ACEs and C-PTSD Series: Lessons in Healing - From Trauma to Triumph
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Teri has utilized several resources along her healing journey. More information on trauma, recovery, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), trauma-informed care (TIC), and healing can be found here:
ACEs is the acronym for adverse childhood experiences. ACEs Too High defines ACEs as, “ACEs are adverse childhood experiences that harm children’s developing brains and lead to changing how they respond to stress and damaging their immune systems so profoundly that the effects show up decades later. ACEs cause much of our burden of chronic disease, most mental illness, and are at the root of most violence.” More information can be found at: https://acestoohigh.com/aces-101/
According to the American Psychological Association, trauma is defined as, “Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Longer term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea. While these feelings are normal, some people have difficulty moving on with their lives. Psychologists can help these individuals find constructive ways of managing their emotions.” More information can be found at: http://www.apa.org/topics/trauma/
An important distinction in defining trauma is beautifully defined as, “Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and isolated can be traumatic, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm. It’s not the objective facts that determine whether an event is traumatic, but your subjective emotional experience of the event. The more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized.” More information can be found at: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/ptsd-trauma/coping-with-emotional-and-psychological-trauma.htm
As defined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, ”According to SAMHSA’s concept of a trauma-informed approach, ‘A program, organization, or system that is trauma-informed:
- Realizes the widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths for recovery;
- Recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others involved with the system;
- Responds fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices; and
- Seeks to actively resist re-traumatization.
A trauma-informed approach can be implemented in any type of service setting or organization and is distinct from trauma-specific interventions or treatments that are designed specifically to address the consequences of trauma and to facilitate healing.” More information can be found at: https://www.samhsa.gov/nctic/trauma-interventions
Healing is defined in its simplest terms as a restoration of health or balance. Healing can include physical, emotional, psychological, mental, and spiritual. Our bodies can become stuck in the fight/flight/freeze response after experiencing a traumatic incident and/or toxic stress. This can result in wide range of unhealthy symptoms, such as panic attacks, flashbacks, dissociation, anxiety, sleeping disorders, and more. See the National Center for Biotechnology Information trauma-informed care site for more information at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK207191/
Healing is a journey involving:
- learning to create healthy habits
- structuring a coping skills toolbox filled with easily accessible resources (for example: yoga, nature hikes, breathing strategies, meditation, and more)
- instilling positivity and hope-filled affirmations into a daily practice
- seeking out professional help, as needed, for guidance
- utilizing non-judgmental observations and gentle reminders for re-centering
- learning to disarm the physiological response(s)
- looking for beauty
- living a life of gratitude
- learning to forgive
- connecting with others through sharing your story
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a therapy modality originally utilized to treat the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Therapy involves eye movement or other bilateral stimulation to help trauma survivors process memories and experiences. More information can be found at the EMDR Institute at: http://www.emdr.com/what-is-emdr/
Teri Wellbrock is a writer; motivational speaker; host and producer of The Healing Place Podcast; a registered Pet Partners therapy dog handler of her Labradoodle, Sammie; and founder/director of the volunteer organization, Sammie’s Bundles of Hope, benefiting children with trauma history. Known as the “glitter shitter,” Teri radiates a contagious energy of joyousness and hope.
Teri grew up in a volatile home, filled with sprinklings of love and affection. She was the oldest of two girls, having a three-year head start on her sister. Teri carried dark secrets within the confines of her soul long into her adult years. Her struggles with the symptoms of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) would come to a head in 2013, after a 25 year battle with severe panic attacks. It was then, she would seek help in the form of EMDR therapy. Within the confines of that safe space, she would dump the contents of her compartmentalized traumas into a heap of unprocessed memories. Sifting through that pile, trauma by trauma, with the help of her therapist, she set out on a life-altering healing journey.
It was on this healing journey, when Teri also began to develop her own self-care regimen, including, but not limited to: yoga, meditation, nature walks, continued mindfulness training, journaling, prayer, positive affirmations, grounding exercises, tapping, and connecting with others through the miracle of hope. She is excited to share her journey with others, in the hopes of offering a hand to hold as those first steps toward healing are taken.
Teri graduated magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She utilized this degree while working with children in school and mental health agency settings.
Teri is the owner of InvizaShield, handling the accounting, marketing and IT functions of her business. Having built this business from the ground up, she has learned the importance of strong marketing efforts, utilizing social media in growing the company’s following and name recognition. Applying self-taught skills, she built the company website and various social media outlets. She has worked diligently to increase the sales of her company, reaching a new sales record every year since starting the company in 2005.
She is also the founder of the Sammie’s Bundles of Hope project: an effort close to her heart as she and her team collect donated “trinkets of hope,” or coping objects and manipulatives such as stress balls, calming rocks, Zen coloring books, markers, journals, PlayDoh, and more. She and her team fill drawstring bags with these items, then deliver them free of charge to children with trauma history. She and her daughter, Madison, wrote and illustrated a children’s book, about Sammie, with the sole purpose of donating signed copies of the books to the Sammie’s Bundles of Hope project. She and Sammie, as a registered therapy dog team through the Pet Partners program, visit local schools, support groups, troops, agencies, and shelters, providing book readings, educating children on the writing and self-publishing process, discussing therapy dog training, and allowing the children an opportunity to meet-n-greet with Sammie Doodle.
Teri produces and hosts The Healing Place Podcast, available on iTunes. She has had the pleasure of interviewing an eclectic and inspiring mix of guests, including a Louise Hay inspired Heal Your Life Coach, a trauma therapist from Vancouver, and more. Though guests span a wide range of industries and expertise, the common thread is a desire to help others find healing and happiness.
As a mom of three beautiful children, ages 25, 23 and 12, Teri lives with her partner, and their daughter, in a quiet suburb outside of Cincinnati. They spend their summers entertaining friends and family at poolside dive-in movie parties in their idyllic backyard - with guests vying for a favored spot in the tiki hut. Teri enjoys hiking at The Cincinnati Nature Center, hosting a Euchre Club, volunteering at school functions, and having deep, laughter-filled conversations with her beautiful collection of friends and loved ones.