Soul Sessions by CreativeMind

How to Transcend PTSD

February 22, 2022 Debra Berndt Maldonado and Robert Maldonado PhD Life Coach Training and Personal Transformation Experts Season 5 Episode 99
Soul Sessions by CreativeMind
How to Transcend PTSD
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this session we explore the causes and symptoms of PTSD and how to become resilient after trauma. We explain the difference with how a therapist role helps and when it is appropriate to have a coach. Jungian coaching can help clients after treatment to facilitate spiritual individuation and becoming their true self. In this episode we discuss: 

  • What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD
  • What are the Symptoms?
  • How to get a proper diagnosis and treatment?
  • Can you transcend PTSD and become resilient?
  • Role coaches can play after a client has gone through treatment to cultivate resilience.
  • How Jungian Coaching is a powerful process for shifting the mind and creating inner peace.

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Discover our Jungian Life Coach Training Program.

Watch the next Soul Session in this series on our YouTube Channel.
Discover our Jungian Life Coach Training Program.

Wow to Transcend PTSD


Debra Maldonado, Robert Maldonado

Debra Maldonado  00:07

Hello, welcome back to another episode of Soul Sessions with CreativeMind. Today we're having a serious topic in our series on trauma. What we're going to talk about is how to transcend PTSD. What is PTSD? What should you do if you've had it, and if you've had worked on it before with a therapist, how the coach can help you with the resilience after the fact. We're going to talk about when it's appropriate to have a coach and when it's appropriate to get therapy.

Robert Maldonado  00:54

Our disclaimer, we're speaking as coaches, although we both have training in therapeutic methods, because we believe in coaching’s power as a force for good in the world.

Debra Maldonado  01:09

We also know there's some lines that shouldn't be crossed. For the health and long term resilience of a person, they should do the right thing at the right time. We're gonna talk about that. Let's talk about what PTSD is. I remember the first time I heard it, I didn't really understand what it was. A friend of mine had mentioned it, she was diagnosed with that. I was like “That's interesting.” Maybe for those who are not clear, what is it?

Robert Maldonado  01:43

It goes back to soldiers coming back from wars. That's how it was identified as a trauma that persisted after the event. That's the “post” of it. Post Traumatic meaning this is happening after the traumatic event. It's a stress or concern conceived as a stressful experience. It is a mental health disorder. The DSM5 is a good guide because it gives us a list of what it looks like, the symptoms, the presentation.

Debra Maldonado  02:33

This is something that therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists look at to diagnose.

Robert Maldonado  02:40

Medical doctor, sometimes family doctors will look at the DSM five to make the diagnosis and recommend treatment or prescribe treatments. The DSM5 says that there's a criteria the diagnosis of PTSD, which is post traumatic stress disorder. There's got to be an exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence in one or more of the following ways.

Debra Maldonado  03:25

We talked about trauma in our last episode, with critical parents and stuff, this is more life or death. That would be a good way to distinguish it.

Robert Maldonado  03:37

Then it gives you the list of things to look for, to see if this does indeed match what you're seeing in your client or your patient.

Debra Maldonado  03:47

Or yourself?

Robert Maldonado  03:50

We do not recommend you self diagnose, it's not recommended. The client or the patient has directly experienced the traumatic events, witnessed in person the events as it occurred to others. Last time we talked about children who witnessed their mother being physically abused, that would meet the criteria that they witnessed somebody they loved experience this life threatening situation. Number three, learning that the traumatic events occurred to close family members or close friends in cases of actual or threatened death of a family member or friend. The event must have been violent or accidental.

Debra Maldonado  04:48

Even seeing your mother fall down the stairs and break her neck or something like that? It wasn't someone hurting her but just having a violent— a heart attack even.

Robert Maldonado  05:01

Here it says “learning of the traumatic”, hearing it. Somebody telling you this is what happened to somebody that you know and love, violent experience, traumatic experience.

