‘Cause she really is a funny girl
A beauty but a funny girl
She really is a funny girl
That Belle!
Seems to be the general consensus about me…

It might seem a little silly at first, but I think there’s something to this idea of having a personal myth that your soul wants to follow. 

I’m tempted to say that the movie had a big influence on me, but in reality, I think it may have been the other way around. I think I was so drawn to it because there was something in me that recognized itself this story.

“Stories like that are the stories that lead us to developing our intuition, and using it, and saying, ‘This is right, this is my life, this is the way it should be,” Estés says. “Think of the story or movie or book or dream that you’re really taken with: it’s because it resonates to the deepest symbols within your own psyche.”

So maybe this is it. Maybe I don’t need to go back and make all these revisions to the later myths of mine, because I had it right with the first and original one I chose as a little girl to begin with.

And believe it or not, Belle does share some essential characteristics with characters like Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina.

At the root of their personalities is the tendency to be a dreamer, and a certain dissatisfaction with living a quotidian existence they are told they are supposed to want.

They all dare to go against conventions and imagine something more for themselves.

Maybe the only difference is, Belle stays true to herself, and true to her integrity. She’s different in that she has faith that she can have what she desires without violating her principles. 

Her compassionate and loving nature does not become a liability, but is in fact the essential key to achieving her dreams.

Most importantly, she belongs to herself. She honors herself and makes choices for herself that reflect that.

As an example, she doesn’t give in and marry Gaston, no matter what a prize he seems to be in the eyes of the townspeople. 

She doesn’t back down and diminish who she is or compromise her values, no matter how weird or strange anyone else thinks she is.

Her peculiarities do, in fact, make her ill-suited to achieving the kind of success the townspeople would recognize.

However, it is these very same qualities that make her the only one who is capable of lifting the curse put on the prince by the witch and restoring harmony and beauty to the castle. 

It is through her stubborn desires and continued capacity to dream and love that she is able to achieve her dreams and bring healing to where it is needed most.

So that’s it.

That’s the new ending to my story.

This is how I will reclaim my original guiding mythology.

May I find that I too be able to live like Belle, may I always remember it is truly possible to create what I dream of.

And the best part?

I don’t have to change or alter anything about me.

I just have to let the true self emerge.

That is enough.

Maybe it always has been.

Inner Beso Dream

Journal Date: February 2, 2021

At the end of the collection of short stories in Warming the Stone Child, Clarissa Pinkola Estés offers a couple tips for continuing the healing journey on your own.

The first one is this: “Pay attention to your dreams. Your dreams will tell you everything. In terms of injured instinct, dreams that are about animals that are injured or not acting properly are very good clues to what is hurt or what is injured in the deep unconscious.”

It’s funny, because just days before I heard this in this book, I had a very intense dream which fits what Estés is describing here perfectly.

From what I can remember, I had been struggling inside of this dream for a while before the parts that I became more directly conscious of occurred.

I remember that in this dream, I had been at a party for quite some time, feeling more and more frustrated as it went on.

Both my best friend and my ex-boyfriend were there. In this dream, we were still dating, but I could tell that he was losing interest, and not wanting to be with me.

Then my best friend showed up, and somehow it became known that she intended to sleep with him.

I tried to convince her not to do that, but apparently I didn’t do a very good job, because that’s exactly what happened next.

And in the dream, I just could not get over it.

I held on to that so tightly, with so much resentment and bitterness. I just couldn’t let it go. I told everyone I met. It was the only thing I wanted to talk about in my dream, really.

It just went on and on like that, endlessly, without reprieve.

It was like I had to convince anybody who would come near me how wrong it was. How it was something which could never be forgiven, which I had to hold onto forever.

This went on for a frustratingly long amount of time.

Until suddenly, I found that I was no longer at the party, but back on the streets of Whittier, making my way back towards my childhood home on Friends Ave.

And I had a little baby Beso in a wrinkled up, used and old plastic bag inside of my black backpack, just like the one I had in middle school.

Baby Beso was very sick.

I had fed him something toxic without knowing it was poisonous to him.

And so now I was trying to make my way back to this house, thinking that it was here that I would be able to take Beso out of the old bag in the backpack. 

I knew that he was suffering in there, it was dark and poorly ventilated, and I could only rarely look inside to check on him and see if he was even still alive.

And on top of this, I kept getting distracted, caught up again and again in telling everyone I encountered what a victim I was, and how I would never forgive them for what they had done to me.

