Meditation and Mindfulness for Trauma

Meditation and Mindfulness for Trauma

While most people will experience challenges and hardship in their life, some people experience trauma. We’re beginning to understand trauma better now and have recognized that trauma is actually a physiological process that impacts our psychological and emotional wellbeing. When trauma is suppressed and held in the body, it often leads to mental health issues.

While talk therapy can be helpful for many individuals, it is not always effective for trauma. Trauma can be a complex and deeply ingrained issue that may require specialized treatment to address. In fact, some individuals who have experienced trauma may find that traditional talk therapy is not enough to fully address their symptoms and promote healing.

One reason why talk therapy may be ineffective for trauma is that trauma is stored in the body, not just in the mind. This means that while talking about the trauma can be helpful for gaining insight and understanding, it may not be enough to fully release the trauma from the body. Trauma can lead to physical symptoms and disruptions in the nervous system that may require a somatic approach to fully address.

Another reason why talk therapy may be ineffective for trauma is that trauma can be difficult to talk about. Traumatic experiences can be overwhelming, and individuals may struggle to find the words to express what they have experienced. This can lead to a sense of disconnection and frustration in traditional talk therapy, as the individual may feel that they are not able to fully convey their experiences.

Fortunately, there are a variety of specialized therapies and treatments available for trauma, such as somatic therapy and Emotionally Focused individual Therapy that are helpful for the treatment of trauma. These therapies can help individuals work through trauma in a safe and supportive way, and may involve techniques such as mindfulness, guided imagery, and movement..

Trauma and the Nervous System

Before we dive into how to use somatic meditation and mindfulness for trauma, it’s important to understand what trauma is and how it can affect the body and mind. Trauma is defined as an emotional response to a distressing event, such as abuse, neglect, violence, or a natural disaster. Traumatic events can overwhelm an individual’s ability to cope and can leave them feeling helpless, powerless, and overwhelmed.

Trauma can affect the nervous system, leading to symptoms such as hypervigilance, anxiety, depression, and dissociation. These symptoms can interfere with an individual’s ability to function in daily life and can have a long-lasting impact on their overall well-being.We have begun to understand that trauma exists in our body’s nervous system. When we experience acute or chronic trauma, our nervous system goes into “fight or flight” mode. To treat trauma, we must do so on a physical level by connecting with our bodies and allowing them to process and neutralize those unexpressed defensive fight or flight reactions.

If we do not allow our nervous systems to come back to a calm and neutral state, we are kept in a state of high arousal, and eventually, our nervous system becomes overwhelmed or freezes and shuts down.


How Somatic Meditation Helps Heal Trauma

Meditation and mindfulness have gained a lot of popularity in recent years as more people are discovering their benefits for mental and emotional well-being. These practices have been used for thousands of years in various cultures and traditions, and scientific research has demonstrated their effectiveness in reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.

Somatic meditation is a form of mindfulness that involves paying attention to physical sensations in the body. It can be particularly helpful for individuals who have experienced trauma as it can provide a way to connect with the body in a safe and supportive way.

Somatic Meditation and Mindfulness help people suffering from the effects of trauma by getting them to become aware of the trauma in their body, without the need to recall the traumatic event(s). Somatic meditation teaches individuals how to release tension from the body, and therefore helps the nervous system release the trapped defensive energy.

Somatic meditation can help individuals become more aware of their physical sensations, such as tension, pain, or discomfort, and develop a greater understanding of how their body responds to stress and trauma. By bringing awareness to these sensations, individuals can learn to regulate their nervous system and develop a greater sense of control over their emotions and thoughts.

Using Somatic Meditation and Mindfulness for Trauma

Here are some tips for using somatic meditation and mindfulness for trauma:

1. Create a Safe and Supportive Environment

Creating a safe and supportive environment is essential when working with trauma. This can involve finding a quiet and comfortable space to meditate, ensuring that you won’t be interrupted, and setting the intention to approach your practice with kindness and compassion.

2. Focus on Sensations in the Body

When practicing somatic meditation, focus on the physical sensations in your body. This can involve paying attention to your breath, noticing any tension or discomfort, and becoming aware of how your body feels overall.