Debra Maldonado  05:17

When people go to court for crimes that happened, the family members are sitting there listening to the testimony that could cause PTSD? Listening to their close family member and description of that event happening. A parent what happened to their child or child listening what happened to their mother.

Robert Maldonado  05:36

Yes, and often you'll see parents leave. Number four, experiencing repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of the traumatic event. First responders collecting human remains, police officers repeatedly exposed to details of child abuse could be.

Debra Maldonado  06:08

It does not apply to exposure through the media?

Robert Maldonado  06:14

This is a disclaimer because there's so much stuff in the media, if they say you're going to get PTSD if you listen to the news, if you're listening to electronic media, television, movies, or pictures — unless the exposure is work related.

Debra Maldonado  06:41

I know a friend of mine, her husband was there after 9/11 as a firefighter the day after, thank goodness he survived. He wasn't called as a first responder, but the things he witnessed, the kind of death and destruction, I'm sure that impacted them. What about the people, right now with COVID, a lot of the nurses and the doctors and the health care say there's some kind of impact on their mental health because of witnessing so much death. Would that be PTSD?

Robert Maldonado  07:16

It depends because this is all in the beginning criteria. You go down the list. A, is there an exposure to actual or threatened death or serious injury or sexual violence or following a list. Letter B, there must be the presence of one or more of the following intrusion symptoms, I’ll explain what that means, associated with a traumatic event or events, beginning after the traumatic event occur. Intrusion symptoms means, if the thought is intrusive, you're doing your thing, you're going to work, you're driving your car, you're talking to other people. That thought, all of a sudden, pushes everything away.

Debra Maldonado  08:21

You can't stop thinking about it?

Robert Maldonado  08:22

Yes, “pay attention to me.” That's an intrusive thought, emotion, or an image or a visual .

Debra Maldonado  08:32

Then you can't function because your mind's replaying it in your head.

Robert Maldonado  08:37

It's got five elements here, that intrusion symptom. It's recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic event. In children older than six years, repetitive play may occur in which themes or aspects of the traumatic event are expressed.

Debra Maldonado  09:08

When you were a child psychologist, you probably saw a lot of kids draw pictures. Is that part of it? Their pictures in school will show up as replaying that event? Or they're playing it out and acting it out?

Robert Maldonado  09:23

These memories intrude on the person that witnessed or experienced that traumatic event. Recurring, distressing dreams, in which the content or effect, the emotions associated with it, of the dream are related to the traumatic experience. You're having nightmares of that experience. Dissociated reactions. Dissociation simply means your out of body, you're experiencing things but you're not connected to them, they're disconnected. Flashbacks are example in which the individual feels or acts as if the traumatic events were reoccurring. In this case, dissociating you from your actual environment now and putting you back at that traumatic event.

Debra Maldonado  10:28

Here's an example actually. When I went to the radio station back in Denver, I was a promotion director, we had an event downtown, and one of the things that we did was we had a helicopter come down, and our chicken guy who's the mascot, come out of the helicopter and come down in the middle of this big street event. What happened was, there was a veteran's home. They all complained that sign of that helicopters were so close to their building, it stimulated that trauma again. We didn't even think of that. Would that be an example of that disassociated reaction? They couldn't even separate that that's just a helicopter, thinking you're back there again. Is that what you're saying?

Robert Maldonado  11:22

You're dissociated from your environment, you're back there. Intense or prolonged psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the trauma. You hear the sound of the helicopter. The last one is marked psychological reactions to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble the aspects. It persist over a long period of time, not just one or two times, you continuously react this way.

Debra Maldonado  12:15

It's almost like you're re-traumatized every time in a way, you’re stuck in a loop in a way that you can't get out of. It's almost like you can't function, there’s something that's interfering with your function.

Robert Maldonado  12:30

Notice in Category B, which is the list we're reading, one or more of the following should be present. This is what's used to make that diagnosis.

