Health and Wellness

Healing From Within

Sheryl Glick


Welcome to Healing “From Within.” I am your host Sheryl Glick author of The Living Spirit: Answers for Healing and Infinite Love which shares stories of spiritual awakening, spiritual communication, healing energies, miracles and soul rediscovery and today we welcome Kate O’Connell author of Beyond the Imprint. Dr. O’Connell is a child and family therapist who is dedicated to offering a variety of efficacy based somatic modalities to facilitate mental emotional and physical healing at the cellular level.
Kate thinks back to her challenging childhood and remembers her mother who was ill when she was only three years old and spent her time helping her mother managing her life threatening illness. She tells us how her family described when she was only two, Kate spoke her first word and that word was, “Alleluia”. In Kate’s case, her first word seemed divinely inspired; She spoke it to an ‘Audience of One’. And that audience was her mother. And no one believed her. Kate also tells us that at 12 she was diagnosed with an auto-immune illness and after reacting badly to prescribed medication and treatment ventured into studying traditional or alternative healing methods.
In her book Beyond the Imprint Kate describes the basic Taoist principle of the “Uncarved Block” which embodies the understanding that people and things in their original simplicity contain their own natural power; power that becomes diminished when that simplicity is changed; power that becomes diminished when the block is carved by some outside force and does not remain in alignment to its true nature. In Kate’s case, she came to understand that one of the first significant carvings which began to change her shape was in response to the first word I spoke. And because my first word was not ‘bike’ or ‘car’ or ‘ball’, my shape took on the carving: “That can’t be true because she’s not that special.” It’s entirely possible that this initial carving was predestined and consistent with karmic imprinting when you consider that the family of origin through which Kate incarnated in this lifetime was not a family of Taoists living in a remote region of China, but rather, Irish Catholics living in the suburbs of Toronto.
In 1986 at the age of twenty-five, Kate began to explore holistic and alternative methods of healing which subsequently led to my studying and training with a number of different teachers and healers operating from within a variety of different spiritual and metaphysical frameworks. In 1997, Kate co-founded a spiritual retreat center in the Adirondacks with a Cherokee medicine woman and shaman where clients came from across the country to experience the sacred healing ceremonies of Sweat Lodge, Vision Quest and Soul Retrieval. During this time she developed the ability to assess and work with people on an energetic level.
However, she also recognized that only a very small percentage of the population chose to access alternative healing modalities such as these because of cultural conditioning within Western medicine and its singular focus on the scientific model of evidence based practices. She began to understand that in order to be truly effective as a ‘healing agent’ practicing within the western world; it was important for her to become proficient in western models of assessment and care.
Most importantly, her experience as a mental health clinician over the past several years continues to reveal inherent pathologies within the very systems that have been put in place to intervene on behalf of individuals and their family members who are struggling to achieve mental and emotional stability. In other words, she couldn’t help but notice how consistently the inherent pathologies of the agencies reflect the pathologies of the clients they serve.
Sheryl feels as does Kate that healing is based on a multidimensional basis for mind body and spirit and tending only to the symptoms does not remove the underlying cellular and emotional blocks that lead to the physical symptoms and dysfunction. This observation has led Kate to focus more intently on the quality of the therapeutic relationship since the agencies I’m referring to are comprised of therapists, counselors and social workers. It seems logical to consider that if the larger organism is ill; then we would want to direct our attention to the cells that make up that organism.
The central themes of Beyond the Imprint and BTI Therapy is an attempt to focus such attention and identify how critical it is for mental health practitioners to be involved at all times in an ongoing, exhaustive, self-assessment regarding unconscious perceptions, beliefs, behavioral and relationship patterns. To not be so involved, severely limits the practitioner’s ability to facilitate a healing experience for the client.
Beyond the Imprint (BTI) is Kate’s attempt at creating a modality for mental health practitioners and those seeking their help to identify and address what it is that informs all of our beliefs, perceptions and subsequent behaviors which we unconsciously rely on every day in an attempt to get our emotional and physical needs met. Kate believes that our dysfunctional relationship patterns with self and others stem from our imprinting at the molecular level that each and every one of us carries in our physical bodies as cellular memory. This memory has been recorded through the respective DNA of our maternal and paternal lineages that we’ve inherited as well as from everything we’ve ever experienced in our environments beginning at the moment of conception.