This went on until I found myself on a street near Uptown Whittier, one which was on the other side of the alley where I had often walked through on my way to another friend’s house.

I took one last look inside of my backpack to check on baby Beso–and he was not doing well.

His eyes were red, deeply irritated all around the edges, and it was clear that he was suffering, struggling and very much in pain.

I was worried that he may not make it all the way to my mother’s house.

But I was convinced, for some reason, that there was nothing I could do until I reached this place, so I put him in my backpack again, and kept on walking.

And then I woke up.

I thought about that dream quite a bit that day. Clearly, there seemed to be a significant connection between what went on in my dream and in my world.

I remembered how my therapist has started calling the part of me that still needs mothering, the child within that requires loving attention and care, my “Inner Beso.”

I think it’s because I talk about my dog all the time, and how much I love being his “mom,” and how much I’ve learned from caring for him. I think he keeps saying that to encourage me to do the same for myself, to transfer my Beso-mothering skills into inner child, self-mothering skills.

What I got from analyzing my dream was this:

Maybe the bitterness and resentment I’ve been feeling towards my family aren’t serving a purpose anymore.

Maybe they are poisonous, maybe they are the toxic food that I have unknowingly been feeding my “inner Beso.”

And maybe I’m just going in the wrong direction entirely.

Why go revisit that old place in Whittier? 

Why go “home”?

There was nothing nourishing in that place to begin with. To keep returning there no longer makes any sense to me.

Maybe it’s just a distraction, a dangerous lie putting my inner child at further risk of being harmed.

Maybe the thing to do is attend to my “inner Beso” now, right where I’m at, as imperfect as that may be.

And please, take him out of that dirty old bag in your backpack immediately!

There is no reason to hide him away anymore.

All of this is to say, I need to turn and start heading in the other direction now.

This return to the childhood home, the return to the past, has served its purpose and outlived its usefulness. 

I’ve learned what I came to learn. Now is the time to move beyond it.

And I don’t need to wait to start caring for myself. I can start feeding my “inner Beso” healthy, nourishing food. 

I can give myself experiences that fill me up and nourish my soul.

I don’t have to wait anymore.

The Anima and the Animus in Jungian Psychology

Carl Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology. Among his contributions to this field was the concept of the anima and animus, which refers to the feminine and masculine aspects of the human psyche, respectively. According to Jung, every person has both an anima and an animus, regardless of their gender. These two archetypes represent the inner world of a person and can affect their behavior and relationships.

Jung believed that the anima and animus have a powerful influence on the psyche, often operating on an unconscious level. The anima represents the feminine qualities within a man’s psyche, while the animus represents the masculine qualities within a woman’s psyche. Each person has their own unique anima or animus, and it can take on a variety of forms depending on the individual’s experiences and personal history.

Jung believed that the anima and animus function as the mediator between the conscious and unconscious mind, helping to bridge the gap between the two. By embracing these inner archetypes, individuals can become more whole and integrated, leading to a greater sense of balance and harmony in their lives.

In men, the anima often appears as a feminine ideal, representing the qualities of tenderness, intuition, and emotion. It can also manifest in the form of a muse, inspiring creativity and artistic expression. Men who are in touch with their anima tend to be more empathetic and compassionate, with a greater understanding of the emotional needs of others.

However, when a man is not in touch with his anima, he may become overly aggressive or detached from his emotions, leading to problems in his relationships with others. He may struggle to connect with his partner emotionally, leading to feelings of isolation and loneliness. Conversely, a man who is too in touch with his anima may become overly sensitive and lack the assertiveness needed to maintain healthy boundaries in his relationships.

In women, the animus often appears as a masculine ideal, representing the qualities of assertiveness, logic, and rationality. It can also manifest in the form of a protector, providing strength and support in times of need. Women who are in touch with their animus tend to be more independent and self-assured, with a greater ability to navigate the challenges of life.

However, when a woman is not in touch with her animus, she may become overly passive or dependent on others, leading to a lack of autonomy and self-confidence. She may struggle to assert herself in her relationships, leading to feelings of powerlessness and resentment. Conversely, a woman who is too in touch with her animus may become overly aggressive or domineering, leading to difficulties in her relationships with others.

In relationships, the anima and animus can play a significant role in shaping the dynamics between partners. For example, a man who is in touch with his anima may be more attuned to his partner’s emotional needs, leading to a greater sense of intimacy and connection. Conversely, a man who is disconnected from his anima may struggle to understand his partner’s emotional cues, leading to misunderstandings and conflicts.