Debra Maldonado  12:46

A is the life threatening experience, whether experienced by yourself or witnessed by someone else. Number two is that you're highly sensitive to the reoccurrence or through dreams, through the memory flashbacks. It's affecting your basically normal functioning, your typical functioning.

Robert Maldonado  13:07

What it means is that your sympathetic nervous system is on overdrive, you're in fight or flight mode all the time.

Debra Maldonado  13:17

Which is part of a healthy mind to do that at the time, it's just stuck in a gear almost.

Robert Maldonado  13:23

Then C, which is another category, persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the traumatic events. You're trying to avoid anything that reminds you of or is associated with the traumatic event.

Debra Maldonado  13:43

Staying away from certain things or staying away from people if it happened in a crowd. If a school shooting, you would be maybe not wanting to go to school because you it's reminding you of that event.

Robert Maldonado  13:57

Of course, this is very limiting because now you can't do anything that reminds you of that.

Debra Maldonado  14:06

It inhibits your thought, your normal typical life, interferes with it.

Robert Maldonado  14:11

You can't take jobs you fear might remind you of those things. You couldn't be a helicopter pilot or a news reporter.

Debra Maldonado  14:24

Or live near where there are helicopters flying by, or constantly feeling fear when that happens.

Robert Maldonado  14:32

Those two just avoiding, efforts to avoid people that remind you of places, conversations.

Debra Maldonado  14:42

So people who have had trauma from a parent would be avoiding that parent? You can't be around that person because it really traumatizes you just to be around them.

Robert Maldonado  14:52

That would be an example. And D, negative alterations in cognitions and mood associated with the traumatic events, beginning or worsening after the traumatic event occurred, as evidenced by two or more of the following. Cognitions and mood associated means thoughts that remind you of that event and feelings that remind you of that event. One, inability to remember an important aspect of the traumatic event. A little bit of amnesia, blocking out memories that are associated with an event.

Debra Maldonado  15:44

A lot of people say “I don't remember my childhood”, would that be part of it? “I don't have good memories of my childhood.”

Robert Maldonado  15:50

Persistent and exaggerated negative beliefs or expectations about oneself, others, or the world. The world is extremely dangerous. My nervous system is permanently ruined. Somebody that expresses negativity around themselves and the world. And you see some of the other things that fit in with PTSD. Persistent distorted cognitions about the cause or consequences of the traumatic events that lead the individual to blame himself or others.

Debra Maldonado  16:37

A misunderstanding of what happened and assumptions like either it's my fault, or it's that person's fault. No gray area, there's a black and white way to looking at it.

Robert Maldonado  16:52

It will come up often, because in the person's mind they're thinking “It's my fault, I did that, or this other person caused me to experience this.”

Debra Maldonado  17:06

So a persistent negative emotional state?

Robert Maldonado  17:09

Fear, horror, anger, guilt, shame.

Debra Maldonado  17:13

They never feeling positive at all. It's just this real negative—

Robert Maldonado  17:19

Diminished interest in participation in significant activities, meaning, if a person was into something, hobbies, activities they really enjoyed, after the event they lose interest.

Debra Maldonado  17:31

Like school or art. There's actually a movie coming out on Apple with a girl who lost her sister. She lost all her music. She said “The music left me with the grief.” That would be PTSD, or could be that idea that I'm not going to play music anymore.

Robert Maldonado  17:50

Feelings of detachment or estrangement from others. We often talk about non attachment. That's not what this means. Detachment means you feel disconnected from others, maybe friends that you used to feel connected to, you no longer feel that.

Debra Maldonado  18:13

The old friendships you move away from, or you don't want to be a burden to them sometimes.

Robert Maldonado  18:22

The persistent inability to experience positive emotions, happiness, satisfaction, and loving feeling. If you think about this pattern of symptoms, somebody with PTSD is going to have serious problems. Especially if it's intense, because it's impacting almost everything.