3. Practice Grounding Techniques

Grounding techniques can be helpful for individuals who experience dissociation or other symptoms of trauma. This can involve focusing on a specific object, such as a candle or a piece of jewelry, or using a physical sensation, such as tapping your feet or placing your hands on your thighs, to bring yourself back into the present moment.

4. Practice Self-Compassion

Practicing self-compassion is essential when working with trauma. This involves treating yourself with kindness and understanding, recognizing that healing is a process, and acknowledging that it’s okay to take things slowly.

5. Seek Professional Support

While somatic meditation and mindfulness can be helpful for individuals who have experienced trauma, it’s important to seek professional support as well. Trauma can be complex and may require specialized treatment, such as therapy or counseling, to fully address and heal.

Somatic Therapy for Trauma

Somatic therapy for trauma can be helpful in a variety of ways. By focusing on the body and physical sensations, individuals can develop a greater sense of awareness and control over their nervous system’s response to stress and trauma. This can lead to a reduction in physical symptoms such as chronic pain and gastrointestinal issues, as well as emotional symptoms such as anxiety and depression.

Additionally, somatic therapy can help individuals develop a greater sense of empowerment and agency in their healing journey. By working with the body and physical sensations, individuals can develop a greater sense of trust in their own inner wisdom and capacity for healing.


If you or someone you know has experienced trauma and is seeking support and healing, consider reaching out to Restore Renew Revive Counselling & Couples Therapy. Our qualified therapist offer somatic therapy and other evidence-based approaches to help individuals heal from trauma and develop a greater sense of empowerment and agency in their lives.

To schedule an appointment, call us at 902-702-7722 or visit our website at We are committed to providing a safe and compassionate space for individuals to explore their healing journey and restore a sense of balance and wellbeing.




The Impact of  Generational Trauma

The Impact of Generational Trauma

Intergenerational trauma is a problem that affects individuals and communities across the world. Traumatic experiences can be passed down from generation to generation, leading to a cycle of trauma that can be difficult to break. For individuals who have grown up with trauma, building healthy relationships can be a significant challenge. In this article, we will explore the impacts of intergenerational trauma on relationship building and provide practical steps for developing healthy relationships despite a history of trauma.


What is Intergenerational Trauma?

Before you were born you were in your mother’s womb and very susceptible to her emotions. As your mother felt joy, her body released hormones that made you feel joy.

When she felt sad, scared, or angry, her body released hormones that made her experience these same emotions. This may seem hard to believe, but research from the University of California-Irvine does show that this is true. Eventually, you were born.  If  you were raised in a house that was not always happy or harmonious your body registered this stress. Your parents may have been emotionally distant or even abusive because they may have been brought up by parents who had their own reasons for being emotionally absent or abusive.  Your parents may have been trying their best, but perhaps they didn’t have the skills or tools to navigate emotions in a healthy way

This is how families that have unresolved trauma can works its way through from one generation to the next. Families who have dealt with addiction, depression, anxiety, terror, racism, and the like, often continue to pass on negative emotions, poor behaviours, low self-esteem, and maladaptive coping strategies.

What Contributes to Intergenerational Trauma

Intergenerational trauma occurs when trauma is experienced by a group of people, and the psychological impacts are passed on to their offspring, who then in turn experience trauma from their upbringing and any other sources of trauma in their lives. When this process continues over several generations, it can result in a cumulative effect that can have profound impacts on individuals, families, and communities. Examples of intergenerational trauma include the trauma experienced by Indigenous peoples as a result of colonization, forced removals, residential schools, and other forms of cultural genocide. African Canadians also experience intergenerational trauma from segregation, and ongoing systemic racism. Many other groups have experienced forms of trauma including immigrants, religious minorities, women and the LGBTQ2S+ community. 

Poverty can also be a form of intergenerational trauma. When families experience poverty over multiple generations, the stress and challenges associated with it can have a significant impact on the psychological and social well-being of individuals and families.

The stress of living in poverty, being a part of a marginalized community or being faced with systemic barriers and inequality can impact family relationships and parenting styles. Parents may not have the emotional or financial resources to provide their children with the care and support they need.

The psychological impact of generational trauma can manifest in various ways, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, and other mental health issues. These effects can also impact family dynamics, relationships, and parenting styles.

What is the Impact of  Generational Trauma?