Because minds ‘think’ and bodies ‘feel’, I refer to the mind as a CPU processor with a finite cache of memory that creates the stories we form around these experiences. Rarely, if ever, are these stories accurate. Instead, they end up being our greatest defense mechanism by ensuring that we never truly connect to the feelings we carry at the molecular level as memory in response to our experiences.
So if we go to our therapist and engage in talk therapy sessions every week in which we tell the same stories over and over; those cellular imprints will actually end up being reinforced, usually within the framework of a victim/perpetrator dynamic. We think we feel better because we just vented all of our frustrations regarding someone or something that we believe is responsible for us not getting our needs met. However, in this scenario, no lasting changes will occur because nothing internal has shifted. As long as our focus is primarily directed outside of us in order to identify what needs to change, nothing will. Change comes from within an individual and must be their personal choice.
To understand more about THE IMPRINT Kate has listed these thoughts.
1. All of our thoughts, beliefs, perceptions, behaviors and relationship patterns have been shaped and determined by our respective DNA lineages and all of our experiences beginning at conception in the form of cellular memory referred to as ‘imprinting’.
2. Prenatal, perinatal and childhood experiences which should include appropriate environmental stimulus and responsiveness to our needs not only prevents distress, but also ensures that the limbic brain which receives and processes sensations, feelings and emotions ‘imprints’ these experiences as cellular memory in the body, validating our right to exist.
3. If these experiences are less nurturing and more painful, our limbic system begins to ‘imprint’ these experiences on the cellular level as distorted expressions of love.
4. This sets us up to recreate these experiences in a cyclical fashion throughout life, informing chronic dysfunctional relationship patterns in an unconscious attempt to get our physical and emotional needs met.
5. Our DNA may be the blueprint of life, but it turns out that our environment is what influences our genetic functioning, including our thoughts, feelings and beliefs in response to our experiences.
6. How we develop in utero in response to our mother’s stress levels, the degree of trauma we experience at birth, how securely we are able to attach to our primary caregivers and how nurturing our childhood environments are, appear to be the most important factors influencing development and future generations
Simply put, all of our thoughts, beliefs, perceptions, behaviors and relationship patterns are being determined by our DNA lineages, our experiences beginning at the perinatal stage and continuing throughout childhood, adolescence and adulthood. What was modeled for us and projected onto us that we accepted as being true about ourselves, including our environment and those we were in relationship with, also shaped our perceptions and subsequent beliefs. The key to climbing out from underneath all of this is to begin to become aware of this unconscious imprinting that has shaped and determined our limiting perceptions and beliefs. Once we become aware, we can begin to participate more consciously in our experiences and learn how to change our response to whatever is happening. In doing so, we ultimately change our experience. and subsequent beliefs.
Understanding the role of Epileptics helps us to let go of imprinted trauma and false ideas that still control our responses. Epigenetics is the science that identifies that our genes are constantly being modified in response to our life experiences and emphasizes that our perceptions of what it is we’re experiencing is what shapes our biology and ultimately determines what we experience.
Beginning to work consciously with the understanding of Epigenetics and cellular memory helps move us beyond the unending cycles of violence and victimology. We can begin to take a closer look at our defense mechanisms and behavioral patterns and tease apart exactly what it is that we are holding onto that is no longer relevant or appropriate to hold onto given the identification that we are choosing to have a different experience. The genome has long been known as the blueprint of life, but the epigenome can be thought of as an “Etch a Sketch” in which it is possible to wipe away the memory.
It is also important to note the following conditions:
1. Our DNA and subsequent perceptions, beliefs, behaviors and relationship patterns are being determined and influenced by our environment and the individuals who inhabit it.
2. Our memories are encoded in the fifty trillion cells of our body, including everything that we’ve ever experienced and all of the memories from our respective maternal and paternal lineages.
3. It is important to become aware of our unconscious imprinting that has shaped and determined our perceptions of self and others so that we may participate more consciously in our experience.