Similarly, a woman who is in touch with her animus may be more assertive and confident in her relationships, leading to a greater sense of equality and respect between partners. However, a woman who is overly identified with her animus may become overly aggressive or domineering, leading to power struggles and conflicts with her partner.

In conclusion, Carl Jung’s theory of the anima and animus provides valuable insights into the feminine and masculine aspects of the human psyche and how they operate in relationships. Embracing and integrating these inner archetypes can lead to greater balance and harmony in one’s life and relationships.

However, an imbalance or over-identification with either the anima or animus can lead to difficulties and conflicts. Understanding and working with these archetypes can help individuals navigate their relationships more effectively and cultivate a greater sense of wholeness and self-awareness.

Book Review | Complex PTSD by Pete Walker

Complex PTSD, written by Pete Walker, is a book that is aimed at providing a deeper understanding of trauma and its effects on the psyche. This book goes into detail on the topic of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a subtype of PTSD that arises from prolonged exposure to traumatic experiences. In this book review, we will analyze how the author’s use of case studies helps readers understand the complexities of trauma and the strategies that can be used to overcome its lasting effects. Additionally, we will explore how the book emphasizes the potential for healing and provides tools for managing emotional flashbacks.

Part I: Understanding Complex PTSD

The first part of the book provides an overview of complex PTSD and its symptoms. The author discusses how trauma can affect a person’s mental health and emotional wellbeing, leading to anxiety, depression, and a range of physical symptoms. In this section, the author highlights the symptoms of complex PTSD, which are different from those of regular PTSD.

For example, emotional flashbacks are a hallmark symptom of complex PTSD, and they can be triggered by seemingly innocuous events. The author shares a case study of a client who experienced intense feelings of fear and anxiety whenever she saw a man with a beard. This was because her abuser had a beard, and the sight of a bearded man triggered an emotional flashback. By sharing this case study, the author helps readers understand the complexities of emotional flashbacks and how they can be triggered by seemingly minor events.

Part II: The Roots of Complex PTSD

In the second part of the book, the author delves into the roots of complex PTSD and how it develops. The author explains that complex PTSD often arises from prolonged exposure to trauma, particularly in childhood. The author highlights the various forms of childhood trauma that can lead to complex PTSD, such as physical and sexual abuse, neglect, and emotional abuse.

The author shares a case study of a woman who experienced emotional abuse as a child. The woman’s mother was constantly critical of her, telling her she was worthless and would never amount to anything. As a result, the woman developed a deep sense of shame and self-loathing that persisted into adulthood. By sharing this case study, the author helps readers understand how childhood trauma can have lasting effects on a person’s mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Part III: Healing from Complex PTSD

The third part of the book focuses on healing from complex PTSD. The author emphasizes the potential for healing and provides a range of strategies and techniques for overcoming the lasting effects of trauma. 

The author provides an in-depth discussion of emotional flashbacks and how they can be managed. The author emphasizes that emotional flashbacks are not memories of past events, but rather intense emotional states that are triggered by present-day situations that resemble past traumas. The author provides tools for managing emotional flashbacks, such as grounding techniques, self-compassion, and mindfulness.

The author shares a case study of a client who experienced intense feelings of shame and self-blame whenever she made a mistake. These feelings were triggered by past experiences of being punished for making mistakes. The client learned to recognize when she was experiencing an emotional flashback and used grounding techniques to bring herself back to the present moment. In sharing this case study, the author helps readers understand how emotional flashbacks can be managed and overcome.

One of the most important tools for managing emotional flashbacks is the “flashback management toolbox.” This toolbox includes a variety of techniques that can help trauma survivors recognize and manage their emotional flashbacks, including:

  • Grounding techniques: These techniques involve using the five senses to anchor oneself in the present moment. For example, a person might focus on the sensation of their feet on the ground, the sound of their breathing, or the feeling of a cool breeze on their skin.
  • Self-compassion: When experiencing emotional flashbacks, trauma survivors can be extremely hard on themselves, blaming themselves for their feelings or believing that they are weak. Self-compassion involves treating oneself with kindness and understanding, recognizing that emotional flashbacks are a normal and understandable response to trauma.
  • Mindfulness: Mindfulness techniques involve cultivating awareness of one’s thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations without judgment. By practicing mindfulness, trauma survivors can learn to observe their emotional flashbacks without getting lost in them.
  • Inner child work: Inner child work involves connecting with the wounded child within oneself and providing that child with the love, support, and nurturing that they may have missed out on in childhood. By connecting with the inner child, trauma survivors can begin to heal the wounds of the past and build a stronger sense of self.

