In a gentle way you can shake your world (2016) — Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) 5-session group series

In a gentle way, you can shake the world. – Gandhi

In a Gentle Way You Can Shake Your World (2016)

Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE)

A five-session group series

Flowering Seed Studio
4001 Birch St, Unit A
Newport Beach, California 92660

 Saturdays, 9:30a – 11:30a

  • February 6
  • February 13
  • February 20


  • March 5
  • March 12

Early Registration by Wednesday February 3: $100.00 for 5 session series

After February 3 (contact us for space availability): $125 for 5 session series

If you wish to attend, but are experiencing financial hardship,  please contact us.

Questions? Email:, or call: (949)891.2005.

*Please note: Attendance at the first session is required for participation in this series. Attendance at all sessions is strongly encouraged in order to receive maximum benefit.


Description: There is no prerequisite for participation in this series. It is intended for both first-timers and those already experienced with TRE.

Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) is an easy to learn body-centered method created by Dr. David Berceli. Successfully used in many different countries and conflict zones, it is a simple technique that helps release stress or tension from the body that accumulates from every day circumstances of life, difficult situations, immediate or prolonged stressful situations, or traumatic life experiences (e.g., natural disasters, social or domestic violence, PTSD). Symptoms of unresolved trauma or chronic stress may include difficulties such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, body pain or trouble concentrating.

TRE consists of six simple exercises that help individuals release tension from the muscles, which in turn relaxes the anxiety of our minds, by evoking a muscular shaking process in the body. The exercises elicit this shaking in a controlled and sustained manner. When evoked in this way, this shaking, also called “self-induced therapeutic tremors” or “neurogenic tremors”, begins to release deep chronic muscular tension held within the body.

See also:


  • Please wear soft, flexible clothing that does not restrict breathing or movement.
  • Some of the exercises are done lying on the floor. The workshop room is not carpeted, please bring a mat or blanket to lie on to increase your comfort.
  • Participation in somatic exercises, while safe and effective, could lead to physical or emotional upset. Each participant needs to stay within their own physical and emotional ability.


Barbara English is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist, Certified Bioenergetic Therapist, Certified TRE Provider, and TRE Certification Trainer with over 25 years of experience in psychotherapy. Her training included a strong focus on Early Development and Infant Mental Health. Working from a mind-body perspective, she utilizes relational somatic methods as part of the healing process for those seeking recovery after abuse or trauma. Recognizing that current Western models of recovery are grossly inadequate for addressing the pervasiveness of traumatized societies, locally and globally, she founded Living Ubuntu in 2005 and serves as its volunteer Executive Director. She is a 2009 Carl Wilkens Fellow.

[Ubuntu] n. Every human being truly becomes a human by means of relationships with other human beings. 

…what is important is how the body feels — Intro to TRE Sep 26

…[most] are not aware of the lack of aliveness in their bodies. People are so accustomed to thinking of the body as an instrument or a tool of the mind that they accept its relative deadness as a normal state. …what is important is how the body feels
– Alexander Lowen

Hi everyone,

Next Saturday, September 26, 10a – noon, Living Ubuntu is hosting Intro to TRE – Fundraiser: Trauma Recovery for East African Refugees. Many of you are familiar with this method, created by Dr. David Berceli. For those of you that aren’t, I want to encourage you to come give it a try. (See: What is TRE?)

I first learned Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) from Dr. Berceli back in 2004, and it is not an exaggeration to say it dramatically changed my life and the path I was pursuing. The story is too long for email, so if you want to hear it, we need to meet up for coffee ;)

By now I have had the privilege of teaching thousands of people, and countless times I have heard how it helped them sleep better. The list of additional benefits is long. For those who continue to practice it over time, stories of significant healing and a way of being able to enjoy living differently in their own skin are plentiful. Recently, I even heard a story about how it helped someone’s tennis game :)

I am very passionate about the wish for us all to have more access to compassion and live more embodied, healthy lives, so I could go on and on. Instead, I am just going to issue the invitation again – come give it a try and see how you feel. Continue reading

As Phase 3 ends, it’s time for Phase 4: Continuing in the Community (Trauma Recovery for East African Refugees in San Diego)

The moon stays bright when it doesn’t avoid the night.
– Rumi

Hi everyone,

Have you been tracking recent developments in the region of eastern Africa? Nick Kristof of the New York Times recently offered a remarkable series on his most recent visit to Sudan, one aptly titled, ‘The Worst Atrocity You’ve Never Heard Of’. Prior to that, he was in South Sudan, and wrote, Tales of Horror Should Galvanize Obama.

