Healing our stories can lessen our pain

Photo taken from the perspective of lying on a tiled bathroom floor.
Photo taken from the perspective of lying on a tiled bathroom floor.
Photo by the author.

Content Warning: the following includes descriptions of physical and emotional pain. It is recommended that readers not use any of the techniques in this article without the guidance of a trained mental health professional. This article is not medical advice. If you are in pain, speak with your doctor. Client details have been changed to protect anonymity.

“You are on the bathroom floor. You are covered in sweat. You feel both as if you are running a fever and as if you are standing outside in twelve-degree weather without a coat on. Your body is shaking. You have just finished…


How your brain recovers from trauma

Photo: Erick Palacio / unsplash.com

Throughout a typical day your brain is constantly doing two things. First, you are taking in sensory information from your five senses, that is, what you see, hear, smell, taste and touch. At the same time another part of your brain is creating a story about what all this sensory information means: for example that you are now waking up, then going to work, going to an appointment, coming home, and going to bed. …


Ten tips to decide whether a trauma therapist is right for you

Photo: Michal Ico on Unsplash

1. Let’s start with this: finding the right therapist can be challenging. While credentials and experience have their place, at the end of the day the most important thing is fit. Go with your gut. Do a phone consult. Did they listen? Did you feel heard? Speak with more than one therapist. It’s worth doing this due diligence. (Fifty percent of therapists graduated in the bottom fifty percent of their class.)

Go with your gut. Do a phone consult. Did they listen? Did you feel heard?

2. One tool for finding an EMDR therapist in the U.S. is the Psychology…


There is light in the darkness

Aisling Franciosi as Clare in Jennifer Kent’s “The Nightingale”. Photo: Matt Nettheim/IFC Films.

This is going to be an odd movie review. I’m going to talk about all the reasons why you might not want to see this movie while also telling you that it’s the most horrific-beautiful movie I’ve ever seen.

As a life-long fan of film, I’ve probably seen as many violent movies as the average American. And what you need to know up-front is: The Nightingale is the most violent movie I’ve seen in my life. The violence is relentless: multiple murders, child murder, infanticide, rapes of multiple women, and repeated rapes of multiple women.

Furthermore, unlike most war movies…


Finding yourself unexpectedly quarantined with a captive audience? Interested in seeding discussions about gender equality? Here is a diverse list of films that explore different facets of the dynamics of gender and power in society.

Whale Rider (2002)

Photo courtesy of Newmarket Films / imdb.com.

A 12-year-old Māori (New Zealand’s indigenous people) girl, whose grandfather is a senior elder, challenges the male tradition of the next chief being chosen by which boy can ride a whale. If I had to choose one film on this list to show to all children, this would be it.

The Eagle Huntress (2016)


What I learned from listening to women

Close-up of a Texas Longhorn standing in a field.
Close-up of a Texas Longhorn standing in a field.
Photo: Vivian Arcidiacono on Unsplash

Over the years, I began to keep track of whenever I heard a woman talk about something she felt she had to do that had never occurred to me to do. It took me until my 40s to identify these disparities as a function of my male privilege. Why did it take me so long? Because one characteristic of privilege is that you can get away with not knowing you have it. It’s the people who don’t have it who are forced to notice it every day of their lives. …


A High School survivor teaches how to heal

Chessy Prout holding a copy of her memoir, “I Have the Right To”.
Chessy Prout holding a copy of her memoir, “I Have the Right To”.
Survivor, author, and advocate Chessy Prout with her book, I Have the Right To: A High School Survivor’s Story of Sexual Assault, Justice and Hope. Photo: The Japan Times | Kyodo

As a psychotherapist who works with trauma survivors, I was deeply moved by Chessy Prout’s 2018 memoir, I Have the Right To: A High School Survivor’s Story of Sexual Assault, Justice and Hope. Written with investigative reporter Jenn Abelson, I Have the Right To chronicles Chessy’s journey from being sexually assaulted as a 15-year-old freshman at St. Paul’s boarding school in Concord, New Hampshire, through her recovery and present-day advocacy.

Throughout the book, Chessy’s relentless honesty provides the rest of us with a gift: intimate insight into the world of trauma and the arc of trauma recovery. Because her recovery…


Gender equality is our best shot at survival

Group photo of the 32 members of the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council in Biarritz, France in August of this year.
Group photo of the 32 members of the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council in Biarritz, France in August of this year.
The G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council in Biarritz, France in August of this year. UN Goodwill Ambassador for Women Emma Watson is in the front center. Source: https://www.elysee.fr/en/g7/advisory-council

What if there was a single societal intervention that could fundamentally improve the well-being of humanity? And what if a group of experts from around the world had recently codified this intervention into specific actionable policies for governments to adopt? You’d think you would have heard about it, wouldn’t you? Chances are you haven’t, however, because most major news outlets didn’t cover it.

On August 20th, the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council, comprised of 32 members including UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, released the culmination of almost a year’s worth of work: recommendations for advancing gender equality and…

Peter Pruyn

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