I especially recommend reviewing Walker’s 13 Steps for Managing Flashbacks, which have personally been an invaluable resource when it comes to recognizing and managing my own triggers and flashbacks.

In conclusion, Complex PTSD by Pete Walker is a remarkable book that provides a deep understanding of the impact of trauma on individuals, particularly in the form of complex post-traumatic stress disorder. The author’s compassionate and insightful approach to complex PTSD offers practical tools and resources to help people overcome the effects of trauma and live a more fulfilling life.

One of the book’s essential messages is that healing from trauma is possible. By understanding the origins of complex PTSD and using the right tools and support, we can learn to manage their symptoms effectively and reclaim our lives. The author’s emphasis on self-care, self-compassion, and mindfulness in the healing process is particularly powerful, as it highlights the importance of treating oneself with kindness and compassion, which can be challenging for trauma survivors.

Overall, Complex PTSD is a must-read for anyone who has experienced trauma or works with trauma survivors. The book provides hope and practical strategies for individuals struggling with the effects of trauma, emphasizing that healing is possible and within reach. The author’s message of resilience and potential for personal healing is truly inspiring and can serve as a beacon of hope for anyone who has suffered the effects of trauma. 

Reading this book has been one of the most important factors in my own personal healing journey of recovery from Complex PTSD. I recommend it to anyone who faces similar challenges. It is my hope that it will help many others the way it has helped me.

The Four Elements in Alchemy

Alchemy is an ancient practice that sought to transform base materials into higher states of being through the manipulation of the four classical elements: earth, air, fire, and water. These elements were believed to be the building blocks of all matter, and their manipulation was thought by some to hold the key to unlocking the secrets of the universe.

In alchemy, the four elements were not just physical substances, but also represented spiritual and metaphysical concepts. Each element was associated with specific qualities and characteristics that were thought to correspond to different aspects of the human psyche and the natural world.

The first element, earth, represented the solid, material aspect of the world. It was associated with stability, grounding, and physicality. Alchemists believed that earth was the foundation of all things, and that it was necessary to master this element in order to achieve true transformation.

The second element, air, represented the intangible, ephemeral aspects of the world. It was associated with thought, communication, and the realm of the mind. Alchemists believed that mastering air was essential for achieving enlightenment, as it allowed one to transcend the physical world and connect with higher realms of consciousness.

The third element, fire, represented the transformative power of energy. It was associated with passion, creativity, and the spark of life. Alchemists believed that fire was the key to transmuting base materials into higher states of being, and that it was necessary to harness this element in order to achieve true transformation.

The fourth element, water, represented the fluidity and adaptability of the world. It was associated with emotion, intuition, and the unconscious. Alchemists believed that water was the key to understanding the hidden aspects of reality, and that it was necessary to develop a deep connection with this element in order to achieve spiritual growth.

The four elements were not viewed as static, isolated substances, but as interdependent and constantly in flux. Alchemists believed that the key to transformation lay in understanding the relationships between the elements and manipulating their interactions in order to achieve the desired outcome.

In addition to their symbolic associations, the four elements were also used in alchemical experiments and processes. For example, earth was used as a container for other materials, air was used to heat and dry substances, fire was used to melt and transform metals, and water was used to purify and dissolve materials.

Together, the four elements form the basis of alchemy, representing the fundamental principles of stability, transformation, purification, and dissolution. By understanding the functions of each element, alchemists were able to manipulate and transform materials in order to create something new and valuable.

Book Review | Mothers Who Can’t Love by Susan Forward

“Mothers Who Can’t Love” by Susan Forward is a comprehensive exploration of the complex and often painful relationship between mothers and daughters. The book delves into the psychological dynamics at play when mothers struggle to love their daughters, providing a deep understanding of the various types of maternal neglect, abuse, and emotional unavailability that can impact a child’s emotional and psychological well-being.