The impact of generational trauma can shape how we view ourselves and others, leading to difficulties with attachment, trust, and emotional regulation. However, healing is possible, and there are steps that individuals can take to break the cycle of trauma and develop healthy relationship patterns.

The neurobiology of stress and trauma involves complex interactions between the brain, the nervous system, and the body. Trauma and stress activate the body’s stress response, which triggers the release of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones prepare the body to respond to perceived threats and activate the “fight or flight” response.

However, chronic or severe stress can lead to dysregulation of the stress response system, which can have long-term effects on the brain and body. Research has shown that prolonged exposure to stress and trauma can lead to changes in the brain’s structure and function, including the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex.

The amygdala is responsible for processing emotions, including fear and anxiety, and is activated during traumatic experiences. Over time, chronic stress and trauma can lead to hyperactivity in the amygdala, which can lead to increased anxiety and fear responses.

The hippocampus, which is involved in memory formation and recall, can also be impacted by stress and trauma. Research has shown that individuals with PTSD have a smaller hippocampus than those without PTSD, suggesting that chronic stress and trauma may lead to reduced neuroplasticity and brain function in this region.

The prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for decision-making, emotional regulation, and impulse control, can also be affected by chronic stress and trauma. Studies have shown that individuals with PTSD have decreased prefrontal cortex function, which can lead to difficulties regulating emotions and behaviors.

Additionally, chronic stress and trauma can lead to dysregulation of the body’s autonomic nervous system, which controls functions like heart rate, digestion, and breathing. This can lead to physical symptoms like headaches, gastrointestinal issues, and chronic pain. Trauma can also lead to physical disease and people who have experienced a number of adverse events in childhood are more likely to develop autoimmune diseases, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and strokes in adulthood. 

Building Healthy Relationships After Experiencing Trauma

Growing up with trauma can have a significant impact on an individual’s ability to form healthy relationships. Children who experience trauma may struggle with attachment, trust, and emotional regulation, making it difficult to form healthy bonds with others. Additionally, individuals who have experienced trauma may have a heightened sensitivity to stress, which can lead to conflict and misunderstandings in relationships.

While growing up with trauma can make building healthy relationships more challenging, it is possible to break the cycle of trauma and develop healthy relationship patterns.

Here are some steps that can help:

Develop Self-Awareness: Developing self-awareness is essential for building healthy relationships after trauma. This involves identifying patterns of behavior and emotional responses that may be rooted in trauma and working to develop healthier coping mechanisms.

Practice Self-Care: Practicing self-care is an important aspect of healing from trauma and building healthy relationships. This can involve engaging in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment, like hobbies or exercise, as well as taking care of your physical and emotional needs.

Practice Communication: Communication is essential for building healthy relationships. Individuals who have experienced trauma may struggle with communication due to difficulties with trust and emotional regulation. Practicing active listening, expressing emotions in a healthy way, and setting healthy boundaries can help individuals build healthier communication patterns.

Build a Support System: Building a support system of friends and family members who understand and support your healing journey can be an important aspect of building healthy relationships after trauma. This can involve connecting with support groups or engaging in community activities that align with your values and interests.

Be Mindful of Triggers: Individuals who have experienced trauma may be more susceptible to triggers, which can lead to emotional dysregulation and conflict in relationships. Being mindful of triggers and developing healthy coping mechanisms can help individuals navigate these challenges in a healthier way.

Celebrate Progress: Healing from trauma and building healthy relationships is a process that takes time and effort. Celebrating progress, no matter how small, can help individuals stay motivated and focused on their healing journey.

Seek Professional Support: Seeking support from a mental health professional can be an important step in healing from trauma and developing healthy relationship patterns. Therapies like somatic therapy and Emotionally Focused Individual Therapy can help individuals process trauma and develop healthy coping mechanisms.

If you or someone you know is struggling with the effects of intergenerational trauma and is finding it difficult to build healthy relationships, know that healing is possible. Seek support from a mental health professional to begin your healing journey.

Restore Renew Revive Counselling & Couples Therapy is here to help. Our experienced therapist offers a safe and compassionate space for individuals and couples to heal from trauma and build healthy relationship patterns. Call us at 902-702-7722 or visit our website at to learn more and schedule an appointment.