Given these extremely horrific situations, we are glad to be able to offer trauma recovery for those who live locally.

As Phase 3 nears its end, it is time to start Phase 4: Continuing in the Community (Trauma Recovery for East African Refugees in San Diego). Continue reading

Update #4: Results of PTSD survey of refugees in San Diego

What is the rate of PTSD among refugees in San Diego?

Hi everyone,

Just before 2012 came to an end, we managed to exceed our sample size goal (i.e. our goal was 150, we reached 213) in order to assess the rate of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among refugees in San Diego.  The next step was to analyze the data to see what we could find out, and for that process we owe our thanks to three faculty members at National University — Jan Parker, Brenda Shook, and Charlie Tatum.

It feels painful to me to describe such extreme human suffering in terms of percentages, but with the intention of highlighting just how much the refugees willing to complete our questionnaires have endured, and how many are still suffering currently, it feels important to note below some of the findings.


  • Refugees from Ethiopia, Somalia, Burundi, Congo, Sudan, South Sudan, Rwanda, Eritrea, Uganda, or Kenya
  • Currently living in San Diego area
  • 18 years of age or older

Our sample of 213 refugees included

  • An approximately even gender split (slightly more women vs. men)
  • 75% from Somalia, Sudan, or South Sudan
  • Almost 70% that had lived in a refugee camp

The data revealed

  • 83% have endured traumatic experiences (e.g. forced evacuation, lack of food, water, shelter, access to medical care, violence, kidnapping, etc.)
  • 85% are currently suffering from symptoms of trauma, ranging from mild to severe (e.g. nightmares, physical pain, recurrent thoughts of terrifying events, etc.)

Number of traumatic experiences they indicated having gone through

  • More than 70% survived 3 or more
  • More than 50% survived more than 10
  • Nearly 10% survived more than 30

Top 5 trauma events

  1. Forced evacuation
  2. Lack of food and water
  3. Ill health without medical care
  4. Confiscation or destruction of personal property
  5. Lack of Shelter

Top 5 symptoms of trauma

  1. Recurrent thoughts or memories of the most hurtful or terrifying events
  2. Feeling exhausted
  3. Sudden emotional or physical reaction when reminded of the most hurtful or traumatic events
  4. Feeling that you had less skills than you had before
  5. Bodily pain

✶ ✶ ✶

At some point later this year will release more of the results in full detail.

These preliminary findings re-affirm our determination to continue with all necessary next steps toward Trauma Recovery for Refugees.

For now, our efforts turn to the planning of Phase 2 of this project, creating an experiential, abbreviated trauma recovery program specifically for the leaders in the refugee community. We will once again be focused on those from countries in eastern Africa. We want the leaders to have a firsthand experience of what our future program will be like. We will need their feedback and their endorsement when we are ready to launch the actual program.

With gratitude,

Barbara English
Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
(949) 891-2005

[Ubuntu] n.
Every human being truly becomes a human by means of relationships with other human being.

Update #3: After four days of research with refugees… success!

What is the rate of PTSD among refugees in San Diego?

What is the rate of PTSD among refugees in San Diego?

Hi everyone,

Well, we had our fourth day of research in San Diego last Saturday, December 22, and we met with great success!

In order to assess the rate of PTSD in east African refugees living in San Diego, we needed to have completed questionnaires from at least 150 refugees.  We started the day in need of at least 25 more, and by the end of the day after having been at Horn of Africa, and United Women of East Africa Support Team, we had far exceeded that.  The additional 87 questionnaires put us at a grand total of 212!

That means the team at National University can take over in their area of expertise, analyzing the data.

A lot of planning and coordination was required to get us to this point.  It never would have happened if we didn’t have so much help from so many people.