Throughout the book, Forward draws on her years of experience as a therapist to offer a nuanced and compassionate understanding of the different types of mothers who struggle to love their daughters. These include controlling, dismissive, narcissistic, and emotionally absent mothers, among others. She provides a clear and well-organized framework for understanding these different types of mothers, and the ways in which they impact their daughters’ lives.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part lays out the different types of unloving mothers, such as the narcissistic mother, the overly controlling mother, the mentally ill mother, and the addicted mother, and their impact on the child’s psyche. The author skillfully uses real-life stories of her clients to illustrate each type of mother, making the book relatable and accessible to readers who may have experienced similar situations.

The second part delves deeper into the various emotional wounds that an unloving mother can inflict on her child. The author explains how the child may feel invisible, unworthy, or constantly seeking validation due to the mother’s neglect or emotional manipulation. She also describes how a daughter may develop a fear of intimacy or a sense of shame about her body or sexuality due to her mother’s attitudes towards sex and relationships.

The third part of the book provides practical advice on how to heal from the wounds of an unloving mother. The author offers specific exercises and strategies for readers to work through their pain and reclaim their lives. She emphasizes the importance of self-care, self-compassion, and setting healthy boundaries in relationships.

One of the most compelling aspects of the book is the case studies that Forward includes. These stories are poignant and often heart-wrenching, but they also serve to illustrate the broader themes and concepts that Forward explores. Each case study is carefully crafted and sensitively presented, and readers are likely to find that they can relate to many of the experiences described. The case studies help readers to better understand how these dynamics can play out in real-life situations and provide valuable insight into how to recognize and heal from these experiences.

Another strength of the book is the practical guidance and advice that Forward offers. She provides exercises and strategies for setting boundaries, healing emotional wounds, and learning to love oneself. This is an invaluable resource for anyone who has struggled with a difficult or absent mother, and the exercises are easy to follow and implement.

One of the key takeaways from “Mothers Who Can’t Love” is the importance of self-compassion and self-care. The book highlights the many ways in which daughters of unloving mothers may internalize negative beliefs about themselves and their worth, and offers practical guidance on how to break free from these patterns of thought and behavior. By providing a roadmap for healing, Forward empowers readers to take control of their own lives and relationships, and to create a more positive and fulfilling future for themselves.

What sets “Mothers Who Can’t Love” apart from other self-help books is the author’s deep understanding of the complexities of mother-daughter relationships. She acknowledges that not all mothers are capable of love and that the child’s pain is real and valid. The author also highlights the societal pressures that reinforce the myth of the perfect mother and the shame and guilt that daughters may feel for not having a loving relationship with their mother.

Overall, “Mothers Who Can’t Love” is a must-read book for anyone who has struggled with the pain of an unloving mother or for those who want to understand the impact of maternal neglect or abuse on a child’s development. The author’s insights and strategies for healing offer hope and inspiration to readers who may feel stuck in their pain.

Attachment Theory

Attachment theory is a psychological framework that explores the nature of human relationships, particularly those between children and their primary caregivers. Developed by British psychologist John Bowlby in the 1950s, the theory asserts that early experiences with caregivers shape the quality of one’s interpersonal relationships throughout their life.

Bowlby’s research, based on observations of children in institutional care and those who had been separated from their parents during World War II, led him to propose the concept of attachment as an innate, adaptive behavioral system. He argued that infants are biologically programmed to form close emotional bonds with their primary caregivers as a survival strategy, which becomes the foundation for later social and emotional development.

One of the most famous experiments associated with attachment theory is the Strange Situation, developed by psychologist Mary Ainsworth in collaboration with Bowlby. The Strange Situation was designed to observe the behavior of children between the ages of 12 and 18 months when separated from their caregivers and reunited with them in an unfamiliar environment.

In the Strange Situation, a child and their caregiver enter a room with toys and furniture unfamiliar to the child. The child is encouraged to explore the room while the caregiver sits nearby. A stranger then enters the room and interacts with the child while the caregiver remains present. The caregiver then leaves the room, leaving the child with the stranger. The caregiver returns and the stranger leaves. Finally, the caregiver leaves the room again, leaving the child alone. The caregiver then returns and reunites with the child.

