Some Never Come Home; Some Never Move Past

Pinnacle Presbyterian Church, Chapel Library

25150 N Pima Rd

Scottsdale, AZ 85255

Tel. 480-585-9448 x 1

Some Never Come Home; Some Never Move Past

Trapped in horrific memories that refuse to fade. Closed off. Fearful in an endless war with themselves. Unless you’ve been there yourself it’s almost impossible to comprehend the debilitating curse of Post-Traumatic-Stress.

These are the people who fought and sacrificed for us. They were our shield against adversity and the defenders of our beliefs and values. This will be powerful and it will touch you emotionally. Ultimately it is about us all and the way we deal with the world around us. Be prepared …

The program:

September 7  |  7:00 pm – 9:00 pm   |  Chapel Library    

Post-Traumatic-Stress from Perspectives of Science and Faith

Panel Discussion: Dr. Barry Goodfield, Mr. Joe Brett, Rev. Dr. Wesley Avram

September 14  |  7:00 pm – 9:00 pm  |  Chapel Library  

PTSD – The Roots of Despair 

Lecture, video demonstration with group discussion

September 21  |  7:00 pm – 9:00 pm  |  Chapel Library  

PTSD and Our Unconscious Mind

Lecture, video demonstration with group discussion

September 28  |  7:00 pm – 9:00 pm  Chapel Library  

PTSD The Tools to Find The Long Road Home  

Lecture, video demonstration with group discussion

http://www.operationnewoutlook.com http:// www.goodfieldinstitute.com

Farewell to a Fine Lady

In the mid 1980’s some friends who knew both Simone Veil and me said, “You two have to meet each other.” After juggling our schedules I received an invitation to have breakfast with this charming woman at her penthouse apartment in Paris.

She lived in a beautiful suite of rooms with her husband who was President of Air France. I arrived for our eight o’clock breakfast and was greeted warmly. She proceeded to show me around. There were photographs and memorabilia everywhere. All had stories, and she took the time to tell some of them to me.

I was charmed by her style and her stories. She showed me pictures of the time she spent in Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. She was an outspoken feminist, and had become France’s Minister of Health. She was interested in learning about the lectures and workshops I was giving there. We did not have much contact after that but we did enjoy the time we were together. That was clear.

The takeaway for me was a deep appreciation for the power of the human spirit. She was proof positive that no one should ever give in to adversity. I joked with her that she reminded me of one of my heroes. I noticed that Simone took what I said quite seriously. I remember her smiling and looking deeply into my eyes with interest.

She fought for the values in which she believed, and was outspoken regarding human rights and those specifically related to women. That wonderful protracted breakfast of bacon and eggs and good conversation is something I can still feel today.

When I learned she had died, I hadn’t seen Simone for a long time. But it will be an even longer time before I forget that breakfast with the lady who reminded me of Winston Churchill. In death she still casts a large shadow.

Doctor Barry A. Goodfield

Three R’s for a Happier Memorial Day

The warm Arizona sky felt fresh on my skin as Dori and I sped down the empty freeway heading towards the 8 o’clock service at Pinnacle Peak Presbyterian Church. Top down and a seventy mile an hour breeze and the roar of the Morgan’s engine hearkened another beautiful day. By noon the temperature would be in the hundreds (+ 32 Celsius).

Dr. Wes Avram, the Minister gave a brilliant sermon about what we abstract from our life experience, what we remember and how it shapes our lives. He spoke of our veterans and the tormenting memories associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

It is a painful memory, a “gift” that keeps on taking, popping up out of nowhere when least expected. It is a landmine waiting to be triggered and exploded by a smell, sound, or quick movement. Always there — a matter of time waiting to destabilize, waiting to overwhelm a life that had been dedicated to service and to love of country.

Some suggest that such shocks can never be removed. After all, pain and trauma are part of life. Some of us had difficult childhood’s that impacted us in our adult life. We never forget some of those difficulties and obstacles.

For most of us early childhood traumas tint and taint the hues of our daily existence. For most of us they do not control our life they simply impacted our perception of life. When it becomes too much for us we try to talk it out with friends and family. If that is not successful we reach out to trained professionals and religious figures who can help us to understand our past and let it go.

