I want to share one coping strategy a month. These are strategies I use (or have used) in my own life as I travel the healing journey. I hope they bring you tranquility, as well!
Create a safe space for yourself.
This can be a safe space in your mind where you can go when feeling anxious. Mine is a cozy little nook, surrounded by books and filled with a snuggly bed with lots of pillows and blankets, looking out a ceiling to floor window over a brilliant blue ocean, with a calming breeze flowing through the room, and sunlight streaming from behind a lone white cloud. Use as much detail as you can muster. What does the space smell like, what’s the temperature, what’s there in the space? Are you outside or inside? Remember, this is YOUR space. Fill it with you and everything that makes your heart happy.
Or an actual space. Filled with all things comforting, supportive, love-infused, and joyous. Make it about you and your needs. What makes your soul happy? Fill YOUR space with THAT.
(The following article comes from borrowed snippets from a conversation thread in the ACEs Connection community in response to my asking for guidance regarding Exposure Therapy)
“Prolonged Exposure (PE) is the most researched treatment for trauma related disorders around. It is also a “gold standard” treatment – meaning its efficacy is top of the line. Dropout rates for trauma treatments are statistically the same for all approaches. Part of the symptomatology of PTSD is avoidance. That is (the) basis for the prolonged exposure, to have the client face what they are avoiding, especially the more disturbing aspects of the traumatic event(s) as measure by subjective units of distress (SUDs).
PE involves having the client relive the trauma over and over again until SUDs begin to go down. Your homework would include listening to recordings of your sessions outside the treatment room. You may also be assigned to expose yourself to anxiety provoking stimuli outside of sessions based on a hierarchy of fears and anxieties working on the most anxiety-provoking antecedent first. As previously stated, the goal of therapy is to reduce your SUDs level to a manageable point. Even though SUDs were developed by a behavior therapist (the “B” in CBT which is the general classification of PE), the late psychiatrist, Josepf Wolpe, SUDs are also used in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT).
The research indicates there is no statistically significant (difference) in any of the approaches with the exception of EFT, which doesn’t have a significant research base, though the relatively fewer studies indicate EFT yields promising results.
It made my heart happy to sit down with my friend Krissie Myers to discuss her program directors roles with Milestones, Inc. – an equestrian achievement program – and Kentucky Intensive Family Services foster care agency. You can find out more about Milestone’s wonderful programs and volunteer opportunities on their Facebook page or on their website.
Information on Kentucky Intensive Family Services can be found on their website:
“As a small, non-profit agency, KIFS takes pride in the ability to provide intense, therapeutic, in-home services to foster families and the children placed in their homes. We are very proud of our high success rate of helping children reach permanency, reducing the lingering effects of trauma due to abuse, neglect, and family crisis situations, and enhancing the over-all health, well-being, and life experience of our most vulnerable population.”
Thanks for joining us! If you are enjoying these podcast, please be sure to leave a comment on iTunes or provide feedback on Blubrry or my website.
And, as always, a reminder to be gentle with yourself.
I was thrilled to have Lucia Giovannini join me for a beautiful and enlightened conversation about her upcoming book release in the United States, her life mission, soul work, animal advocacy, and so much more! Be sure to check out the quiz on her website! Thank you so much for joining us.
“Lucia Giovannini is a former Italian supermodel turned best-selling author, spiritual teacher, transformational coach, environmental & animal activist, and author of 13 books. Her best-selling book, “A Whole New Life”, was first published in Italian and is now translated into eight languages, including an English version published by Hay House India. Her book has sold thousands of copies around the world and will be debuting in the US in March 2019. Growing up in Africa, Lucia often caused her parents’ hearts to skip a beat when she befriended the wildlife, from lizards to crocodiles. Till this day, she remains a passionate animal rights activist. She is a Master Fire-walking Trainer, an NLP and Neuro-Semantics Trainer, and a recognized international Life Coach.”
I have been taking a little social media post-holiday hiatus. Catching up on life and such. Then today put life in perspective in a huge God-therapy way so I had to share.
Sammie was working her therapy dog gig this morning when a child was brought into the room. His tear-filled eyes captured my heart and Sammie instantly worked her therapy dog magic . . . kisses and hugs and snuggles and more kisses. She wouldn’t leave his side for nearly an hour. He and I chatted and chatted while Sammie loved him. With the purest love possible. Just heart to heart.
Afterward I discovered the horrific tragedy that had befallen this child only hours prior. I cried the entire car ride home. My sweet dog helped this little guy smile when smiling seemed an impossibility for these circumstances. She gave him an hour of reprieve from his heartache and trauma.
What a wonderful connection of souls and like-minded philosophies I experienced during this interview with Elizabeth Sullivan, founder and CEO of Empower Survivors. Please join us as we discuss surviving sexual abuse, Giving Voice, empowering survivors, and so much more.
As shared on the Empower Survivors website:
“Elizabeth is the founder and CEO of EmpowerSurvivors, child abuse survivor, facilitator, speaker, activist, survivor coach and mother of three who has made it her life mission to support survivors on their healing journey’s, educate communities on child abuse, and aid in the prevention of child abuse and adverse childhood experiences.”Their mission is “To support adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse , educate communities, reduce the rape and molestation of children, and break the silence that allows childhood sexual abuse to go on for generations.”
