12 thoughts on “Mindfulness and Trauma: An Interview with John Briere, Ph.D.

  • March 12, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    I appreciate the elegant answer to the question about the clinician’s mindful approach.It helps to be reminded that mindfulness starts with ourselves long before we “use” it as a treatment technique. How else can we listen carefully, openly, and non-judgementally enough to our client’s fear to know when they are becoming overwhelmed?

    • October 5, 2012 at 1:18 am

      Dear Elaine:I believe we share the same understanding. Thanks for posting.j

  • March 13, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Hi Dr. Goldstein, thank you for this article. Being a trama survivor and finally coming to terms with multiple tramas, I understand what Dr. Briere has said concerning an unfortunate aspect of psychological trama: “in order to move out of pain, we have to sit with pain, even if we may prefer the seeming protection of deadened emotions and reduced awareness.” “Sitting with the pain” and processing trama has led to reawakened emotions and a much richer emotional life. Acceptance of the trama has led me to live more honestly and with much more awareness. Now if only being with the pain wasn’t so painful. Hopefully it won’t always be this way.

    Thanks again for all your inspiring articles.

    • October 5, 2012 at 1:24 am

      Dear Anonymous:I have much appreciated your comment since you posted it. I hope that things work out for you … you seem to be wise and brave. I hope things are becoming less painful over time. Very best wishes, John

  • March 16, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    As a mindfulness psychotherapist, I work with many forms of trauma related to violent experiences that the client was and remains unable to process. Mindfulness is one of the most effective approaches available because it supports the process of desensitization and de-conditioning as discussed. But more than that, mindfulness generates an inner space of awareness, a therapeutic space that allows traumatic emotional energy to become malleable – emotional plasticity – and given the freedom to change emotions will change, transform and resolve. The problem is in our resistance and secondary reactivity to our inner trauma, not the trauma itself.

  • January 22, 2011 at 11:19 am

    In my career as a psychotherapist, I specialized in trauma recovery work (though I was not a trauma survivor as my entry to the profession). I practiced mindfulness meditation, and taught mindfulness meditation to hundreds of clients. After several years into retirement, I was raped recently, and now am diagnosed with PTSD. My deepest gratitude to Dr. Briere for his work, that informed my own and helps me now. With my training preceding my own overwhelming experience, I am, ironically, simultaneously plagued and blessed with awareness of the nuances of PTSD. Ongoing mindfulness practice along with the help of a compassionate and skilled clinician are seeing me through.

  • April 2, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    I trained as a psychotherapist and episcopal priest over 30 years ago, in response to multiple trauma experiences both as a child and an adult. I stumbled onto mindfulness training soon after witnessing the death of a friend in an accident.

    My comment is in response to Dr. Briere’s regarding therapy close to the time of trauma. Without much direction, I plunged into meditation, sometimes devoting the better part of a day in silence. In retrospect, this was not the healthiest response. Meditation can sometimes become an avoidance mechanism, and at the early stages I think should be balanced with healthy interaction, and activity that moves us through pain, at least for a short period of time.

    I have discovered over the years that my PTSD takes on new forms, even as I feel I’ve recovered from one aspect. I have been disabled for the better part of a year, and now have accepted a new position. I am once again surprised by the extent my symptoms have expressed themselves, as I prepare for this new experience. I look forward to exploring more of Dr. Briere’s work in the coming weeks, as once again balance recovery and working life.

  • July 26, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    A thank you to Elisa and John for sharing information. I am a survivor of complex PTSD. Mindfulness meditation is my peaceful lake, refreshing stream, and a homecooked meal. Facing trauma, any type, is an exercise of a stenuous mountain climb. Thanks to all the guides who walk along with us on this path. My life’s work is one moment at a time, one foot in front of the other, with many helping hands.

  • May 16, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    As a survivor of childhood trauma, I found learning mindfulness and having a regular meditation practice transformative. Being able to sit with an emotion without judgment…and know that it would eventually pass and not kill me…was a huge step in healing. Jack Kornfield’s CDs are wonderful and a great place to start. And John Briere is the bomb!

  • June 30, 2016 at 1:49 am

    Are the symptoms for Trauma similar to Chronic fatigue syndrome stress anxiety depression can these cause Trauma and then into chronic fatigue

  • January 7, 2018 at 10:19 pm

    I think that having the past experience with doctors of your kind have scared me of never trusting any of you. For many,many year’s they had me on just about every antidepressant out there with no help!! I finally had the good sense to leave their practice!! And I don’t or can’t believe that is with that kind of evil in them!! GOD wouldn’t let that happen. However I do agree with you on being raised as innocent child dealing with severe trauma. Physical, Sexual and Mental abuse. That could make an innocent child turn into an abuser even to the extreme of becoming the next serial killer!!!

  • August 21, 2018 at 4:12 am

    This is not my 1st rodeo. However, more cunning, hurtful and debilitating. No help in sight. Asking for help is a death sentence. Accepting help is a punishment. No way out.


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