Debra Maldonado  18:51

You can see this is pretty serious, this isn't something to take lightly, throwing that diagnosis around. It's really where a person's having a hard time just functioning. Marked altercations and arousal and reactivity associated with the traumatic event.

Robert Maldonado  19:11

Alterations in arousal, again, the nervous system is on hyper alert, it’s almost like you're back in that situation, you're still fighting the fight, reliving that traumatic event.

Debra Maldonado  19:29

Someone told me they felt hyper vigilant sense of always being on guard, something's going to get you. Carrying that stress is really hard.

Robert Maldonado  19:43

This marked alteration in arousal can be expressed in one, irritable behavior and angry outbursts. The person’s just irritable, every little thing sets him off, go into anger. And reckless or self destructive behavior, especially younger people, they've gone through— they might drink, drive fast. Hyper vigilance that you mentioned. Hyper vigilant simply means you're always tuning into people's facial reactions to see if you detect aggression, displeasure. Anything that you think “This is going to confirm my belief that the world is no good, the world's dangerous.”

Debra Maldonado  20:46

Exaggerated startle response, that's someone who's very jumpy all the time and startled. They can't handle loud music or loud voices.

Robert Maldonado  20:56

Problems with concentration and sleep disturbances obviously.

Debra Maldonado  21:00

Insomnia. Some other criteria is that the duration of it. We've been reading or discussing, you have a history of treating PTSD. The thing is that even if we had a traumatic event, we should have these kinds of initial responses. Because if we didn't, we wouldn't survive. There are certain things that go in place, we should be a little more alert, all those things are a natural part of our protective mechanism of our body and our mind. But after a few months, the symptoms should wear off with treatment. But when it's PTSD, you're stuck there. It's taking you longer to come back.

Robert Maldonado  21:59

To make the diagnosis, B, C, D, and E have to have persisted for at least a month. The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of function. A lot of these diagnosis use this language — is the problem really disturbing, impacting, disrupting your functioning in these areas? Social meaning is it messing with your relationships, your ability to keep those relationships going? Occupational, your ability to work, keep a job, be happy in your work, or other important functions.

Debra Maldonado  22:54

Even your health, some people get unhealthy from it because they're trying to manage it through drugs or alcohol or other things.

Robert Maldonado  23:05

For the reading, if you want to learn more about PTSD and trauma, we recommend the Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Vander Kolk. He's a great researcher, a great speaker, a great clinician. The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma. Excellent book. As far as diagnosing and treatment, again, try to consult with a mental health professional, the best and unbiased would be a clinical psychologist because they will be able to give you the proper tests and make the proper call as far as the diagnosis, then recommend treatment, what is the best treatment given your particular presentation. Because most people are not going to present with the whole thing, they're going to have pieces of it.

Debra Maldonado  24:08

If you're a coach and work with someone, even business coaches, people are people, everyone has had experiences. To be conscious or aware of this diagnosis or something that severe that they should seek professional treatment, to know maybe there's some signs, not that you would diagnose them, but to understand if someone's displaying this behavior, maybe there's something else going on. I wasn't trained as a therapist, so when I worked with people, I was like “Why is this person always negative and not really moving?” Then you hear a little bit of their history and you're just like “What kind of treatments are there for people with PTSD? After they get the diagnosis, what do they do to deal with it?”

Robert Maldonado  25:07

The first part is to have a clear diagnosis. That way you can also rule it out, maybe it's not PTSD, you want to say “No, I don't have PTSD, but I do have these other issues, whatever they are.” Then you can get the proper treatment. That's why the diagnosis is so important, because you can verify that it's not that or that it's not something else. Only psychiatrists, psychologist, mental health professionals trained in these areas can make that call. Then you want to go on to the treatment. Most of the time they'll recommend certain treatments. There are people that trained specifically, they'll take workshops beyond their typical training in psychotherapy. They've trained, they're prepared, they've worked with other people with similar issues and problems. Those are the best. Often you might have to look for these people. It's a big challenge, especially if you're dealing with these symptoms. Often you might not be thinking clearly.