The Many Effects of Childhood Trauma in Adulthood

The Many Effects of Childhood Trauma in Adulthood

Childhood trauma not only impacts the person in their early years, but it continues to impact them into adulthood.  The focus of this blog is to explore the effects of childhood trauma on adults.

Childhood trauma is a common problem that affects many people in Canada.  Indigineous people, older adults, folks in the LGTBQIA+ community and immigrants are more likely to have experienced trauma in childhood.  Statistically, 3 out of every 10 Canadians over the age of 15 has experieced physcial or sexual abuse before the age of 15.

This is significant because trauma in childhood can  have a profound impact on an individual’s mental, emotional, and physical health, as well as their ability to form healthy relationships. The long-term effects of childhood trauma can be devastating, leading to a wide range of mental and physical health problems that can affect a person’s quality of life for years to come.

For individuals who have experienced childhood trauma, the effects can be especially challenging to overcome. Many people struggle with trust issues, intimacy issues, and difficulty forming close relationships. They may also experience chronic health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, and may be at increased risk for mental health problems like depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

How Childhood Trauma Affects People in Adulthood

Here are some of the most notable effects of childhood trauma in adulthood;

1) Forming Healthy Bonds and Relationship

Childhood trauma can have a significant impact on adult in love relationship and on attachment styles. Secure attachment is characterized by a sense of safety, trust, and comfort in relationships. However, childhood trauma can contribute to developing insecure attachment styles;  anxious or avoidant or disorganized attachment.  Research suggests that our early experiences with our caregivers shape our attachment styles and strategies.  Often people who have experienced childhood trauma engage in behaviours from  one of the 3 forms of insecure attachment styles.

In adulthood, anxious attachment patterns can play out in romantic relationships, leading to difficulty forming secure and healthy attachments. Anxious attachment in romantic relationships is characterized by a strong need for intimacy and fear of rejection, abandonment, and separation. Individuals with anxious attachment tend to rely heavily on their partners for emotional support and reassurance, and may become highly distressed when their partner is not available or responsive to them. They may also struggle with jealousy and clinginess, and often experience feelings of insecurity and doubt in their relationships. They may become overly dependent on their partners for emotional support.

On the other hand, adults who have experienced childhood trauma may also exhibit avoidant attachment, characterized by a tendency to withdraw from relationships and to avoid emotional intimacy. These individuals may struggle with trusting others and may feel uncomfortable with vulnerability and emotional closeness.

Avoidant attachment is typically formed in childhood through experiences of neglect or emotional unavailability from caregivers, or through traumatic experiences such as abandonment or loss. In adulthood, these attachment patterns can continue to play out in romantic relationships, leading to difficulty forming secure and healthy attachments.

Avoidant attachment in relationships is characterized by a tendency to avoid closeness and emotional intimacy with a romantic partner. Individuals with avoidant attachment may feel uncomfortable with emotional closeness, may have difficulty expressing their feelings or needs, and may prioritize their independence and self-sufficiency over their relationship. Avoidant attachment can make it difficult to form deep, meaningful connections with romantic partners, and can lead to a sense of emotional distance or disconnection in relationships.

Someone who grows up in an environment where their caregiver, who is meant to nurture and protect them, is also a source of fear can develop an fearful/avoidant or disorganized attachment style.  Disorganized attachment perhaps less often spoken about than secure, anxious or avoidant, but it equally important type of attachment to be aware of.

This style of attachment behaviours can develop in response to experiences of trauma or abuse in childhood. Disorganized attachment is characterized by a lack of clear patterns of behavior in relationships, as individuals with disorganized attachment may display both avoidant and anxious behaviors in relationships. They may also exhibit erratic or unpredictable behavior, and may struggle with self-regulation and emotional expression. People with a disorganized attachment style still want (and I would argue, need, since we are wired biologically for connection) to have someone to be close emotionally, however they struggle to to ever let their guard down and be truly vulnerable with their partner.

It’s important to note that the impact of childhood trauma on attachment styles is not universal, and individuals may develop different attachment styles depending on a variety of factors, including their experiences after childhood and their personality traits. It’s also important to remember that insecure attachment styles are not a life sentence, and it is possible to develop more secure attachment patterns in adulthood through therapy or other forms of personal growth and self-awareness.