In that sense on Memorial Day, when we say don’t forget to remember, we are ultimately suggesting that we keep in mind the acts and actions we deem as important from times past.

This Memorial Day weekend we focus our attention on those who have served our country and have made sacrifices for our freedom. What we must remember is that those who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress are trapped in that perpetual “Groundhog Day” film where events reoccur and then repeat and repeat it again.

There is a way out and there are thousands of professional men and women dedicated to defeating the cycle of sadness and despair. With years of training and experience this army of helpers strives to make the lives of our veterans better. Of this there is no doubt.

The question is what is the key to just stopping the “Post Traumatic Stress movie” that runs and ruins the lives of our veterans and their families? Here is my answer.

It is the 3Rs Reflection, Reasoning and Re-symbolization.

Reflection: To look back at difficulties and passed dangers provides us with opportunity to gain perspective and a greater understanding of past conflicts.

Reasoning: It’s one thing to look back and quite another to figure out how, why, where and when a trauma occurred. That becomes the basis for deeper understanding on both conscious and unconscious levels

Re-symbolization: Here’s where the magic comes in to play. Any healing process whether it be on a psychological, philosophical, theological or even a psycho­-physiological level must involve re-symbolization. On a psychological level it may be thought of as new insights. On a philosophical level it may mean embracing a more encompassing perspective. On a theological level it is generally thought of as forgiveness.

If you consider this notion of re-symbolization in general it is nothing more than letting go of something that disturbs our human balance. If it is as simple as that why don’t we just let go of those things that disturb us and quickly re-establish homeostasis or balance within our system whenever we need to?

It’s one thing to know that cigarettes aren’t good for you, it’s quite another to quit smoking. It’s one thing to know that a balanced diet is best for us it’s quite another to walk by a bakery or a candy store as if it were not there.

What makes re-symbolization so difficult? The answer is simple — it is our unconscious process. Things that are in our unconscious mind have two qualities.

  • They have a profound impact on the way we perceive events around us. The unconscious colors our perception and often determines our reality.
  • The unconscious is below our level of awareness. It is like the keel on a ship we do not see it but it has a profound impact on the stability of our ship of state — our lives.

If re-symbolization is an essential aspect of rebalancing our system how can we make it work? The answer is simple it is access. We can access the unconscious process through an altered state of consciousness. In other words, find the unique key for that particular trauma for that particular individual. It is as simple as decoding the messages that we send when the right questions are asked. These correct questions elicit responses from the unconscious that reflect the deep feelings that we have around critical issues. This is particularly true when trauma is associated with an issue.

We go to the dentist when we have a toothache to have it fixed. The first question usually relates to the reason for our visit. The answer is simple I feel pain. At that point we simply point our finger to the troubling area. The dentist looks and after explaining his diagnosis offers a treatment plan. It usually boils down to “I will fill or pull it”

The therapeutic process should be just the same. You find somebody qualified whom you can trust. Discuss the psychological pain you feel and what it is doing to you. The therapist like a psychological “safecracker” will access the content of your unconscious and help you to re-symbolize the meaning that you gave it at the first time and place when you experienced the trauma.

It is as complicated and simple as all that — access, insight and a new and more appropriate decision or simply re-symbolization. The message is shown by nonverbal behavior, what we call the NVL or Non-Verbal Leak. The Goodfield Method™ is the key to that precise access.

On Memorial Day we look to those who have made sacrifice and consider those still suffering from the traumas suffered that resulted in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). We must remember to remember and employ the new tools available to help our veterans to find a perspective that operationally lets them forget that which has controlled their lives in so many painful and destructive ways. There is an answer to PTSD and that is a deep insight and clear action.

After the service was over we went to the National Memorial Cemetery of Phoenix and walked among our military looking at the field of flags that flew honoring the lives they lived. The sun was getting hotter as we drove back in a self reflective silence.

Memorial Day was here as it is, every day for veterans. May God bless them all.