Debra Maldonado  26:35

The psychologist could refer you, once you get the diagnosis, a psychologist would most likely have a referral.

Robert Maldonado  26:43

You still have to show up, you're still going to keep that pattern going on.

Debra Maldonado  26:49

Let's say the person has this experience, they've done the treatment, they're feeling basically at that baseline functioning, now they're going to work and read more, able to keep their life, they don't have the nightmares anymore. They feel like they've improved. They're out of that PTSD stage because don't you think it's a stage? It's not a permanent diagnosis.

Robert Maldonado  27:14

That's the ideal, therapy is going to help them get back to their normal or typical routine of life, of having those connections with loved ones, doing their work and enjoying it and functioning very well.

Debra Maldonado  27:34

As far as a coach, that is where a coach can come in.

Robert Maldonado  27:39

There's going to be people, they've done their therapy work, and they're done. They're ready to move on. Now a coach can come in and say “We're going to support you to move beyond that.” But if you as coaches understand what your client went through with PTSD, they tell you about their experiences, you're better able to help them move forward. Obviously, you're not going to be doing the treatment.

Debra Maldonado  28:13

I think this is something really important. There's a lot of alternative treatments but we believe in integration, which is having the professionals take care of the medically diagnosed disorders. Also we do believe in the coaching and the resilience model, but not to replace the treatment, it's not getting coaching as a treatment.

Robert Maldonado  28:40

It would be unethical to say to a person that has been traumatized, and maybe is experiencing some PTSD or the PTSD syndrome, to say “I'm going to help you as a coach, and all you need is coaching.” We don't want to do that. Coaches should not be doing that. They should leave it to the mental health professionals who train long hours, long years to learn their craft in helping people with those kinds of serious problems. Beyond that, let's talk about how Jungian coaching can really help people move beyond that PTSD they've experienced in the past and really start to rebuild their life.

Debra Maldonado  29:36

One of the things that is often missing in therapy is the spiritual element. The medical model doesn't really make room for God and spirituality, it's very clinical. You're limited in a way in that sense which is good. You need that at that time, but the resilience piece, Jungian coaching is that we were able to bring in the understanding of the ego and the psychology of the conscious mind, but also help a person connect to the spiritual parts of themselves.

Robert Maldonado  30:19

It is a spiritual psychology that Jung was emphasizing. By spirituality we don't mean necessarily religion, although it may include that. Jung did talk about religious symbols arise from the unconscious mind. But he insisted that this is empirical work, meaning it's based on practical, observable data that he was documenting through his work with clients and patients. He says, the spiritual tendency in humans goes back to the beginning of time, it is part of our inheritance, we should not abandon it just because we have technology and modern conveniences, those things can coexist. The spiritual understanding is going to help us deal with the modern problems of the modern world.

Debra Maldonado  31:24

Jung was highly influenced by Eastern wisdom traditions, the Upanishads, the Gita, Eastern philosophy, Buddhism. One of the foundations of non dual Vedanta is the idea that there's nothing broken about you on a deep level. The true self can never be harmed, can never be damaged, can never be broken. That's who you are. I think when we come from that clinical perspective of you're damaged, we have to heal you, just go to the doctor. You broke your arm, you got to reset it, you're focused on the arm is broken, I got to fix the broken arm. We do that with mental health as well. But spiritual psychology means that there is a part of you that goes unharmed by life. If we know that we're not just our PTSD or trauma events or our childhood, that there's something more to us, it gives us that resilience. Where it comes from is that sense that there is that pure potential always within me that has never been touched. That is that reservoir we can tap into. Jungian coaching really helps with that process of helping a person connect to that in themselves.

Robert Maldonado  32:49

One of the main factors that has been identified as a resilient principle in human beings is the internal locus of control. Internal locus of control simply means that you feel you have agency, you have the power to act, to exert your will and make things happen. That is in opposition to the external locus of control, which says the power is out there.

