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This is a video from our friend and mentor Dr. Jamie Marich who presented at TEDxyoungstown: “Healing the Wounds that Keep Us Stuck: A New Look at Emotional Trauma”. Dr. Jamie Marich’s friends and colleagues describe her as a renaissance woman. A dancer, musician, performer, writer and clinical counselor, Marich unites these elements of her experience to achieve an ultimate mission: bringing the art and joy of healing to others. Based in Ohio, Marich is the founder of the Dancing Mindfulness practice, and she actively trains facilitators on using this practice in both clinical and community settings. She is the author of Trauma Made Simple (2014), Creative Mindfulness (2013), Trauma and the Twelve Steps (2012), and EMDR Made Simple (2011). Marich began her career in human services while working as an English teacher in post-war Bosnia; she is fast becoming respected as a voice to listen to in the mental health and addiction recovery communities because of her candidness.
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Adolescence is a developmental stage where significant changes arise including the psychosocial. Psychosocial development refers to the search for identity, gender identity, emotional relationships (family, peers, society) and behavior. This development will depend on the circumstances and dynamics of which the adolescent has been part of all previous development. This will result in a set of positive traits, personal resources that will make it easier for the formation of a healthy and stable identity. This identity will be defined by the own values and beliefs.
During these changes, there are processes that relate to how the adolescent perceives, thinks and understands his inner world, outer world and their emotional states. The emotional state of this young person will make a difference in how to cope. So your emotional state (positive traits, personal resources, support resources) may help predict what will be the coping style to adversity.
The people throughout their lives are constantly facing life situations and adversities. The way how they face it will be connected to the emotional states. Teenagers are part of this reality that may be a more vulnerable and critical process causing them emotional distress and face difficulty managing this process. For this reason, cognitive, moral and psychological mental processes must be psychologically stable and healthy for the traumatic event not to affect the normal course of their psychosocial development.
In adolescence, the ability to organize and carry just any action required to handle situations is still in developing. If the teen does not have a solid self-esteem and a healthy, positive sense of self, it will be really disturbing to cope with the situation.
SOME FACTORS THAT PROMOTE A NEGATIVE PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT ON THE ADOLESCENT’S LIFE DURING CRISES AND TRAUMATIC EVENTS ARE:
1. Mental Health (history of emotional problems).
2. Passive Resources: a history of negative or dysfunctional family, negative and unstable relationships between family members, poor attachment, parental conflict, parenting style, etc.
3. Poor or irresponsible social controls. Bad social management, corruption of facts about a situation, invading their identity, values and beliefs of adolescents.
4. Participation and/or inappropriate exposure of the adolescent to a process.
5. Absent and unstable network support.
SOME FACTORS PROMOTE A POSITIVE IMPACT ON THE ADOLESCENT’S LIFE DURING CRISES AND TRAUMATIC EVENTS ARE:
1. Healthy Psychosocial Development (enriching experiences from an early age).
2. Responsible and controlled style of intervention.
3. Active, personal resources (positive coping style, auto-emotional regulation, hope, faith, self-love, forgiveness, acceptance, resilience - the capacity to cope with life’s adversities, learn from them, overcome them and be transformed by them .)
4. Family and social support.
The implications in the adult life of a teenager who has been exposed to stressful situations and/or trauma can vary depending on the above-mentioned factors. That is, a teenager could become a strong, caring adult with a sense of appreciation and self-love of others and successful. It could also be an adult immersed in depression and anxiety that their resources were passive, negative and living in the past. Everything will depend on the perception, meaning and understanding given to the situation. When the teen accepts and assumes the psychological responsibility of the experience and face positively the same is when we see an adult with assertiveness, grateful, brave, responsible and personal successes.
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Recently reading about traumas, I found an interesting and practical example that explains in simple terms how past traumas affect the lives of people in the present. The author refers to past traumas as the dust that accumulates on a light bulb overshadowing his light.
How do we apply this to your life? Imagine that through the years your painful experiences, considering in this article as traumas, have been on your mind affecting you in your present experience. As long as this dust is there, it will be impossible for you to see things clearly and your natural light will not be available to shine your present and your life.
It seems interesting because people come to seek help because they see their lives as fragile. When they seek help is because their past traumas have dusted their lives without having control of it, overpowering their present. When this happened tragically or sadly, it decentralized from the person bringing troubled lives and unhealthy emotional states.
When you can activate your consciousness about what happens, then you begin to be mentally open for change in you, enabling you to light your life without allowing the dust to opaque your present. When your mind is in the present moment, something happens because the experience of the moment does not dust painful experiences or past traumas located in your mind. This allows new sensations freed from fear, anger, sadness, hate, or toxic feelings associated with past traumas that have nothing to do with your present. The wounds of past traumas without realizing it, in most cases, lead you to ideas and pessimistic interpretations about yourself and the outside world. Also, steal your present affecting your relationships with others and with yourself. It is a wall that does not allow you to be in healthy physical and emotional states. This results in superficial lifestyle dominated by involuntary information that often brings pain and suffering.
Your lifestyle will reflect your thoughts and beliefs. When your lifestyle changes, it does not happen due to changes in your environment. It happens because you have managed to be in the present moment, controlling your experiences, your past traumas, your environment, without letting them manipulate you. Here, past traumas have been left behind.
If you see your life more pessimistic than optimistic, focusing on painful emotions considered free from these wounds and past traumas. Begin to live oriented by the present and hoping that everything will be fine.
If the emotional load is heavy and you do not know how to free yourself from these experiences and painful emotions, seek professional help is always the best option.