You can contact Elizabeth and the Empower Survivors non-profit agency using the following links:
“Mom, Your life and work are so inspiring. Your social media presence is a light for people on a day to day basis. Your podcasts are influencing in all the right ways. Your writings are beautiful works of love that all need to hear. Keep up all your hard work and the dividends will exponentially grow. Remember that love is everywhere and I will always support you, even from across the country from atop mountains. Love, John”
John Wellbrock – letter to mom, Teri Wellbrock, Christmas 2018
I have been collecting hearts for a few years now. My friends will send me photos of hearts they find. I will post pics on social media of my heart finds. I even recently wrote an e-book, Stop Thinking . . . Just Love, filled with over six hundred heart photos. I have a collection of hearts on their own page on my website. And in my sacred writing space, I have a collection of special hearts given to me by loved ones, friends, and therapists.
Christmas 2018 I added a special Rocky Mountains heart to my treasure. My oldest son, John, my kindred spirit, my boy with a physicist’s mind and a poet’s heart, gave me the gift of a rock for Christmas.
Yep. A rock.
Plus, a letter. Written from his heart.
I have sometimes questioned my parenting skills. Am I doing this right? Did I coddle them too much, trying to compensate for my own painful childhood, filled with moments of terror and abandonment? Did I do too much for them? Overprotect them to a fault? Should I have let them fall and stumble more often? I wanted them safe. I wanted them to feel loved and protected and treasured. I wanted them to know they were wanted and their opinions mattered.
Or I’d ridicule myself for not being strong enough to fight for them. For emotionally abandoning them when I was lost and hurting. Those endless years I’d spent holed up in a dark room, smoking cigarettes, playing mindless computer games or seeking solace from strangers in AOL chat rooms, shooing my children away.
Learning to forgive myself, forgive my parents, and forgive my transgressors, altered my life. It’s not for everyone. But, that’s what worked for me. That’s my message to the world. Take it or leave it.
I reminded a friend the other day that no matter what decisions we make regarding our children, if we do so with love as our driving force, with intentions filled with hopeful promise, then, yes, we are doing it right.
Years ago, I told my children I was so very sorry for anything I had done to hurt them. I explained that none of it was ever done in malice. I accepted responsibility for my actions in hurting them. And they graciously offered the beautiful gift of forgiveness to me.
Yesterday, on Christmas morning, 2018, as my tears flowed, and I threw my arms around my now twenty-five-year-old baby boy, I knew in my heart . . . I did it right.
And as I kissed my eighty-three-year-old mother good-bye, as she left our home, my heart overflowing with joy at her having made it through our first family Christmas celebration EVER without drinking alcohol, I realized that she did it right, too.
She had abandoned me emotionally as a child while lost in her own pain and her self-medicating through Valium and booze. She had summoned my father to hit me when she wanted silence. Yet, I know on a soul level, she loved me. And some how, some way, that love permeated.
So here we are. Healing a once-festering wound. Enjoying our new normal, a relationship filled with phone calls and shopping and laughter and movie dates. Mother-daughter endeavors I had only dreamed of having and had envied in others.
I now realize my mom needed to heal her own pain. Did she hurt me in her flailing? Absolutely. Am I saying it was acceptable? Absolutely not. What I am saying is that parenting is a struggle . . . especially when we have lived adverse childhood experiences ourselves and are still working through our own healing process. Yet, love prevails. It really does.
Some may disagree with me. That’s fine. But, I like to look at the positives and focus on the hope. The hope of healing. The hope that permeates forgiveness. The hope that is love.
So, yes, here we are. Loving our children, my mom and me. We did it in our own ways. But, we did it right.
Before diving into step 7, a reminder about resilience: it is defined as the ability to overcome adverse conditions; with healthy bonding relationships, guidance, support, and compassion as the catalysts. Basically, it entails having the capacity to bounce back from stressful or overwhelming experiences.
What are some steps we can take to ensure we are building resilience in our lives?
Focus on the positives.
Seek out and nurture supportive relationships.
Utilize self-care strategies.
Take action steps to create positive change.
Work on healthy habit formation.
Find a guiding hand to hold.
Learn to become our own hero.
Be gentle with ourselves.
Today we will cover Step 7: Learn to become our own hero.
One of those ah-ha moments in my life came when I realized that it was not up to anyone else to “save” me. Instead, I started to look to myself for empowerment. I experienced what I call “a shift” in 2013. Think of it as a change in philosophy, a willingness to open myself up to healing and answers. I allowed myself the gift of becoming my own hero. We all have the capacity for becoming our own superhero; we just need to open our hearts, minds, and souls to the possibility.
So, how did I learn to become my own hero? A whole helluva lot of research . . . along with some trial and error. The sole purpose of my Unicorn Shadows: From Trauma to Triumph – A Healing Guide book that I am finishing up the manuscript on is to guide others through the research I completed and allow readers an opportunity to engage in the steps I utilized.