Debra Maldonado  33:21

People that have had traumas and PTSD, the world out there is dangerous, there's dangerous people out there, dangerous events that can threaten my life, you don't have control in those moments.

Robert Maldonado  33:36

Simply working through your shadow and the Jungian model of individuation begins to give you that internal locus of control because you're taking back your projections. Shadow Work is very much about “I'm seeing that these things appeared to trigger me, they're coming up in my work or my relationships. What is the source of it?” We start to understand that I am the source of that, my mind is a source of my shadow. It's been projected on to the external world, I see it out there, but it's actually arising in me. That allows the individual to take back that projection.

Debra Maldonado  34:27

The question we get all the time, and I'm going to have you answer this before we go to the next element, is what you just said. I'm creating this from my mind. Many people who've had traumatic events happen to them, whether it's severe or light, they asked “Did I create that if it came from me?” How would you answer that? Like I'm the one who created this event, I'm responsible basically for that trauma that happened to me.

Robert Maldonado  35:02

That “me” they're pointing to is the persona, ego persona as Jung would say. The ego is simply the internal part of the persona, the one that is hidden behind the mask. The persona is the mask, the presence of the individual, the uniform they wear, the job they do, that allows us to interact with society. That “me” they're asking the question from, yes, it created those situations through past conditioning.

Debra Maldonado  35:43

Can you clarify that? Someone who got beaten, they had a past conditioning about being beaten?

Robert Maldonado  35:49

Not necessarily about being beaten, but it's in their shadow to create a persona that is afraid of that, pushing that away, pushing it into the shadow. Jung says “Whatever you’re resisting, whatever you're pushing away into the shadow is going to show up as fate.” 

Debra Maldonado  36:10

What if nothing happened before? Is it unconscious? They had were born with it?

Robert Maldonado  36:19

That's a bigger question. If you think, are we really individuals? Are we born out of nowhere, just appear? No, we're born from other people that have had these tendencies and these behaviors and conditions, these condition patterns playing.

Debra Maldonado  36:40

The parent who harmed the child, it's their karma to pass along.

Robert Maldonado  36:45

We know epigenetics is a big factor in those things, we’re not born blank slates and just start off from when we're kids with nothing. We've inherited a lot of behavioral patterns from our ancestors.

Debra Maldonado  37:03

What about something that happens collectively to a culture? Is that a cultural shadow?

Robert Maldonado  37:07

Culture is simply individuals in a collective. They play out. In eastern philosophy it will be their karma.

Debra Maldonado  37:19

But it's there's a difference between blaming yourself and then accepting responsibility?

Robert Maldonado  37:27

Yes, because at the higher level, in both Eastern philosophy and Jungian psychology, the idea is to accept responsibility not as persona, that would be ridiculous.

Debra Maldonado  37:44

It will be sort of egotistical to think “I created all this stuff”. It's more of a collective, Maya. In Eastern philosophy they talk about duality in this world, there's a lot of dark and light in the world. It's karma, and we're connected to that. Is that what you're saying?

Robert Maldonado  38:03

Yes. The idea is, as you retrieve your personal projections from past conditioning, you're integrating your shadow as Jung would say, then you're able to see things clearly that whatever happens is not necessarily your fault. They're patterns that you've inherited, that you're part of, but that you're able to deal with them in the right context, instead of just thinking this persona is experiencing suffering because of that thing. You're seeing it as “This is part of the human condition. I understand its nature, I can learn from it.”

Debra Maldonado  38:45

More like human collective conditioning, like the human karma. Even on a just a family level, you see when there's abuse from the grandfather and the grandmother, the child and then the mother, they pass that abuse down. That would be another way.

Robert Maldonado  39:09

You see right there intergenerational patterns, well documented, well observed.

Debra Maldonado  39:14

If it happens in a generation of a family, it also happens in a generation of human beings and cultures. That was a long answer to one question. So one is the internal locus of control. What's the next one?