Their names are below, the ones who have graciously given of their time and energy in numerous ways to get us this far.  We can’t thank them enough for their dedicated effort and commitment to this project!  Additionally, we have enjoyed their company along the way : )

Sahra Abdi (United Women of East Africa Support Team),  Abdulahi Aidid,  Reem Anani,  Lisa Grajewski,  Joseph Jok (International Rescue Committee),   Martina Knee (San Francisco Bay Area Darfur Coalition),  John Kuek,  Terri Martin (Southern California Institute for Bioenergetic Analysis),  Isaac Mohamed (St. Luke’s Episcopal Church),  Abdi Mohamoud (Horn of Africa),  Hena Mustafa,  Valentine Nyambura,  Jan Parker (National University),  Brenda Shook (National University),  Mohamed Suleiman (San Francisco Bay Area Darfur Coalition),  Charlie Tatum (National University),  Chuol Tut (Southern Sudanese Community Center of San Diego),  Wai John Wai (Sudanese-American Youth Center of San Diego)

Thanks again to everyone!

With gratitude,

Barbara English
Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
(949) 891-2005

[Ubuntu] n.  Every human being truly becomes a human by means of relationships with other human being.

Update #2: After the first three days of research with refugees

What is the rate of PTSD among refugees in San Diego?

What is the rate of PTSD among refugees in San Diego?

Hi everyone,

Well, our PTSD research sample size continues to be just a little bit short of what we need.

In November, we launched our project to determine the rate of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in East African refugees currently living in San Diego.

After Day #2 we needed another fifty completed questionnaires in order to have an adequate sample size.

Day #3 took place at St Luke’s Episcopal Church and at the Southern Sudanese Community Center of San Diego.  We got about half of what we needed.

So, fourth time is the charm, right?

This coming Saturday, December 22 we will be back in San Diego, splitting our time between two locations, Horn of Africa, followed by United Women of East Africa Support Team.  We are assuredly oh-so-confident this time that we will in fact reach the sample size goal : )

Meanwhile, I am very excited to say that we have already started planning meetings about the actual program, Trauma Recovery for Refugees.  So stay tuned for more developments on that, and also about how the research turns out.

Fingers are once again crossed…

…and once again I want to thank you so much for supporting this project.  You have played an essential role in getting us to this point.

With gratitude,

Barbara English
Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
(949) 891-2005

[Ubuntu] n.  Every human being truly becomes a human by means of relationships with other human being.

Update #1: After the first two days of research with refugees

What is the rate of PTSD among refugees in San Diego?

What is the rate of PTSD among refugees in San Diego?

Hi everyone,

November was an eventful month.  After the prior months of planning, coordinating and fundraising, in November, we finally launched our project to determine the rate of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in East African refugees currently living in San Diego.  At this point we have successfully completed the first two days of research, and tomorrow will be Day #3.

So far:

  • After collecting completed questionnaires on two dates in November at the Southern Sudanese Community Center of San Diego, we currently have over 100.
  • We still need about 50 more.
  • We hope to meet our sample goal tomorrow, Sunday, December 2nd, by collecting questionnaires at St Luke’s Episcopal Church and again at the community center.
  • We are using two sections of the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire (HTQ).  One asks about traumatic experiences, the other asks about symptoms, and we added a section for demographic questions.  All information gathered is kept confidential.
  • We are offering the HTQ in four different languages after meeting with success in getting it translated into Arabic, Somali and Swahili, as well as English.
  • We have tried to approach this with as much sensitivity as possible.  At each research event we have volunteers on hand to assist in the process, including mental health clinicians, and translators.
  • When we reach the minimum number of 150 completed questionnaires, team members from National University, professional number-crunchers, will tabulate the data.

To have so many refugees willing to participate is remarkable and what we have asked them to do, we don’t take lightly.  Sitting down and reading a questionnaire that lists nearly every sort of horrific event known to man is not an easy thing for anyone.  For refugees from conflict zones, many of the experiences listed are all too familiar and well-known.  Putting that on paper by answering YES or NO brings its own challenge.  And we feel honored when participants are willing to go through this process as we know it is not an easy one.

The therapist in me wishes we could sit together, going through the questions item by item, able to discuss anything that comes up along the way, processing whatever needed to be processed as part of the questionnaire-completion process.  But that isn’t the way research works.  “Processing” will have to wait for the launch of the trauma recovery program.

So, my fingers are crossed for tomorrow, not only for us to reach our desired sample size, but also that we manage to convey warmth and care while we are there.

Thank you so much to all who’ve supported this project.  We couldn’t have done it without you.

With gratitude,

Barbara English
Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
(949) 891-2005

[Ubuntu] n.
Every human being truly becomes a human by means of relationships with other human being.

Phase 1: What is the rate of PTSD among refugees in San Diego?

Update March 2013:
Here are the results.

For latest information about this project, visit our website »

December 2012:
We have completed the fourth and final day of research.  We exceeded our goal (of 150) and ended up with 212 refugees participating in the study.  Read more »

See past updates #2, #1.  Thank you for the support everyone.

Wanna get involved?  Get in touch with us at or (949) 891-2005.

Hi everyone,

What happens when someone was born and raised in a conflict zone, or witnessed acts of genocide? 

What happens when the violence was experienced firsthand, possibly even sexual assault?  What happens when part of life took place in a refugee camp?  What happens when a person has survived but lost countless numbers of family and friends?  What happens when “home” will never be home again?

The depth of shock and loss are way beyond what can be expressed in words, but what we know is that the struggle with these things doesn’t go away when a refugee moves to the U.S.

Trauma shatters a person and life as known before will never be the same again.  While some have the inner resiliency to recover without help, for many, that just isn’t the case and the suffering persists.

What are some of the PTSD symptoms for refugees?

  • Insomnia, nightmares, anxiety, depression, and trouble concentrating.
  • Substance abuse and domestic violence.
  • Quickness of anger and mistrust of others.  This adds to the difficulty in resolving conflicts within the community.

When traumatic experiences haven’t been resolved, employment, education, relationships, and physical health are significantly affected.

The individual suffers… the family suffers… and the entire community suffers….

Why are we doing this?
Click here to read more »

We know that 75% of the displaced children from Darfur living in refugee camps met the diagnostic criteria for PTSD.

What is the rate of PTSD in East African refugees living here in San Diego?  We don’t know, but we want to find out.

* * *

What is the rate of PTSD among refugees in San Diego?

Our plan

  1. Translate sections of the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire (a PTSD assessment tool) into Swahili, Arabic and Somali to make it easier for refugees to understand.
  2. Get 150 refugees from East Africa who currently live in San Diego to fill it out.
  3. Compile and analyze the data to determine rates of PTSD among this population.

This will help us move one step closer towards our long-term goal of launching an ongoing Trauma Recovery Program for refugees and immigrants in San Diego.

How you can help?

We want to give each of the 150 refugees a $15 Visa or MasterCard gift card as an incentive and to say “thanks”.  That means if a husband and wife both participate they will have an extra $30 to spend on something their family needs such as extra diapers or school supplies.

We need to raise funds to cover the cost of the gift cards.  150 refugees x $15 each = $2250.

  • $450 would provide gift cards for 30 refugees.  1/5th of our goal.
  • $150 would provide gift cards for 10 refugees.
  • $75 would provide gift cards for 5 refugees.
  • $30 would provide gift cards for 2 refugees.
  • $15 would provide a gift card for 1 refugee.

Can you help us with this?

Online fundraising for What is the rate of PTSD among refugees in San Diego?

The budget

  • 150 refugees x $15 gift cards  =  $2250
  • Banking fees (~3%)  =  $70
  • License for Harvard Trauma Questionnaire  =  $150
  • Marketing costs (flyers, printing etc.)  =  $100
  • Food & refreshments for day-of  =  $100
  • Total  =  $2670

The team

  • Chuol Tut, Executive Director of Southern Sudanese Center of San Diego
  • Barbara English, LMFT, CBT and Executive Director of Living Ubuntu
  • Jan Parker, LMFT, CBT, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, National University
  • Charles Tatum, PhD, Lead MA in Human Behavior, Department of Psychology, National University
  • Brenda L. Shook, PhD, Program Lead Faculty, Department of Psychology, National University

Living Ubuntu is a 501c3 non-profit organization with a focus on mind-body issues, specifically health and well-being, and the effects of stress, trauma and compassion fatigue.  We seek to increase awareness of the global and local impact of these issues, build a sense of community, and encourage living a more fully embodied life.  For more information, please visit

National University is the second-largest, private, non-profit institution of higher learning in California.  For more information, please visit

Southern Sudanese Community Center of San Diego is a 501c3 non-profit organization that provides support for those who have immigrated from war torn South Sudan. Most of its staff is unpaid volunteers who donate their time to support refugee communities.