I will give you a head start here and offer five suggestions for starting your superhero work (go ahead and put that cape on!):
Build your knowledge by reading, watching, listening, and absorbing all you can about healthy self-care strategies: I have a resource library full of books I have read (filled with mark-ups for ideas that spoke to my soul). I will be adding those titles to my website some time over the next few months. I’ll be sure to send you an access code once I do so you can dive into those books and articles. I also have a bookmark folder on my web browser filled with articles and websites that provide healing guidance. I would list them all, but what speaks to MY soul might not speak to YOURS. Therefore, I recommend you search for self-help topics that pique your interest. Do searches on your local library site (did you know you can check out books online, too?), Amazon, YouTube, Vimeo, web browsers, by key words, Pinterest, Facebook – the options are endless.
Be open to crazy awesome options for healing: When I started opening my mind up to new possibilities for healing my trauma wounds and relieving the resulting symptoms, miracles started to happen. No, seriously. For real. I started practicing exercises such as Ho’oponopono Hawaiian healing technique, the Ah Meditation, energy healing, and so much more. Next on my list is goat yoga! Watch my beautiful podcast interview with Belinda Farrell of Huna Healing for more information on Ho’oponopono.
Choose one and try it: This seems pretty self-evident, but how many times have we made grandiose plans, done the research, but then stopped right there. It’s scary sometimes to try something new. Right? But, the best way to learn if something will help you feel more empowered is to simply DO it. Give it a whirl. Maybe a few whirls. If it works . . . yay! You can add that patch to your superhero cape. If not, see the next suggestion.
If it does not work, file it away, see it as a learning lesson, and move on to the next idea: This can be tough, too. We feel like we are giving up. Or maybe questioning, “Why does this work for other people, but not me?” Please know that we are all different with an eclectic mix of backgrounds. What works for one person might not work for us because of genetics or experiences (such as adverse childhood experiences or ACEs) or a combination of factors. Regardless, it’s okay. Put it in the “life lesson” file folder and move on to another superhero adventure.
Build your superhero portfolio to use as needed: Once you have established a collection of tools . . . think of Batman’s utility belt . . . you will feel more empowered just by having more choices from which to turn to for your self-care strategies. But, keep on adding options as you grow stronger. Get yourself ready for your superhero strut. Watch out, world. Another bad-ass trauma-warrior is in the making.
Coming up next month: Step 8: Be gentle with ourselves.
*Excerpt from my upcoming Hope for Healing Newsletter . . . I would love to welcome you onto the Hope for Healing team! Join me here!
I was excited to engage in this powerfully healing conversation with Belinda Farrell – Reconnective Healing Practitioner, Huna Consultant, and Public Speaker – about her personal journey from trauma to triumph. What a fascinating life lived by a beautiful soul.
Belinda Farrell has overcome major life challenges—the suicide of her son, complete financial loss, and healing a degenerated spine without surgery. But all was not lost. By using ancient Hawaiian techniques and accepting responsibility for every aspect of her life, she was able to rise from the ashes, find her friggin’ joy, and now she’s sharing this invaluable information with others in her book, Find Your Friggin’ Joy.
“This is a no-nonsense book for those who are willing to take an active part in their healing,” explains Farrell. “Chapter 2 is entitled ‘Sissies Turn Back’ because this book is going to challenge you at the core level to face what one must face in order to be free. I had to do some deep soul searching which might be considered scary. A sissy would run away from something scary. This book is not for sissies. I invite you to take a peek within these pages. I promise, as you do the inner work, and use the tools described within the chapters, you will not only discover what holds you back in life, but also find that friggin’ joy that’s been locked away for so long.”
In Find Your Friggin’ Joy, Farrell takes readers on a journey using ancient Hawaiian teachings that invite the reader to forgive themselves and others, unplug from their old non-productive stories, and step into the frequencies of their Higher Self. Connecting with these frequencies can heal your physical body, bring you back into balance, lighten your load, and fulfill your soul’s purpose.
Bio: Belinda Farrell, author of the book Find Your Friggin’ Joy, graduated with a BA in Spanish and English from the University of California at Berkeley and is trained in hypnotherapy, past life regression, NLP, Hawaiian chanting, and ancient Hawaiian healing (Huna). Belinda trained with Anthony Robbins (author of Unlimited Power) and has effectively used these skills in her own life. She has completed 18 firewalks. When Belinda was forty-eight, she collapsed with herniated discs and spinal nerve damage. Threatened with paralysis by her medical doctors if she didn’t have surgery, Belinda instead chose to apply the ancient Hawaiian healing practices she had been learning the previous three years, which are covered in this book. Her back completely healed, including childhood scoliosis. For fifteen years she has been sharing these healing practices with others, offering Reconnective Healing and Huna classes and taking clients to Hawaii to teach Huna and swim with wild spinner dolphins.
I enjoyed this beautiful conversation with Jessie Graham on her work with clients, teachers, and students utilizing her co-creating change philosophies and techniques.
Jessie shared the following with me (and made my heart smile with her words!):
“Wow Teri,You are really good at what you do! I felt so comfortable on the interview. I am grateful for this opportunity and for meeting you! My purpose is being supported through your podcast!” Find out more about the amazing work Jessie is doing at: