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Why have I written Transforming Trauma NOW?

Blog written by Dr Heather Herington, author of ‘Transforming Trauma‘.

Honestly, I wish I had written this book years ago as, of late, the rate of trauma has increased dramatically, particularly within the vectors of teenage suicides, and human trafficking. These events join rape, war, resettlement, and so many other adverse experiences that can create chronic imbalance in our limbic system along with conscious thought processes governed by the brain’s pre-frontal cortex, sometimes leading to a lifetime of chronic anxiety.

However, I am comforted by the hope that now, following the failure of pharmaceutical companies and public health officials to manage Covid-19, more and more people will understand that drugs dispensed by the orthodox medical profession are not the categorical answer to the attainment of a healthy mental state. That ship has sailed. The opioid crisis alone has shown us that. Rather, we need to call on the full slate of natural health practitioners as well as psychologists to both balance body chemistry and provide an effective means of discovering the story hidden within, the one at the root of the traumatic event, which can lead to healing the lingering response.

Simply put, the little-known Flexner Report of 1910 (commissioned by Andrew Carnegie and John D Rockefeller, American oil barons who were eager to advance corporate interests in medical education) is to blame for the lack of knowledge of natural medicine, as my book explains. Yet nutrition, homeopathy, botanical medicine, hydrotherapy, guided visualization, and the expressive arts have so much to offer to heal a shaken mind or heart. In fact people in the 1800s with an array of doctors at their disposal ended up eschewing “heroic” medicine (bloodletting, calomel, mercury, purging) being practiced by the so-called “regulars,” the predecessors of today’s allopathic doctors, as they witnessed their loved ones dying and turned to natural medicine. Is this no different than what is happening today with drugs, lockdowns, and vaccine side effects? The one silver lining is that natural healing methods can now emerge from the shadows.

Canadian William Osler M.D. – renowned professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins and advocate of “medicine as art” as well as scientific inquiry – voiced his criticisms of Abraham Flexner’s report. I imagine he would voice his disdain at the mess we find ourselves in today.

I believe my two-pronged approach described in Transforming Trauma is an answer to what has gone wrong from the sterilization of medical practice by the Flexner Report. It is safe, it is effective and ultimately it is fun and full of self-discovery. Balance the biochemistry first – find out what is causing oxidative stress (i.e., inflammation) through the uniqueness of the individual (possible allergies, toxins, lifestyle choices) so that blood sugar, blood pressure, tendency to addictions, can be calmed and balanced. Once this is accomplished, or concurrently, we find a way in, to center through meditation and similar mind-body techniques, as we deepen self-discovery, using the imagination, and ultimately bringing in art, music, dance/movement, singing/vocalizing, and acting.

This book transports you beyond the limits of current mental health practice and a pill for every ill to a place where one can heal without the use of pharmaceuticals, ultimately releasing the tragedy at the root of the trauma. Click here to buy now or read the first chapter for free.

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Mental Health Awareness Week Blog Special

Blog post written by Dr Trevor Griffiths and Dr Marian Langsford, authors of Emotional Logic. Available for pre-order now, launches 27th May.

The authors of Emotional Logic: Harnessing your emotions into inner strength have been married for nearly forty years. Marian still practices medicine under her maiden name of Langsford. They both now teach internationally the Emotional Logic method of preventing stress-related mental and physical illnesses, which Trevor developed while in medical practice. The best compliment they have received, they say, was from a medical student in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, who stood up after a training session and said, “I have learnt today that it is really cool to be old, and married, and still together, ‘cos you get to travel the world and inspire people like us!” We don’t look very old; we received that as the honour it was intended to convey in that culture.

Learning to activate your inbuilt Emotional Logic helps to build more responsive relationships in any new situations you face. And it can be learnt at any age. An active schools programme in the UK has a wide range of age-appropriate materials, such that a five-year-old boy took an emotion leaf from a ‘Talking Together Tree’ they had made in the classroom, and took it to the teacher saying, “I would like to tell the class why I am feeling angry about something.” Imagine the difference that ability to talk sensibly about emotions rather than only act them out, or regulate them, might have.

In Chapter 1, Trevor comments on Marian’s story about a misunderstanding with a friend who had offered to help tidy her garden one autumn. She had told how understanding the emotional logic of her many loss reactions that followed helped to avoid a break-up. Here is an extract from Trevor:

As the eldest daughter in a Devon farming family, Marian grew up on a mixed dairy and horticulture farm overlooking rolling hills, surrounded by buckets of early flowers that needed bunching each evening for market the next day. They were not rich. She loved it. She has a wisdom from nature that I had missed, having been brought up in the London suburbs. For example, she once said, “Gardening isn’t all about pulling up weeds. You have to plant something in the earth in its place, and care for it.” A comment like that can leave me fixed into a garden chair for ages while I watch her getting her hands covered in earth and planting. Something simple like this can lead me to a lot of thinking, which I consider is my core skill.

So, what do I think about? I think a lot about human nature. I think things like, ‘Seemingly small things that break out on the surface of people’s lives can have deeper roots than we realise at first.’ It took me a few decades to realise that it did me a lot of good to listen to Marian. I think many men discover the same at some point in their married lives…

Emotional Logic was born out of years of experience in general medical practice, and out of a disrupted family background that Trevor experienced as traumatising. With a depth of emotional memories to draw upon, Emotional Logic harnesses the language of emotions into the inner strength needed to come through times of trouble stronger and healthier. Post-traumatic growth is encouraged as a way forward from post-traumatic stress. As a senior Community Psychiatric Nurse who uses Emotional Logic in her work said, “Emotional Logic heals the broken heart behind mental illness.”

Once learnt, people can share their new trauma-responsive conversational skills in their daily encounters with others. This prevents isolation following hurts. It reduces the risk of illness by building greater resilience and a realistic hope for recovery into relationships. Even if setbacks and disappointments occur, knowing how to activate one’s inbuilt Emotional Logic provides a world of constructive options to talk about. And where is there better to talk and to explore new ways forward than in nature, where the seeds of something beautiful in life can take root and grow.