There is no question that speaking up about sexual abuse is paramount to healing. As a licensed therapist, I started a group called It Happens to Boys in 2007. Since that time, I have presented workshops with a group of male survivors and have spoken at various recovery centers across California. Getting to that point was not an easy task. In fact, it took several years for the centers to allow us to speak directly to the men in treatment. The recommendation for men in recovery, at that time, was that they must have at least one year of sobriety before they deal with trauma issues.
When it comes to treating trauma, the body needs to be involved for full feeling and healing to occur. Simply moving the body in a natural fashion through walking or using space to concretize and represent relational closeness, distance, power or lack thereof, can bring emotions out of hiding and into the therapeutic milieu. When we move, our limbic system engages. Simply walking across the room kickstarts a cascade of body chemicals. Movement is a warm up to feeling. RTR allows for such natural movement to occur within the context of a group, being simultaneously personal and interpersonal.
Meditation saved my life.
My father, Richard North, died in a Navy jet test flight crash when I was six years old. Fifteen months after his death, my mother, Helen North who had eight children, re-married a man named Frank Beardsley who had ten, making us one of the largest families in the country. We became famous, and our story was featured in the movie, Yours, Mine and Ours. But it wasn't one big happy family. We had to hide the fact that we were living a lie.
The title of this article may shock you, especially when you realize that I am considered a trauma expert in many circles, traveling the country educating other professionals on trauma competency, especially within the context of addiction services. But really, I mean it: trauma isn’t the problem.