Prof. Barry Austin Goodfield, Ph.D., DABFM

This Vet Uses Poetry to Combat PTSD

In a previous post, we mentioned one combat veteran we’ve met who spent several years trying to overcome the emotional wounds that she suffered due to post-traumatic stress. This woman, Cleo DeLoner, has fought back against these wounds by turning them into her art, in the form of free verse. A collection of her works has been published as a book named “Triggerpieces.” Copies are available for sale on amazon.com. Here’s a sample of her work:

I Am PTSD

I have many aliases
Soldier’s Heart
Battle Fatigue
Shell Shock
Broken
I am like no enemy you have ever fought
I control you
I own you
I insert horrific memories in your head at my beck and call
I watch you from a distance
As your eyes stare at nothing
I startle you back to reality
I freeze the most graphic images in your mind
Forcing you to witness the horror over and over again
I fuel your rage
I fuel your hatred
I take you close in my arms
Away from everyone who cares about you
Because I am jealous
When I have you isolated, all to myself
My relentless assault intensifies
My voice is all that you will hear
I will convince you that you are
Worthless
Guilty
A burden
Unloved and
Unlovable
I will bring you to your knees
You will try to crawl your way out of the maze of confusion
Until you collapse face down
All the while I scream at you to end it
I will drive you to a depth of darkness so deep
No amount of light will penetrate
I will envelope you in total and utter unimaginable despair
The emptiness you feel carries a thousand echoes of the suffering that I inflict
You will make futile attempts to silence me
With your pathetic pills
Your bottles of booze
You will believe that I have retreated
But I am still with you
Waiting, watching, patiently
Your staggering drunkenness
Brings you to a state of unconsciousness
You are right where I want you
I now bring you the images in full color
I add the sounds of screams
Hovering over you
I watch as you twitch
Toss, turn
Punch the air
Cling to your blankets
And scream, “No!”
I drench you in cold sweat
Forcing you to awaken sitting straight up
As you gasp for air
You don’t like to talk about me to your loved ones
Why would you want to?
How would you describe me?
Am I just a voice in your head?
Am I the monster who has taken up residence in your mind?
Better to just stay quiet
Keep this affair between us
I have convinced you that they don’t care
That I’m the only one who cares
I’ll never leave you alone
This road that we stumble down together
Is a road I walk with many
I sabotage every relationship they have
Their loved ones retreat
Leaving them lonely
They fought me
They fought hard
In the end they all succumb to me
You will to
You have embraced me without even knowing it
I have you in the corner of darkness
Providing you with an instrument of death
I have encouraged you
Guided you
Defeated you
Now I can sit back
And watch your sad finale
I Am PTSD!

Released to ONO for republication on September 9, 2016

Doctor Goodfield’s Answer to ISIS

I have to confess something. I am not the person who can embrace the wisdom of the Bible, when Matthew says in 5:38-48 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”

As a psychotherapist for more than 40 years, one of the overriding principles I have seen proven repeatedly is this simple truism: when you accept the unacceptable you reinforce it. This principle applies to us all, from cradle-to-grave.

Over the years, I have seen many people try to explain away the insanity of another by saying things like, “They didn’t mean itor “You have to put their behavior in a context.” Some people even go as far as to suggest, “You might do the same thing, if you lived in that situation.”

There are myriad of these remarks.

People rationalize in an attempt to explain away incomprehensible and irrational acts by others. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, I must confess, that I often quoted that great philosopher Willie Nelson when he said, “He ain’t wrong, he’s just different.”

Fuzzy thinking or an even fuzzier philosophy that suggests everything is a matter of perception or perspective misses the mark when we consider certain kinds of behavior.

I cannot imagine ever finding a global perspective that would allow me to forgive or forget anyone who would physically abuse or sexually molested a child. I have no forgiveness for some, whom I read about in the newspaper, that prey upon the weakness of others for their benefit as we saw depicted in the film the Wolf of Wall Street.

There are some things that are just simply wrong and moreover unacceptable! It’s not that they are “just different,” they are wrong.

As a therapist, I’ve been in the terrible situation of having to tell a child that he was going to die soon. Or trying to console a man facing years in prison for a crime, for which I believed he was innocent.