4. By changing our response to what is happening outside of us; we ultimately change our experience which, in turn, changes our biology and behavioral patterns; moving us beyond the unending cycles of violence and victimology.
Healing requires that we overcome whatever obstacles have prevented us from achieving mental, emotional and physical balance. Understanding all of the ways in which we’ve been diminished by outside forces that left an indelible mark or ‘carving’ on us at the cellular level is the key to dissolving those imprints so that we may reclaim our original simplicity and natural power.
Trauma plays an important part in the imprinting process. Prior to becoming a therapist, I believed as the majority of people still do, that trauma and subsequent PTSD are experienced by only a small portion of the population and limited primarily to combat soldiers and first responders such as firefighters, police and EMT’s; as well as residents of war-torn countries and victims of catastrophic events. Having now worked in the field of mental health counseling for eleven years in which the first five were spent facilitating intensive in home services for children and families considered at risk. Kate now understands that trauma affects everyone, including herself.
Experts within the field of trauma have identified that there are essentially two ways in which an individual can experience trauma.
1. Shock trauma occurs in response to a specific event such as an accident, catastrophic event, serious illness, surgery or the sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one.
2. Developmental trauma, on the other hand, is experienced through chronic emotional, psychological, physical or sexual abuse and/or extreme poverty throughout childhood; spanning critical stages of development.
As of 1997, statistics indicated that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men in the U.S. had been sexually abused before the age of eighteen and that between 75 and 100 million Americans had experienced childhood sexual and/or physical abuse.
Sheryl says to Kate that many former guests psychologists energy healers have discussed in many shows the severity and commonality of these issues and abuses to children Many people seek to deny or cover up these issues…Look at what is finally being revealed in Hollywood with our politicians and in religious institutions and colleges. Parents educators and medical personnel have to strenuously address these issues and laws must protect the innocent and the vulnerable. People do not often choose to look at these problems due to fear and a feeling that it is not very prevalent. One day Sheryl met a woman who started to talk and soon revealed that she was sexually abused by her father for years and sent to his friend, a psychologist who tried to smooth it over and cover it up. These events and actions are more rampant than society chooses to acknowledge. Changes in how we raise awareness and hold people accountable is in order now.
Trauma changes you forever and results in a wide variety of symptoms including, but not limited to; flashbacks, inability to focus, panic attacks, insomnia, depression, anxiety, short attention spans, destructive behaviors and rage. Most, if not all, expressions of mental illness and emotional instability have trauma as an antecedent unresolved trauma can lead to a lifetime of victimology and dysfunctional behavioral/relationship patterns. The individual becomes guarded, employing a multitude of defense mechanisms to ensure that they don’t feel the pain that would be associated with the original trauma(s). In addition, there is an unconscious attempt to revisit the original trauma(s) in order to resolve what had become deeply encoded in the physical body. This often results in the individual cycling through patterns of trauma throughout their entire lifetime such as accidents and injuries, all of which typically occur within the context of high drama. Adrenals which were activated as part of the nervous system becoming “charged” at the time of the original trauma(s) end up being chronically activated as part of this cyclical phenomenon. After a while, the experience becomes normalized as a way of being and we now have an entire population suffering from adrenal fatigue as a result of being addicted to the cyclical pattern which results in a myriad of chemicals and hormones being secreted throughout the brain and the body. Most, if not all, of my clients who come to see me are initially encouraged to start taking liquid adrenal support as part of their recovery process.
Because trauma is physiological, the healing of trauma is a process that can only be accessed by developing more conscious, ‘body-centered’, awareness. There is no need to participate in years of therapy or dredge up deeply suppressed memories. Creating an identity as ‘victim’ or ‘survivor’ around the abuse/trauma through membership in support groups or as a perpetual therapy client interferes with one’s ability to recover because reliving the emotional pain by telling your story over and over again is re-traumatizing and serves no purpose other than to reinforce the original trauma imprinting. Pharmaceuticals further compound the problem by suppressing feelings and sensations while interfering with the body’s innate wisdom to heal. Because our cultural conditioning devalues emotional vulnerability and places an emphasis on the importance of the mind and our ability to endure difficult experiences; we, as a collective, have become extremely disconnected from our physical and instinctual selves. In order to heal from trauma we must reconnect to this aspect of ourselves.