Robert Maldonado  39:31

Internal locus of control allows us to feel empowered. What is the opposite of feeling traumatized? It is feeling empowered.

Debra Maldonado  39:44

Not a victim, but a hero, I've survived, I can thrive and I'm stronger than ever.

Robert Maldonado  39:51

You can recreate your life regardless of what happened. You mentioned last time Viktor Frankl, perfect example. Somebody who had every right and opportunity to say “I'm a victim, I have been victimized by others.” He did not do that. He said “I am powerful. I have my well. The things that happened to me, some of them were out of my control. There were people with guns, with armies, overwhelming my ability to make my own decisions. But they can't take away my mind, my dignity, my true self.”

Debra Maldonado  40:39

One thing that really resonates with this is a woman I was very impressed with. She was in that country in Africa where they had the Boko Haram. They basically abducted school girls, used them as sex slaves, they raped them, it was terrible what they did. They finally got them back. The mama of the group was taking all these young girls in. They spent years in captivity as sex slaves to the soldiers. It was just terrible. She brought them back, she looked at the camera and said “These girls are not broken.” She said they are resilient. This is not going to define them for their life. They are strong and powerful. Can you imagine having a tough, terrible time, to have someone just say to you “You're not broken. You are resilient.” Of course, I'm sure they're going to go through treatments. But that message of “This event shouldn't define you for the rest of your life. You can be more than this event.” I just love that. I think that's what we're trying to say in this work. In Jungian coaching it's about that you aren't what happened to you. As Jung says, you're free to choose who you become. It's about not who you were and what happened to you but who are you becoming.

Robert Maldonado  42:05

But people need that help. From the Jungian model as well as the coaching model, there’s ways to help us move through those things. Not to neglect the past but learning from it and asking ourselves “How can I make meaning out of this?” Frankl emphasizes the meaning making power of our mind.

Debra Maldonado  42:37

Even to help other people who have suffered the way you suffered. I was single forever. That doesn't seem like a trauma but when all your friends are getting married, and you're almost 40, you're thinking “Something's wrong with me, I can't find a relationship.” When I met you and started doing the love coaching, it was like I'm going to use that heartache I experienced, dedicate to helping others get out of their own heartache. That’s just a simple example, not trauma, but what in your life have you gone through that you can help someone else? Then it won't be a wasted event. That happened to you but how can I use it to help the world?

Robert Maldonado  43:26

The road back not only from PTSD to recovery, but beyond that, transcending your past history. Those resilient factors are all important. You make human connections, you help others. You're not only just out for yourself, you're also wanting to help others that are in more need than you are. You're caring for yourself. You're creating routines and disciplines that help you structure your life and rebuild it, recreate it in your own way. Ultimately, that spiritual principle we were talking about, that you connect to something bigger than yourself, whether it be through psychology, through spirituality, through religion, through meditation, mindfulness, anything. There's research now on yoga. If you get into the discipline of yoga, it restores your mind body in incredible ways. The central message is this. There is a way to rebuild your life, but you have to work at it. You have to discipline yourself. You have to focus on it.

Debra Maldonado  44:53

You have to believe that there is a part of you that has never been harmed by that experience, those experiences. The true you is not broken. Deep inside of you there’s wholeness, you're not coming like an empty bucket that needs to be filled, you're ready full, you're just going to move forward and make the most of your life.

Robert Maldonado  45:19

Coaching can be a great help by reminding people of these principles, by helping people establish themselves in resilience.

Debra Maldonado  45:36

There's something about seeing the person, a therapist treating a patient, or a coach coaching a client, to see them as their potential, not only telling the client that they're not broken, but also seeing the client isn't broken and not feeling like “I gotta be careful. They're gonna break if I push them too hard.” That understanding, you see them as their potential, you see them as capable of so much more. People can feel it. They look to their mentors to see how far they can go in their life. If the mentor says “I don't know, with your history, I would just take smaller steps” instead of having someone say “You can do it, you're brilliant, you're capable, you're strong.” That's something to think about as well.