I tried to imagine what I would have said if I had to console Anwar Kasasbeh, the wife of the twenty-six year-old F16 Pilot Ft. Lieutenant Al-Kasasbeh, who was taken hostage in December, 2014 when he crashed in ISIS territory.

Moreover, what do you say to the family of the other hostage, Japan’s Kenji Goto, who was beheaded by ISIS. ISIS has publicly beheaded countless hostages to date. But would anyone doubt these were just the most publicize, and do not reflect the systematic barbarism that occurs daily? There is a fatal disease growing in our world body.

The diagnosis is clear, the prognosis is problematic unless direct action is taken. The question then becomes, how do you stop accepting this unacceptable behavior? Like many things I’ve seen over the years, here is another example of the answer being in the question. Stop accepting unacceptable behavior!

Jihadist threats have been tangible realities since they crawled out of the millennia of biblical times. They surface in shocking headlines too gruesome to be believed by a civilized society.

I am an American, and as such, I do not want to be dragged into a battle between two parts of the Muslim faith warring against each other in a fight that’s been going on for more than a thousand years.

ISIS slickly produced presentations of barbaric acts, worthy of a Hollywood award, does not make their insanity more understandable or rational.

I simply want them to go away and stop this behavior. I would encourage them to meet with those, with whom they have a difference, sit down and discuss those differences. And come to an amicable resolution without violence or irrational action.

I am convinced that this approach to conflict resolution is reasonable, rational, and unrealistic. I have negotiated situations when there where guns on the table or knives in people’s hands. I am not afraid of these situations. In all cases I was able to draw upon some level of rationality and even goodwill, which was often buried very deep.

Unfortunately, I am convinced that no such approach exists in a possible scenario that would stop the violence or end terrorism being inflicted upon us today.

The question is then, what is the answer to this spreading cancer?

I must return to my truism learned over the years, When you accept the unacceptable you reinforce it. I believe that it is time that we take the crisis and turn it into a creative solution.

Let me make myself perfectly clear here. The ISIS organization must be stamped out completely, totally and forever! To be more specific, it is foolhardy to believe that you can negotiate, communicate or do anything other than to capitulate or fight these savages!

Locking them up in mass or using any form of incarceration will only exacerbate the situation. It makes them the targets of those who would rescue them by additional ruthless means.

It must be seen as treating the disease that infects the world body today.

The sooner we understand this and accept this terrible challenge, the fewer lives will be lost. The less those, like Anwar Kasasbeh and her family, will struggle with trying to understand how one human being can behave like that towards another.

Here is what we need to do. A formal declaration of war needs to be stated. In that declaration the civilized countries of this world must, as they did in previous wars, denounce the unacceptable behavior as not befitting civilized people. Moreover, that declaration must follow with specific, decisive and direct actions to remove this blight from the surface of this earth.

What would this plan practically mean? First, there must be a call to action based upon a common acknowledgment of human rights and freedoms. These declarations have been around for centuries. The best example of it is the Constitution of the United States. They exist in the bastions of the capitals of civilized societies.

They don’t need to be dragged out and reread. They exist in the hearts and souls of freedom loving people in every land. They exist in the faces of children as they look to us for safety and solace of a parent’s promise.

ISIS is ultimately the fault of a Western political philosophy and foreign-policy. We fooled ourselves into believing that the Middle East conflict was a “tar baby” that would not stick, and ultimately engulf the West in its age-old struggles.

It’s time to form an international group specialized in removing “carcinogenic cells” led by real leaders such as British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President François Gérard Georges Hollande, King Abdullah II of Jordan to name a very few. Simply put, the American-led coalition needs a genuine leader. American or not, but someone who is not afraid to lead and take the direct action necessary to remove this scourge which threatens to engulf our planet.

Winston Churchill placed a red card upon documents that required immediate attention it simply said, ACTION THIS DAY. If there was ever a time in current history that required such a card and a bold person to place that card in front of the world councils, IT IS NOW!

To Mrs. Kasasbeh, I can only say what the civilized world is thinking today, I am terribly sorry for your loss. I can only hope that those in leadership positions throughout the world will use your terrible loss as a rallying cry for action. If we fail to act now, like any disease unattended, it will spread and kill even more.