Traumatic grief, part 2 of 5

Seeing is believing

Have you ever caught a preschooler with chocolate smeared all over his face, who declared—most-assuredly—that he did not eat those Oreos? Then you say, “Hey, let me show you something.” Little Oreo Man thinks he just got away with The Crime of The Century, when you walk him to the big mirror in the hall. As the two of you stand in front of that mirror and Little Oreo Man sees his face and sees you seeing his face, his expression changes, doesn’t it. Busted!

Mirrors show us things, like how tight those pants are now looking. We turn our bodies from side to side to try to improve the look from a new-and-improved vantage point, but the turning doesn’t help. Ugh. Those desserts and snacks didn’t vaporize. Ugh, again.

Moving forward
In part 1 of this post, we learned about Trauma Town and what Traumatic Grief is. Today we’ll learn how mirrors are being used to heal people from Traumatic Grief. Are you furrowing your brow or thinking Seriously? Yep. Seriously.

Let’s continue our tour of Trauma Town with counselor and Traumatic Grief expert Liz Taylor.

Phantom pain and mirror revisioning
After someone loses a leg or an arm, he or she will feel pain in the missing extremity. Liz talks to us about Phantom Pain and a new therapy to help with this phenomenon.

What they’ve found is that they’d fix up this mirror in place to make it look like the missing leg was there. That helps the brain to acknowledge the missing limb.

To read a little more on this therapy, see this article on

Often-minimized traumas: loss of health, moving, loss of job
Loss of health is HUGE, and people don’t think about it.
Liz relates that moving and loss of a job each create “tremendous grief.” She tells us about all the things people lose when they move… home, friends, school, knowing where things are located—your post office and grocery store—and much more.

What else did you lose in your last move? Your church? Your best friend? Your marriage?

*Addendum/warning: Peaceful Readers, the information below about guided meditation, also called guided imagery, is provided with extreme caution. Guided meditation is an advanced counseling technique. It can and has been used in destructive/evil ways. Educate yourself about this technique. Pray to God about it. I experienced guided meditation in a Christian, biblical context. It helped me. It did not harm me. But I would be remiss if I failed to inform you that this technique is widely used in the occult.

Proceed with immense caution, and most of all, with God. Make sure that the God you worship is not a god of your own imagination or making, based on someone else’s “picture” or interpretation of who God is. Follow and know the one true Almighty God, the triune God of the Bible—God the Father, Jesus Christ his Son, and the Holy Spirit. [End of addendum.]

More from Liz…

I just went to school to learn this new therapy—mirror revisioning, based on that Phantom Pain; but it’s the Phantom Pain of losing someone.

A case study ~ from trauma to drugs to healing
Liz shares with us how she helped one of her clients deal with a very traumatic event.

I had a guy—when he was 16, [who] had an unfortunate series of events. He’s 50 years old. He feels like he was responsible for a woman’s death. He and a bunch of kids moved construction barriers and a woman got killed.

He’s used [drugs] over it.

He remembers the ambulance coming.

The mirror, the original picture and the guided meditation
I used a big mirror. He drew a picture of what he remembered, so he gets that in his head. We put that picture away. Then Liz walked him through a guided meditation—a powerful therapy technique that Liz uses—with the woman sitting with him and talking with him. [There was only] positive talk from her to him, from both of them, with the mirror beside him.

The new picture
[Then] he draws a picture with a different ending. And he sees the new picture reflected in the mirror.

This guided meditation takes horrific memories from the filing cabinet [of his mind—the hidden part] to the frontal mind, and [you] have a [new and] different picture in your mind. It’s gone from your hand [which drew the new picture] to your mind. It’s reconnecting that childhood ego, [and] reintegrating that adult ego who is now 50.

I can teach you, little kid, that you can’t continue to feel that guilt and shame. I’ve given you a new image to see. It trains the brain to create a new ending to the story. Liz’s client, who had suffered for nearly 35 years, experienced “almost immediate relief.”

Using guided meditation for post-abortion and infant death healing
Guided meditation, also called guided imagery, uses a combination of sights, smells and sounds (like voices and music) to create powerful images and sensations that heal us at a very deep level.

Liz uses guided meditation to help clients heal from the trauma of abortion. I have them draw a picture of them with the baby and put baby lotion on to smell, [and] to feel the baby blanket [with their hands].

One woman’s grandchild died at two months old, and she never saw him. He got very sick. I had the grandmother feel the weight of the baby in her arms. Liz shares about the power of guided meditation, that guides the heart.

How guided meditation works
How does guided meditation guide the heart? I’ve experienced it and it really works. But how? Let’s think about it.

Choose a very happy memory—whether it’s a holiday, a vacation, a place, a meal. Think about the sights, smells and sounds that go with that memory. If I were to recreate the sounds and the smells from that memory and asked you to close your eyes, your mind would easily and freely be able to take you there.

Close your eyes, and remember that memory—vividly.

Hearing, smelling and seeing
Sounds and smells make strong impressions on us about where we are and what’s happening. They leave imprints on us.

Guided meditation uses smells and sounds to take our minds to another location or time so we can see/experience something in particular—something needed for our healing. The expert who is guiding the meditation asks you to close your eyes and then speaks gently to draw a picture—with words—to tell you where you are and what’s happening. Your mind travels there freely, convinced by the things you’re smelling and the sounds you’re hearing (which can include music, background voices, water, etc.). This experience grabs your imagination and is filled with both impressions and emotions.

After the powerful experience of a guided meditation, you’ll solidify in your mind what just happened as you describe what you envisioned and felt.

Compare and contrast
Abuse and neglect use lies and evil to guide the mind and heart—to crush the spirit. Guided meditation uses familiar or new pictures to guide the mind and heart—for healing and renewal.

For many of us, the issue that haunts us has to do with forgiveness. I can’t change what I did or what I failed to do. I can’t go back and get a do-over. But I can look at things differently. I can explore the loss/trauma with the eternal perspective in mind.

In my experience, the nagging questions are about forgiveness. Am I forgiven? Can or will God forgive me? How can I forgive myself?

I can tell you—with confidence and from my own experiences—that guided meditation can play a powerful role in receiving forgiveness from God and in choosing to truly forgive yourself for something that’s plagued you for decades.

Forgiveness brings freedom.

Freedom from the past. Freedom from the regrets. Freedom from the accusations. Freedom from the condemnation. Freedom from the self-destruction. I’ve experienced this freedom myself as a pivotal part of The Healing Journey. We’ll cover this issue more in future posts.

Solo or group
Does guided meditation have to take place in a private counseling session to be effective? No. My experiences with guided meditation were all in group settings. When I closed my eyes, heard the sounds and smelled the scents, I no longer perceived the other people in the room. It was just me and the experience.

Life-changing…. TBTG! (Thanks Be To God!)

Coming next: Next time on Choosing Peace, you’ll read about Big T and Little T, onions and showers, and much more….

Healing through truth and music
Peaceful Readers, I’ve found great healing in my life through the beauty and truth of God’s word and through music. I hope the truths and songs that I share at the end of each post will bless you too.

Truth from The Word: This beautiful parable, told by Jesus, gives us a picture of God the Father and his love for us: Luke 15:11-32.

Song for Healing: Watch the parable you just read in this music video of a powerful song by Crowder: “Lift Your Head Weary Sinner (Chains).”

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