Energy Medicine plays an important role in BIT therapy.
Somatic centered modalities have proven to be the most effective treatments to release trauma from the physical body. Fluid-Dynamic Cranial Sacral Therapy, EMDR, Somatic Emotional Release Therapy (SERT), Rolfing, Acupuncture, Reiki, Massage, Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Floating (Sensory Deprivation Tanks) are all modalities that I have experienced and continue to use in my ongoing recovery from trauma and my journey towards increased integration and wholeness.
Trauma imprinting limits our ability to fully engage in life and changes us forever in ways we can never fully comprehend. It interferes with our ability to be intimate with our self and others because from the moment we are traumatized we carry the deep instinctual imprint that we are not safe. Everything we do and all of our beliefs are determined by the fear that is ‘flash-frozen’ and encoded in the trillions of cells of our body. Well-honed, sophisticated, defense mechanisms, including alcohol, recreational drugs and pharmaceuticals, ensure that we will never fully feel the sensations that come from being in a physical body. We may go through life guarded and distrustful of our environment, and the people who inhabit it, including the individuals we are in closest relationship with. We carry shame, guilt and regrets buried deeply within our psyches; believing that we are unworthy of love and acceptance. Recovering from trauma through a gentle, heart-centered, body-focused awareness and approach can be extremely transformative; making it one of the most significant experiences one could ever have in achieving a physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual awakening.
The primary message that this book delivers to other therapists and practitioners is that Alternative healing in conjunction with allopathic medicine and respecting the past and incorporating all ways forward, are better than limiting yourself to one interpretation, treatment, or way to look at yourself or the world…Open mindedness. Asking for Help, Relying more on Universal Laws of Energy, and following cooperative methods while not buying into an intense, competitive, materialist way of life leads to soul growth peace harmony balance and health in mind, body and spirit.
Sheryl writes in her book The Living Spirit, “In ancient societies, people found ways to connect to the deep healing resources of the earth by grounding and drawing up energetically all the essential life force minerals, nutrients and water content—all necessary components for our physical and emotional well being. These societies followed spiritual practices to attain higher consciousness for combining the energy of the planet and the Universe for sustaining a physical life. Ancient cultures also used all forms of beautification of the physical body: elevated consciousness for exercise meditation, art, theatre, dance and vibrational music. In other words, speaking to the soul through beauty and creativity, instead of the mundane, were ordinary practices for survival. In addition to these methods, one can become aware of his or her personal energy and power through hands-on therapies such as Reiki craniosacral reflexology acupuncture massage deep breathing techniques or yoga. Meditation, prayer, or performing service to others is also instrumental for generating higher awareness.”
Research within the field of PPNP has shown that physical disease expressions and behavioral issues later in life can be traced back to trauma; spanning gestation, birth and early childhood. The baby’s nervous system will become ‘hard-wired’ and create a comfort zone’ around whatever the initial environment offered in the form of stimulus. Greater awareness by parents educators medical personnel is necessary to help prevent serious breaches in the developmental process and also release any negative impressions absorbed by a client seeking help later down the line.
Early childhood trauma, combined with our collective conditioning, has created within us an orientation in which we are constantly looking outside of ourselves in an attempt to get our physical and emotional needs met. I believe that when we have an over-reliance on the other to make us feel better about ourselves; we are attempting to compensate for a time in our life in which our basic needs were not met. Our early formative years are the time in which what we take in as loving and nurturing sets us up emotionally and physically for the rest of our lives. If our brains and bodies were not encoded with the fundamental message that we had the right to exist because our caregivers were unresponsive to our needs; then we will be unconsciously seeking this out within all of our relationships throughout our lifetime.
Having the understanding that our undesirable experiences are largely influenced by these imprints is the first step in dissolving them. Body work such as Somatic Emotional Release Therapy and various modalities within the realm of Energy Medicine such as Cranial Sacral Therapy are extremely effective in assisting one’s healing process at the deepest levels of trauma imprinting.
