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The Upside of Trauma: Gratitude, Positive Emotions, and Post-Traumatic Growth

Despite all the evidence of the detrimental effects of trauma, a growing body of research is looking at the ways it may be a catalyst for personal growth and transformation.

Kim & Bae1 found that a daily gratitude practice created a reduction in the amount of intrusive ruminating thoughts experienced throughout the day. They studied individuals having a recurrence of negative experiences such as nightmares, increased or decreased arousal, decrease in cognitive function, and negative changes in mood following a traumatic event such as a loss of a loved one, cancer, physical violence, and traffic accidents1. Some of the benefits reported were a sense of increased personal strength, change in life view, and improved relationships1.

It is through this lens that trauma can also be seen as an access point for deeper states of self- awareness and the resilience of the human spirit to grow and thrive under all conditions. As understanding evolves in ways this knowledge can be shared, it helps more people gain access to the upside of trauma and embrace a positive mindset for healing, growth, and transformation.

What is Trauma?

Any trauma, whether a single event or over time, is basically a stressor that someone had trouble recovering from.

The accumulated compensations the body has made to deal with that may lead to further deterioration of health over time. The body might become stuck in “fight or flight” mode, impacting the hypothalamus, which plays an important role in regulating homeostasis, sending a constant flood of stress hormones such as cortisol throughout the body2.

Chronic stress from trauma can decrease the diversity of the gut microbiome, thereby contributing to the proliferation of bad bacteria in the gut 3. It can also lead to weakened immunity and increased susceptibility to chronic diseases2. Emotionally the impact may be an increase in anxiety, depression, and less resiliency to stress3.

When the body experiences a traumatic injury, the immune system sends a variety of responders to the area of damage, but it also experiences stress and shock5.

Significant adverse childhood experiences have also been defined as trauma, with long-term impacts on the immune system, aging, and the development of disease3.

Parental stress can become inherited trauma that manifests as as heightened sensitivity or reactivity in their children, where the effects are stronger in their offspring than the stressful effects they experienced3.


BodyTalk as a Catalyst for Post-Traumatic Growth

The BodyTalk System is a holistic breathwork/tapping modality rooted in the naturopathic idea, or principle, that the body has an “innate wisdom” which has the capacity to heal itself4. In a BodyTalk session, the practitioner establishes communication with the body’s innate wisdom to determine the priorities and the specific order they wish to be addressed4. In other words, the treatment protocol, rather than being established by a practitioner, is established by the body’s innate wisdom through a methodical series of listening techniques4. Once the priorities are established there are a series of balancing techniques associated with each priority that are then performed to support the body’s innate wisdom being able to address the underlying imbalances keeping it from doing its job optimally – of keeping track of homeostasis and harmonizing the body’s biorhythms4.

BodyTalk may be effective in helping the body find ways to access its innate wisdom to support unwinding the patterns of trauma and support strengthening the body’s ability to address the underlying stressors associated with the trauma on all levels: physical, energetic, emotional, mental, and environmental.



Trauma & Intuition —  BodyTalk Group Online Sessions with Shelley Poovey, AdvCBP, PaRama BP, owner BodyAttune 
November 1-3 12pm EST
Individual session $75. Entire three-session series $150

In partnership with the International BodyTalk Association, this three-session series highlights the positive aspects of trauma as a catalyst for self-discovery and inner transformation.
Facilitated by Shelley Poovey, Advanced Certified BodyTalk Practitioner. In partnership with the International BodyTalk Association

Each guided bodytalk session runs between 20-40 minutes. You do not have to be live to attend, a recording will be provided. 

Sign up here by visiting the the International BodyTalk Association website.




  1. Kim, E., & Bae, S. (2019). Gratitude Moderates the Mediating Effect of Deliberate Rumination on the Relationship Between Intrusive Rumination and Post-traumatic Growth. Frontiers in psychology, 10, 2665.
  2. Moore, J. (2021, February 4). Long term effects of trauma on your immune response. Dr. Jaban, D.C. Retrieved March 3, 2022, from effects-of-trauma-on-your-immune-response
  3. Nakazawa, D. J. (2016). Childhood disrupted: How your biography becomes your biology, and how you can heal. Atria Paperback.
  4. Søren Ventegodt, M. D., John Veltheim, D. C., BAc, C. B. I., SrCBI, C. B. I., & Joav Merrick, M. D. (2011). BodyTalk: Health care redefined. Journal of Alternative Medicine Research, 3(3), 241.
  5. Stoecklein, V. M., Osuka, A., & Lederer, J. A. (2012). Trauma equals danger–damage control by the immune system. Journal of leukocyte biology, 92(3), 539–551.