Healing through safe contact

The idea behind this blog was to make a journey with others on the path to reintegrating our selves and becoming whole again.  That idea has not been realized, but the writing has been helpful to me which is worth something.  Recently I’ve had the privilege of working with dogs.  I started as a volunteer with a rescue organization and am currently working with our first foster dog.  He hasn’t been much work in many ways, and the characteristics of Weimaraners make them excellent therapy dogs for disintegrated, traumatized individuals like me.  The breed characteristics include a need for regular exercise, and being “family” dogs.  Weimaraners want to be near their people, and for trauma survivors this is an endearing trait.  Each of my siblings and I exhibit evidence of trauma and unsafe contact.  In my case, it’s a tendency to automatically flinch when people touch me when I’m not expecting it, even people I love and trust.  Working with our three dogs has helped me to start healing in that area of my life.  Some of the happiest moments I’ve had during a very stressful period in my life have been when I’m walking with, playing with, or laying in a snuggley pile with our dogs.  Weimaraners lay their heads on your lap, or your feet, seek out the touch of your hand, and in general provide unconditional love that is difficult to describe but unmistakable.  It may be that a different breed of dog, or a different animal altogether, will work better for someone else, so it’s worth checking out some dog shows, or visiting a shelter to see what animal feels safest to you.  Physical contact, safe physical contact, has started to heal some of the nervous system damage that has plagued me most of my life.  As is often the case, they give so much in return for so little.  Something to think about, perhaps a tool that can work for others besides just myself.  Safe contact is healing, and it reinforces multiple positive coping skills.  May each of us be at peace, may we be filled with loving presence, may the wounds of our trauma(s) be healed.  Namaste’.

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~ by janetlandis on May 12, 2010.

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