2) Challenges with Parenting

Individuals who have experienced trauma may face unique challenges when it comes to parenting.  This can show up in many different ways, but a few examples of the impact of childhood trauma on parenting include;

1. Difficulty regulating emotions: Trauma can make it difficult for individuals to regulate their own emotions, which can impact their ability to respond calmly and effectively to their children’s emotional needs. If somone is cut off from their own emotions it can also be very difficult to attune to someone else and according to relationship expert Dr. Erin Leonard, attunement and empathy are what helps children to trust and open up to their parents.

2. Re-experiencing trauma: Trauma can cause individuals to re-experience traumatic events or have flashbacks during moments of intense emotions with their own children which can make it difficult to be fully present with their children. Perhaps loud noises, like a child banging a toy on the floor or an infant’s prolonged crying can be distressing to a nervous system that has experienced trauma. This can lead to the parent reacting from being triggered rather than a more mindful parenting response.

3. Negative self-image: Trauma can impact a person’s self-esteem and self-image, which can make it difficult to feel confident in their ability to parent effectively. The Postitive Parenting Project explains that when parents have high self-esteem, they tend to be more optimistic and to transmit that positive mindset to our children.  These parents have more likely been raised in an environment of praise and warnth and it tends to feel more natural for them to offer the same positive reinforcement to their children. Conversly, people who grew up in homes that were high in criticism may be more likely to point out to children what they have done wrong or how they could have done better or forget to celebrate their successes.

It’s important to remember that people who have experienced trauma can still be effective and loving parents. Being aware of our past and the potential impact that it may have is part of developing self awareness and can be what motivates people to learn new skills and strategies and to heal their past trauma.

3) Developing Health Conditions

Have you ever heard of an ACE score? Your ACE score tallies the number of adverse events you experienced in your life before the age of 18. Take the quiz here. In fact, an NIH study found that found that adults who had experienced 4 or more ACEs showed a 12 times higher prevalence of health risks such as alcoholism, drug use, depression, and suicide attempts.

The link between experiencing adverse childhood events and chronic disease is also becoming increasingly clear. For every increase in the ACE score of 1 point, risk for developing an autoimmune disease such as type 1 diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and many others goes up by 20%.

An ACE score of only 2 increases the chances of being hospitalized for an autoimmune disease by 70 to 80%.

For this reason it is very helpful to work with a holistic mental health practitioner who is able to help you explore the physical and mental health aspects of having experienced adverse early live events.


4) People Pleasing and Lack of Boundaries

Because as humans we are biologically driven to form an attachment with a caregiver, even when they also a source of critical, shaming, neglectful, or abusive behaviour, children learn to adapt to their circumstances. This can often present as people pleasing, perfectionism and appeasing that has roots in childhood which carries into adulthood and relationships.

This behaviour is often described as the fawn response. This term was coined by licensed psychotherapist Pete Walker, MA in his book “Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving.”

which describes a way of responding to a threat by trying to ‘disarm it’ becoming more appealing to the threat. Dr. Arielle Schwartz noted that In many cases, children will then turn their negative feelings toward themselves. As a result, the anger fuels self-criticism, self-loathing, or self-harming behaviors. In adulthood, this process can evolve into depression or somatic symptoms of pain or illness.


Getting the Help You Need to Move Through the Trauma

The impact of childhood trauma on adults can be profound and long-lasting. Trauma can shape our beliefs, behaviors, and relationships in ways that can be difficult to overcome without proper support and intervention. However, it’s important to remember that healing and recovery are possible. By recognizing the ways in which trauma has impacted our lives, seeking out professional help, and building supportive relationships, we can begin to address the underlying issues and work towards healing and growth. It’s important to approach the healing process with patience, self-compassion, and a willingness to confront difficult emotions and memories. With time and effort, it is possible to overcome the effects of childhood trauma and move towards a more fulfilling and empowered life. Remember, it’s never too late to seek out help and begin the journey towards healing.

If you or someone you know has been impacted by childhood trauma, know that help is available. At Restore Renew Revive counseling & couples therapy, we specialize in providing supportive, compassionate therapy services to help individuals and couples heal from trauma and overcome life’s challenges. Marcy is trained to use evidence-based techniques to help clients build resilience, work through difficult emotions, and develop the skills they need to live their best lives. To learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment, please call us at 902-702-7722 or visit our website at 

Don’t wait to take the first step towards healing – reach out to us today.

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