Using Your Brain (And Body) In PTSD Recovery

January 29, 2014 Michele Rosenthal

Using your brain and body in PTSD recovery is critical. It isn't one or the other but both that contain important elements of healing: messages, ideas, options and opportunities for success.

The following healing stories were shared with me as I interviewed one of our national treasures: Dr. Bernie Siegel. Don't know him? He's an American writer and retired pediatric surgeon, who writes on the relationship between the patient and the healing process. Known for his best-selling book, Love, Medicine and Miracles, Bernie is a unique presence in the trauma world because he's a doctor (a/ka/, a person trained to believe "the mind and body are completely separate") who believes that not only are the mind and body connected, you can use your mind to heal your body.

Dr. Bernie Siegel Explains The Art of Healing


Best-selling author Dr. Bernie Siegel knows a lot about healing: With a specialty in cancer, he's worked with traumatized patients for over forty years. Recently, he and I spoke about what innate skills, tools and resources people have for overcoming trauma. He shared some important ideas that you can start using today in your own recovery: they're free, you already possess them and can be implemented any time, any where in any way. Today, some thoughts and proof from an expert about how to access some of your innate healing potential:

The pictures in your mind affect, create and alter the experience of your body.Take this true story, for example: A cancer treatment center for one whole month doesn't realize that their radiation machine isn't working. Multiple patients come and go from the center thinking they've received treatment. Based on that belief they experience the usual side effects of treatment - and also the shrinking of tumors.

The strength of your beliefs can heal you. Consider this true story, for example: A man diagnosed with terminal cancer is told he only has a few months to live. He decides to fulfill a lifelong dream of living in Colorado. He moves to the state and engages in a lifestyle he enjoys. Later, he tells his doctor, who is incredulous that he's still alive, "It's so beautiful out here I forgot to die."

Your intuition can save you. For example, listen to this true story: A woman dreams that a dark-skinned female doctor appears to tell her that she has breast cancer and needs to immediately seek treatment. The next morning she awakens and feels a lump in her breast. Her physician refers her to an oncologist for a consultation. The doctor who meets with her is a dark-skinned female.

Pay Attention to the Power of Your Mind

I was supposed to interview Bernie (as he likes to be called) about his new book, The Art of Healing: Uncovering Your Inner Wisdom and Potential for Self-Healing, but instead of talking about what the book offers (ways to use your dreams, drawings, laughter and perspective to heal) Bernie shared stories with me about his own life, his work as a doctor, and his gradual evolution toward the belief that the mind can not only affect the body, but using the strength of your mind to heal your body is not only a powerful recovery mechanism; it's a necessary one.

There were so many takeaway gems in our conversation; so many ideas that offer a way to make immediate changes in how you approach your own healing philosophy, including:

  • The human body is not like a house with many different parts that need separate specialists for repairs. The human body is one unit. Doctors (and we) "need to trained to heal the whole person."
  • No one else's ideas about recovery matter; "it's what the individual thought" that makes his body respond.
  • Sleep is enormously important in recovery; "dreams give information for healing."
  • You may not always feel positive or connected to your healing strength; "Act and behave as if you're the person you want to become."
  • Even when things seem dire, "give your body a 'live' message."
  • Physical symptoms are not the only things needing attention; "The human experience needs to be treated."
  • Still mind is imperative! "When the mind is quiet the truth comes through."
  • Choosing to live means that you "let your heart make up your mind."

Empowerment techniques can change the way you think, feel, live, act, behave and imagine. They can also alter the path of your destiny from one of darkness and pain to light and joy. Bernie offered many terrific ideas to further flesh out an approach to healing that gives you strength rather than depleting your energy. Every idea he offered was supported by stories and how the ideas affected people's lives.

Michele is the author of Your Life After Trauma: Powerful Practices to Reclaim Your Identity. Connect with her on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and her website,

APA Reference
Rosenthal, M. (2014, January 29). Using Your Brain (And Body) In PTSD Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Author: Michele Rosenthal

Dr Musli Ferati
February, 1 2014 at 4:34 am

Indeed, this is another fact on perplex connection between mind and body on global health state. This mutual relation has got great importance on each illness state, which one is crucial on healing process. To be honest, I'm impressed by your distinction of house from our body. This is a remarkable statement, that should be implement in daily healing process of every patient.

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