Ainsworth’s observations during the Strange Situation led her to identify four main attachment styles that emerged from the behaviors of the children. These styles are:

  1. Secure attachment: Infants with secure attachment feel safe and confident when their caregiver is present and become upset when they leave. However, they are easily comforted when their caregiver returns and resume exploration of their surroundings.
  2. Avoidant attachment: Infants with avoidant attachment do not show distress when their caregiver leaves and do not seek comfort from them upon their return. They appear indifferent to their caregiver’s presence and may prefer to explore their surroundings alone.
  3. Ambivalent attachment: Infants with ambivalent attachment become extremely distressed when their caregiver leaves and are inconsolable when they return. They often resist comfort from their caregiver and may simultaneously seek and reject it.
  4. Disorganized attachment: Infants with disorganized attachment display confused and contradictory behaviors in the Strange Situation. They may show a mix of avoidant and ambivalent behaviors or display odd, frozen, or bizarre reactions.

Attachment theory has been found to have important implications for mental health, social functioning, and romantic relationships throughout the lifespan.

Secure attachment has been linked to greater emotional regulation, self-esteem, and social competence. Avoidant attachment has been associated with emotional withdrawal, difficulty in forming close relationships, and elevated risk for mental health issues. Ambivalent attachment has been linked to anxiety, clinginess, and difficulty in managing emotions. Disorganized attachment has been associated with higher rates of trauma exposure, dissociation, and mental health disorders.

Overall, attachment theory emphasizes the crucial role of early relationships in shaping one’s sense of self, relationships, and emotional regulation.

The Language of the Birds

Birds have fascinated humans since ancient times, and they have been associated with various beliefs and myths. In alchemy, birds have several meanings, depending on their species, color, behavior, and other characteristics. Some of the most common birds in alchemical symbolism are the phoenix, the peacock, the eagle, the crow, and the dove.

The phoenix is perhaps the most iconic bird in alchemy, representing the cycle of death and rebirth, the purification of the soul, and the attainment of immortality. According to the legend, the phoenix lives for several hundred years, builds a nest of aromatic woods, and sets it on fire to consume itself in the flames. From the ashes, a new phoenix arises, symbolizing the spiritual transformation that alchemists sought. The phoenix is often depicted with wings spread, surrounded by fire, and holding a serpent or an egg in its beak.

The peacock is another bird that has strong symbolic associations in alchemy. Known for its beautiful and colorful feathers, the peacock represents the integration of opposites, the harmony of the elements, and the attainment of enlightenment. In alchemy, the peacock often appears as an emblem of the Philosopher’s Stone, which is believed to have the power to transmute base metals into gold and grant eternal life. The peacock is sometimes depicted with a serpent in its claws or a crown on its head, indicating its regal and mystical nature.

In the fermentation stage of alchemy, the symbolism of the peacock and the cauda pavonis takes on a specific meaning. Fermentation is the stage in which the prima materia, or the raw material, is broken down and transformed by the addition of a fermenting agent, such as yeast or bacteria. The peacock symbolizes the raw material before fermentation, while the cauda pavonis represents the colorful and transformative process of fermentation itself. The colors and patterns that emerge during fermentation are a sign that the raw material is being broken down and transformed into something new and more complex. Just as the peacock sheds its feathers to reveal new ones, so too does the raw material shed its old form during fermentation to become something new and more refined. The symbolism of the peacock and the cauda pavonis therefore represents the transformative power of fermentation in alchemy, as well as the ever-evolving nature of the alchemical process itself.

The eagle is a bird of prey that is associated with the sun, the element of fire, and the masculine principle in alchemy. The eagle represents the soaring spirit, the divine nature of the soul, and the pursuit of excellence. In alchemy, the eagle is often shown with wings extended, holding a thunderbolt or a scepter, and gazing at the sun or the stars. The eagle also symbolizes the alchemist’s aspiration to rise above the mundane world and attain spiritual enlightenment.

The crow is a bird that has ambiguous connotations in alchemy, representing both the shadow aspect of the psyche and the transformative power of darkness. The crow is associated with the element of air, the lunar cycle, and the feminine principle. In alchemy, the crow often appears as a messenger, a guide, or a trickster, leading the alchemist to the hidden depths of the unconscious. The crow is sometimes depicted with a key or a lantern, indicating its role as a guardian of secrets and mysteries.

The dove is a bird that represents peace, purity, and love in alchemy. The dove is associated with the element of water, the moon, and the feminine principle. In alchemy, the dove often appears as a symbol of the Holy Spirit, the divine grace that descends upon the alchemist during the process of transformation. The dove is sometimes depicted with an olive branch or a heart, indicating its role as a bringer of blessings and healing.

In conclusion, birds have played a significant role in alchemical symbolism, representing various aspects of spiritual transformation, purification, and enlightenment. The phoenix, the peacock, the eagle, the crow, and the dove are some of the most common birds used in alchemy, each with its unique meanings and associations. By understanding the symbolism of birds in alchemy, we can gain insights into the alchemical process and the mysteries of the universe.

