Nature’s Lessons in Healing Trauma

After studying animals natural reactions to trauma, Peter Levine developed Somatic Experiencing to heal trauma.

After completing the first 2 years of the 3 year Somatic Experiencing training, I’ve learned more about how we experience trauma and how to heal it.  I’ve incorporated this into my psychotherapy practice to help build resilience in my clients.  SE helps people to recover form chronic stress, illness and pain.  It helps people who have had developmental trauma, childhood abuse, neglect or distress.  I am pleased to have these additional skills.

Anger as Medicine

Anger is an essential, primal, mammalian emotion, whereas violence (when there’s no actual need to protect oneself or others), crime, and hate are the byproducts of internalized, repressed and misdirected anger.  Irene Lyon

Somewhere along the line anger got a bad rep.  Anger is an emotion.  Violence is a behavior.  Many of us have been conditioned to repress anger as something bad.  This conditioning often happened when we were very young.  Healthy expression of anger is health promoting.

Anger as Medicine: How to Cure Self-Sabotaging Behaviours


One Mindful Moment in Movement

“All that is important is this one moment in movement. Make the moment important, vital, and worth living. Do not let it slip away unnoticed and unused. ”  Martha Graham

Twilight egret dance

Just thinking about movement in its many forms… flow in my thoughts, flow in my body… and how much better I feel when there is movement.  Also, there is this one moment to live, be moving and mindful.    This is your moment.

Bringing Our Own Light into the World

sunlight on ocean
Even after all these years
the sun doesn’t say
“You owe me”.
Look what happens!
The whole world lights up.


NC Mountains

What can each of us do to light up the world?  At this time of year the days are getting longer and the sunshine enters our life more and more each day.  I don’t have the reach and power of the sun but I can effect my little corner.  As I contemplate bringing more of my own light into the world, I wonder about doing it in a graceful way that expects nothing in return.  I am making a commitment to myself and now publicly to smile more, to smile more to friends and loved ones, to look strangers in the eye and smile, strangers on the streets and trails, strangers in the store.  With those smiles, I want to say, “You matter”, You’re important”.  I want to say connections and relationships are important.  I want to say that kindness can come from unexpected places.  I want to believe that if my little corner is brighter that the light will spread like ripples in a pond, growing and spreading.  How much light is that when we each bring even more light into our little corner?  And then that light ripples out?

Please share your thoughts.







Martha Whitney, LMFT – Psychotherapist, Counselor & Life Coach in Chapel Hill, NC; near Durham, NC

Take Care of Yourself First

airplane in skyWe need self-care to have the physical and mental health to take care of others.  As parents, lovers, friends, relatives, our first impulse may be to take care of others first.  What happens if we ignore self-care?   The classic metaphor is from airline travel.  Supply yourself with oxygen first before helping others.

Take care of yourself first.  Here’s a graphic demonstration of Why you need to put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others.

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