Robert Maldonado  46:37

One last thing. Frankl, in his one of his darkest moments, when he was beaten, it was a cold day, he was nearly frozen, exhausted, tired, he was being pushed by the guards to continue. He fell in the mud. He wasn't sure if he was going to be able to get up one more time. He had a vision of his beloved wife at that time. He said, that moment changed everything for him. He saw the power of love and the power of meaning in his life. He said “That's what changed and gave me the strength to carry forward.”

Debra Maldonado  47:27

We always have to have something we're living for, not something we're avoiding in life but something we're living for. That brings us and gives us that resilience, something greater than ourselves. We do get had a question on the group, someone asked, and this is perfect for this session. People feel like this sort of anniversary of the trauma, where's the line? After a while, is it like picking a scab and keep revisiting it? As a coach or a therapist, what would you say? How that works? What's happening with a person who needs to feel they have to re-traumatize themselves at that time every year and almost feel like they can't function? Or bringing them back a little bit. How would you approach that?

Robert Maldonado  48:31

There's no one way to do it. But certainly, because we're not pushing away or denying the past, we can honor it. We can say “I went through some hard times. But I am still here, I survived and thrive.”

Debra Maldonado  48:48

It is the attitude around the anniversary. Is it pulling into helplessness or is it pulling into resilience?

Robert Maldonado  48:56

We can celebrate it in that regard that we honor it, we honor our strength in dealing with those situations and overcoming them, and thriving beyond. That way we're paying respect to our fallen loved ones, those who have gone and passed on. But still staying in the present, staying in our strength and our power and continuing forward.

Debra Maldonado  49:27

We always celebrate my father, like 11 years ago he passed. The day we do a little mourning for him, it's like a remembrance. But we're always very positive, we’re remembering him in a way. Maybe a traumatic event might not be that love around it. But how can you love yourself in that time, I'm still here for myself. That's what I'm remembering today. To approach it that way.

Robert Maldonado  50:00

Ritual is very powerful in that regards. You can let go of things gradually, symbolically, in ritualistic ways. There's an infinite number of ways to approach these things.

Debra Maldonado  50:18

But bottomline is that it's not a life sentence. When you get the diagnosis like that, or you've been through a tough time in life, you are free to choose who you become.You always have that choice. There's always that deep part of you that has never been harmed, that's never been damaged, can never been cut, cannot be destroyed, that indestructible you. Through Jungian coaching, you can actually access that part of yourself through the process of individuation. That's how you can now start moving forward and not letting whatever happened to you stop you.

Robert Maldonado  50:54

Often the best coaches are people that have gone through difficult things and have come through it.

Debra Maldonado  51:02

I find so many of my clients that have had really tough lives are the bravest, most powerful, I admire them so much. I don't know if I could have accomplished what you accomplished, what you went through. The resilience is really the key. I find they're some of the most powerful, amazing people I've ever met. Nothing can stop you if you don't want it to.

Robert Maldonado  51:29

We'll continue our series on trauma and resilience.

Debra Maldonado  51:35

In the last episode next week of the series we're going to talk about COVID and the collective trauma we've all experienced across the world because of this pandemic. What impacts we think it had on all of us. How do we become resilient as a society, a culture, not only just being locked down, but all the political discourse around the world, the division and all that has happened. How that's affected us, our children not being in school. There's so much that impacted us, sometimes in good ways. People left their jobs, there's the great resignation. There's a big shift happening. How do we deal with honoring those who passed, remembering that this has been a terrible past two years, but also how do we become resilient together as a culture and move forward, not waste what we learned over this time?

Robert Maldonado  52:37

Thanks for watching. We'll see you next time. Stay well.

Debra Maldonado  52:41

Don't forget to subscribe if you haven't on YouTube right here, and Spotify, iTunes and all those podcast streaming services. Make sure you subscribe and not miss an episode of Soul Sessions. We'll see you next time. Bye bye.