Therapies to Help Parents Heal After the Loss of a Child
Mar 02, 2016 03:10PM
By Judith Hancox
Since 1980, I’ve been on a journey of self-discovery in the study and practice of yoga, philosophy and meditation. I began specializing in emotional healing and trauma recovery work during my graduate studies and social work practice. I’ve always felt guided to ways and means to assist others. Most techniques I was led to were not traditional, yet they were always complementary to traditional healing practices and they helped accelerate the healing process in ways I appreciated when needed most!
Not until the loss of my niece Carly, 24, in 2013, did I experience suffering in a way I never could have imagined. Helpless in my inability to heal my godchild of cancer, and incapable of relieving my sister’s pain and suffering in the loss of her only child, I had to go deep within to find peace. I had to walk the walk, and embrace what I had practiced for decades, to find solace. If not for the tools and techniques I share below, and if not for my sister’s vigilance in finding Carly, I would not have become as adept in helping others to heal from grief and bereavement as I am today. In her sleepless nights of searching the Internet for assistance, my sister guided me to new methods to train in that I was not aware of.
I offer below a summary of what I have learned. I hope it will help someone in need. Only those who have lost a child can know the depths of this sorrow — and the peace that will come by “losing our minds and coming to our senses,” in realizing what we have control over, and what we do not.
- Most parents who have suffered the loss of a child experience post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD. Its negative symptoms do not heal on their own in time, as lesser disturbances usually do; most people need professional help and the assistance of a support group to heal from PTSD.
- Analysis is a left-brain function, and emotions are a right-hemisphere function. To heal, the right and left sides of the brain must "talk" to integrate or make sense of feelings. A traumatic event gets "stuck" in shock, in the amygdala, in the right hemisphere of the brain, and in the electromagnetic energy field, bypassing any reasoning or processing and healing. We are made of energy, and negative energies can "stick" to us for a long time if we don't get help in releasing them.
- Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, founded in 1987 by Dr. Francine Shapiro, is a highly successful method of healing PTSD with bilateral brain stimulation and its helpful integrative processing with a trained, licensed, and experienced professional. EMDR and Energy Psychology (EFT, TFT, EvTFT, etc.) are methods that help heal trauma more quickly than conventional talking therapies. I’ve used these methods quite successfully for over 25 years.
- PTSD is curable; the loss of a child is not. Healing involves more than healing one's PTSD symptoms. Living with loss and enjoying the present is possible but requires more than physical and emotional balance. It requires an understanding, truth. It requires balance of body, mind and spirit.
- Body, mind and spirit cannot be separated. Spiritual experiences and knowledge of one's energy system within and surrounding the physical body is an important component to healing one's grief and despair. It is an essential component to finding peace in one's life. Balancing body, mind, and spirit is the key to achieving peace of mind, health of body, and the enjoyment of one's life.
- The science of energy medicine dates back 5,000 years, with the beginnings of acupuncture, acupressure, and yoga. All are scientific systems based on the body's spirit or energy that enters the body at the time of birth and leaves the body at the time of one's passing from the physical state.
- Keeping one's energy flowing in a positive direction in and around the body is essential to one's healing process. For the Energy Correction Meditation, I created a manual with accompanying CD that offers a guide to keeping one's energy balanced and peaceful in as little as two to six minutes. This meditation helps accelerate the healing of PTSD in EMDR by using six pressure points on the physical body that balance the energy systems quickly and effectively.
- Meditation, breathing exercises and finding time for peace is essential to connecting with our loved ones who, though now in a spiritual body, are only a thought away. Find time each day to go to a safe place, whether in nature, relaxing, walking or resting. It is essential to healing connections.
- The Guided Afterlife Connections Therapy, now called Repair and Reattachment Grief Therapy, is a full-day intensive therapy using EMDR. It is a day to honor our loved ones and our relationship and heal from the shock and trauma of their physical passing. The connections made with our loved ones are meaningful and healing, offering a direct knowledge of their existence in the after-this-world life. All spirits connecting to us reveal that where they are is really "home," and they are here for us now. This method, founded by Rochelle Wright, is fairly new in psychotherapy, yet seems to be growing quickly. I was trained in it 2014, and only licensed professionals are allowed to take the founder's training.
- Past Life Regression Therapy is a therapeutic way to experience a deeply relaxed state of mind and body that is healing on an extremely deep level. Past life regressions can target the root of our connection to our loved ones, our experiences together, and our life's purpose. All this is explored with a trained licensed professional. Drs. Brian and Carole Weiss, who have been training professionals since 1988, recently trained me at Omega, a weeklong training course in New York. I've had many successful experiences with clients since my training, and many healing connections.
- Essential oils specifically blended for trauma recovery aid the amygdala, a subcortical structure of the brain linked to emotion, in releasing trauma from the brain. The olfactory bulb transmits signals to the cerebral cortex and amygdala. The amygdala that holds the trauma is affected by the energy and high frequency of essential oils, helping to dissipate and release the lower vibrational disturbances. Essential oils are absorbed through smell and within 22 seconds affect the brain, even crossing the blood-brain barrier for one’s benefit.
- A session with an evidential, gifted medium, guided by our loved ones in the afterlife, offers the chance to experience a connection with those who have crossed over. Knowing information that could only be known by your loved one and giving you the gift of this evidence is deeply healing. Evidential mediums help us to realize our loved ones are still with us, and we are one day closer — all of us — to being together again.
Judith A. Hancox, MSW, LCSW, BCETS, psychotherapist, is a board certified expert in traumatic stress, who uses a unique, holistic approach that effectively accelerates one's innate ability to process and heal. Creator of Shiome Therapy, Hancox gently and safely guides people — individually and in groups — to their highest potential of emotional recovery and strength of Spirit. Connect with her at Shiome.com.