Your Life After Trauma: Discovering The New You

heal ptsd with your life after trauma by michele rosenthalToday’s the BIG day! Your Life After Trauma: Powerful Practices to Reclaim Your Identity has been officially released! Whoo-hoo! It’s party time!

In celebration I’m sharing with you a bit of the book. It’s the beginning of the Introduction and offers a sneak peek into what the book’s about and why it can be so helpful in your healing process: because you’re meant to live a different way than you are today.

Your Life After Trauma: Who Are You Now?

Brendon is a very successful businessman. So successful, in fact, that he founded his own company, the building and logo of which towers high above the skyline of a major American city. Brendon is also a survivor of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to extreme child abuse at the hands of his father. Since a triggering event ten years ago Brendon has experienced chronic PTSD. He has watched his business suffer negative losses due to lack of leadership resulting from his withdrawal, isolation and poor executive decisions. Long known as an industry icon Brendon now recoils from just about every aspect of regular functioning. He’s so overly anxious he can’t even open email or answer his cell phone. “Something’s not right,” he says in our first coaching session. “I’m not the man I used to be and I don’t think I ever will be.”

Kim is a social worker for the Department of Children and Families. Four years ago her husband died quickly from a shocking cancer diagnosis. Since then Kim has been unable to sleep, has frequent nightmares, has ostracized herself at the agency, suffers chest pains, nausea and frequent adrenalin rushes. By the time we begin working together she is on medical leave. “It’s that bad,” she says, referring to the internal shift she has experienced since the trauma. “I’m separated from my mind and have gone 100% into my body. I need something to hit me in my head to get me back to where I should be.”

Saadia is a beautiful Egyptian twenty-two year old who has recently been beaten and raped by a man who refused to let her end their romantic relationship. After a one-month stay in a psychiatric hospital and several months on a variety of medications that dulled her senses, she enters our first session with this proclamation: “I’m the anti-Christ. Don’t try to convince me otherwise.” When I ask how she knows this is true she explains that her parents have been telling her that since she was a small child. In our work together we uncover the original trauma of child abuse and how its impact—believing she was evil and deserved to be punished—set Saadia up for the domestic violence that followed years later.

You have your own story of trauma and its aftermath, so you already understand how Brendon, Kim and Saadia feel. You already know, too, how profoundly trauma causes changes. After trauma it’s very natural to go with the flow of the changes; you do what you have to do to survive—even if that means embracing distorted behaviors, thoughts, feelings and beliefs if they may help you feel safe and in control. There are many ironies in the post-trauma world and they are all connected by this system: You put in place a coping mechanism that allows you to feel more in control (an eating disorder, for example) or allows you to feel better (say, an addiction) only to find out later that the very mechanism you thought would help you be more safe, in control and feeling better is actually putting you more out of control, in danger and making you feel worse. Of course, it has to be this way. Survival mode is supposed to be a phase that helps save your life. It is not meant to be how you live.

To read a longer excerpt and find out more about the book (including a free Resource Center full of audio and other downloadable content), visit




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