Book Review | It Didn’t Start With You by Mark Wolynn

“It Didn’t Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle” by Mark Wolynn is a powerful and insightful exploration of the impact of intergenerational trauma on individuals and families. The book offers a fresh perspective on how our ancestors’ experiences and traumas can shape our lives today, and provides practical tools for healing and breaking the cycle of inherited trauma.

Wolynn begins the book by sharing his own personal journey of discovery and healing from his family’s trauma, which ultimately led him to become a leading expert in the field of inherited family trauma. He explains the science behind how trauma can be passed down through generations, including the concept of epigenetics, which suggests that trauma can become “imprinted” on our DNA.

One of the central themes of the book is the idea that we are all connected to our ancestors and that their experiences and traumas can influence our lives today. Wolynn explains how this can manifest in a variety of ways, including chronic physical and emotional issues, relationship patterns, financial struggles, and self-destructive behaviors. He provides numerous real-life examples of individuals who have struggled with these issues and how they were able to identify and heal from the underlying trauma.

One of the most powerful aspects of the book is Wolynn’s emphasis on the importance of acknowledging and honoring our ancestors’ experiences and traumas. He argues that by recognizing and owning the experiences of our ancestors, we can begin to heal ourselves and break the cycle of inherited trauma. He encourages readers to explore their family history and to connect with their ancestors in a meaningful way, through practices such as guided meditations, journaling, and visualization exercises.

Wolynn also provides practical tools and exercises for readers to identify and heal from their own inherited family trauma. He includes guided meditations and journal prompts, as well as visualization exercises to help readers connect with their ancestors and release trauma from their bodies. Additionally, he provides resources for finding professional support and guidance, such as therapists and trauma healers who specialize in intergenerational trauma.

The book is divided into three parts, each of which delves deeper into the concept of intergenerational trauma and offers practical tools for healing. Part One focuses on understanding the science behind intergenerational trauma and how it can manifest in our lives. Part Two explores the impact of trauma on different aspects of our lives, including our physical health, relationships, and financial well-being. Part Three provides practical tools and exercises for identifying and healing from inherited family trauma.

Here are three examples from the book of how inherited family trauma can manifest in our lives:

  1. Chronic health issues: Wolynn shares the story of a woman named Maria who had struggled with chronic migraines for years. Through exploring her family history, she discovered that her grandfather had been imprisoned and tortured during a war in their home country. Wolynn explains how the trauma of her grandfather’s experience had been passed down through the generations, and how it was manifesting in Maria’s physical health. By acknowledging and honoring her grandfather’s experience and releasing the trauma from her body through visualization exercises, Maria was able to significantly reduce the frequency and intensity of her migraines.
  2. Relationship patterns: Wolynn describes how individuals can unknowingly repeat the relationship patterns of their ancestors, often based on unresolved trauma. He shares the story of a man named Peter who had a pattern of attracting partners who were emotionally unavailable. Through exploring his family history, Peter discovered that his great-grandmother had been abandoned by her husband during a war and had struggled to raise her children alone. Wolynn explains how this trauma had been passed down through the generations and how it was manifesting in Peter’s relationship patterns. By acknowledging and honoring his great-grandmother’s experience and working through his own feelings of abandonment, Peter was able to break the cycle of inherited trauma and attract healthier relationships.
  3. Financial struggles: Wolynn explores how inherited family trauma can manifest in financial struggles, often due to beliefs and patterns passed down through generations. He shares the story of a woman named Sarah who had struggled with debt and financial insecurity for years. Through exploring her family history, Sarah discovered that her grandfather had lost everything during the Great Depression and had struggled to provide for his family. Wolynn explains how this trauma had been passed down through the generations and how it was manifesting in Sarah’s financial struggles. By acknowledging and honoring her grandfather’s experience and releasing the trauma from her body through visualization exercises, Sarah was able to shift her beliefs and patterns around money and create a more secure financial future for herself.

Overall, “It Didn’t Start With You” is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the impact of intergenerational trauma on individuals and families. Wolynn’s compassionate and insightful approach to this complex topic makes the book accessible and empowering for readers at any level of experience. Whether you are struggling with chronic issues or simply seeking to understand your family history, this book provides a roadmap for healing and breaking the cycle of inherited trauma.