2018 Series 4

Recovery from Stress and Trauma

Week 1:  Emotional

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August 13 - September 16, 2018

course content for week 1:

The Emotional components of stress and trauma recovery

Welcome to week 1!

Introduction to week 1

Let’s face it simply being alive can be stressful. We can counteract the effects of the stress of being alive by actively cultivating resources to help us recharge, reconnecting with ourselves, and the world around us. Without these necessary resources things get out of balance, taking a toll on our mind, body and spirit.

Remember, when we neglect our basic needs our nervous system responds. Our nervous system is designed to send signals from body to mind and back again, motivating us to take action in our own self interest. When we ignore these signals our nervous system can become chronically activated – in a state of hyper arousal – until or unless we get those needs met.

PTSD is something we generally consider only in the most extreme cases. Someone who’s been in a war zone witnessing atrocities and forced to kill or be killed. But trauma comes in many forms. PTSD like symptoms can manifest from something that seems relatively minor. All that’s required is the right set up for the nervous system to hold the trauma and create symptoms.

To unravel those symptoms I have found I have to address the psychological along with the physical in order to facilitate a restoration to balance. This week we'll focus on the psychological, mental and emotional aspects of stress and trauma.

Welcome to week 1 video:


Course Content for Week 1:

the emotional and mental aspects of stress and trauma


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Links to PDF Documents for week 1:

PDF:  The Bio-mechanics of Stress and Trauma

Audio Transcript:

We've already discussed most of what we need to work with our own trauma or help our horses recover so there will be lots of opportunity to review things and go deeper into our understanding. For this week I would suggest reviewing the following documents:

A Nervous System Tutorial (page 198 of your manual)

Falling Down and Getting Back Up: How the body and mind resolve trauma (page 213 of your manual)


Main video for the week:

This week we'll explore some of the specific nervous system and bodily connections to stress and trauma. Here's a video of me working with Dude's Bladder Meridian, Kidneys, Adrenal Glands and Diaphragm.

video demonstrations:

For this week I've made a list of videos that you've already seen that are useful examples of ways to work with the mental and emotional aspects of trauma recovery as well as ways to minimize stress during training and other interactions with our horses.

Working with careful visual observation in combination with resonance, or tracking what I feel, are key components of the early stages of working with horses who suffer mental or emotional effects of chronic stress or trauma.

Touch can be a powerful way to help release stress and trauma.

Movement is sometimes the best way to help a horse release the pent up energy associated with chronic stress or trauma. That can be hard when they are quite shut down. As is the case with Merlin. Make note of the times when he takes off running and frantically screaming. That's a clear sign of nervous system over activation!