Attachment is the emotional bond that develops between a child and a primary caregiver and is considered to be the most important aspect of child development beginning at the moment of birth and continuing throughout childhood. The issues resulting from this important human need are consequential to future happiness and health in life. Also….Attachment Theory models continue to identify that 80% of children in the United States are securely attached and yet it is also widely accepted that 90% of adult relationships in the United States are codependent. From my perspective the latter is more consistent with what I have experienced and observed in both my personal and professional life and would indicate to me that children who grow up to form adult co-dependent relationships could not have possibly met the criteria for being securely attached to their caregiver(s) as children.
In addition, current statistics indicate that one in four children in this country between the ages of 13 and 18 have now been identified as suffering from an anxiety disorder. In 1985, half a million children in the United States met the diagnostic criteria for ADHD and today it is estimated that 5 to 7 million children in this country now have this diagnosis. Three and a half million children have met the criteria for a diagnosis of depression and a recent study showed a 600 percent increase in the diagnosis of pediatric bipolar disorder in children under the age of 13 in the last 10 years.
We can come to understand behavior. Three of the most important things to understand about all behaviors; whether they are personal, professional, someone else’s, our own, or being demonstrated by a child or adult:
1. All behaviors make perfect sense when you understand the underlying schemas and imprints that influence them.
2. All behaviors are expressions of the individual unconsciously attempting to get their physical and emotional needs met.
3. Everyone, at any given moment, is showing up and doing their best.
Understanding these three tenets allows us to move beyond the duality of our personal and professional relationships, including our own conditioning and subsequent imprinting. .
It is also a great example of how, far too often, the interventions which are widely endorsed by the institutions within our society are completely incongruent with what we’ve discovered through research and proven to be true regarding human development. As a collective, we have become extremely fearful and distrustful. The perception is that it is far too dangerous to let our children wander beyond our range of vision despite the fact that they are at a much lower risk of being victims of violence compared to children growing up in the 1970s. And since our children are growing up in this environment, they are being strongly imprinted by these distorted and fearful messages.
Humanity is ready for a radical approach to healing on all levels. If during childhood, our primary caregiver became enmeshed with us in an unconscious attempt to get their emotional needs met in ways they were unable to while in relationship with themselves, their friends or significant others; our schemas would have developed around the unconscious belief that we exist for the sole purpose of ensuring the well-being of others. This, in turn, puts into motion all sorts of pre-determined outcomes, including the dysfunctional patterns inherent in our relationships and the need to constantly apologize or explain ourselves because it is understood at a very deep, unconscious level that our right to exist is always conditional on the well-being of others. Understanding the concept of schemas in our view of the world and Self is crucial. Refer to schemas as our mental map or cognitive GPS which we unconsciously use at all times to successfully navigate our external world. Without this map, we would be unable to get out of bed, let alone walk out the front door. All of our unconscious assumptions, perceptions and beliefs about ourselves, our external world and those who inhabit it, are informed by our schemas. They are the interface between the cellular memories of our experiences and the beliefs and subsequent behaviors that stem from those experiences.
In summarizing today’s episode of “Healing From Within” we have come to understand the complexity of behavior health and mental health issues and the need for complete reevaluation of our systems to help citizens by using a multi-dimensional approach to prevention and healing health relational and personal development allowing people to explore, identify, and dissolve imprinting at the cellular level. Such imprinting often has distorted self-identity and informed dysfunctional behavioral and relationship patterns through the course of one’s lifetime. To release negative impressions and patterns is the prerequisite to good mental emotional and physical health.
In understanding healing and the elements of our mind body soul connection Kate wrote, “Heart frequency is the highest frequency that can be expressed in this dimension while in a physical body and gratitude is an aspect of the heart and its profound expression. Being able to maintain a posture of acceptance in response to whatever is unfolding even when it is extremely difficult is the key for healing from our trauma/wound imprinting. Healing does not occur without Gratitude.
Kate and I would have you begin to realize the authenticity of your individualized beginning, even before you arrived into this physical life, and forgive yourself and others for any injustices or behaviors realizing that everything that happens is not random and ultimately leads us to experience a greater opening of our hearts and minds for greater awareness and personal growth and is to be received with love not fear.Today’s Guest