Sudanese American Youth Center San Diego is a non-profit organization based in the San Diego, California area focusing on mentoring Sudanese youth on how to become successful in the United States and still maintain the Sudanese cultural identity and value.

* * *

Thank you in advance for your support.  We are very grateful for your contribution and the refugee families will be too.

This research project is our first step toward launching a Trauma Recovery Program for Refugees and Immigrants in San Diego.

Thank you for helping us meet with success in this effort.

With gratitude,

Barbara English
Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
(949) 891-2005

[Ubuntu] n.
Every human being truly becomes a human by means of relationships with other human being.

I can’t keep pushing it away anymore


“I can’t keep pushing it away anymore”

Using TRE to heal the trauma of everyday living

When cognitive just isn’t enough
When intellectualizing has let me down

When optimism and positivity keep me trapped
When compartmentalizing no longer works

Hi everyone,

In 2004, when I was ruminating about global trauma and how our paradigm for healing could be different, I had the synchronous good fortune to meet Dr. David Berceli, someone already operating from that different paradigm I had been pondering.  He had created a method now referred to as Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) and was using it to help people recover from cumulative and traumatic stress in many of the world’s worst conflict zones.

My own experience of learning and consistently practicing TRE had a profoundly healing impact on me.  As a long-term sufferer of PTSD, my symptoms were greatly reduced, I felt calmer than I knew was possible, and my capacity for tolerating stressful situations greatly increased.  Since then I have taught TRE to over 1000 individuals, and heard many stories of relief on account of it.

We focus on many things in Living Ubuntu, yet continue to emphasize recovering from trauma as part of our core mission.  Having said that, I am excited to let you know that this summer’s 6-session workshop series will focus on stress and trauma.

“I can’t keep pushing it away anymore”
Living Ubuntu Summer Body Group (July – Sept 2012)

We will be utilizing grounding exercises, talking about personal experiences and how and why the body often gets stuck in these experiences.  Additionally, the primary focus of the group will be the use of TRE for our own personal recovery.

All details are below and on our website.  To create a safe, secure space, we are limiting attendance to 10 people.  If there is any financial hardship, please get in touch with us.  We will gladly make arrangements to suit your situation.


Barbara English, Executive Director
Living Ubuntu

Barbara English is a licensed Marriage Family Therapist with over 20 years of experience in the field.  As a Certified Bioenergetic Therapist, she works from a mind-body perspective, and utilizes relational somatic methods as part of the process toward healing and a sense of well-being.  Much of her training has focused on Early Development, Infant Mental Health, and healing after abuse or trauma.  She is the co-founder and Executive Director of Living Ubuntu.

. . .

“I can’t keep pushing it away anymore”

Using TRE to heal the trauma of everyday living

Living Ubuntu Summer Body Group
July – September 2012
6 sessions on Sunday afternoons (2:00p-4:30p)

Orange County, CA
Starts Sunday, July 8th
see all dates »

This Living Ubuntu Summer Body Group series will be experiential and offered in a casual setting. It will emphasize Bioenergetic body-centered methods to help us get in touch with these experiences, learn to stay more grounded, and help bring change and healing into our wounded and stuck places.

Find out more at

Questions?  Contact us at (949) 891-2005 or

“Some of us think holding on makes us strong;
but sometimes it is letting go.”

– Hermann Hesse

* * *

Compassion: diminished by stress and trauma… expanded when we heal

Hi everyone,

Last winter, Living Ubuntu did a series on how to cultivate healthy, compassionate relating with global issuesOne of the things addressed was the role of stress in diminishing our capacity to pay attention and be able to step into the shoes of another.  It increases our proneness to reaching a state of overwhelm far more quickly.  And when I say “stress”, it can range from chronic daily stress, to the more extreme Post Traumatic Stress that gives us trouble in fully accessing our capacity to care.

This past September, I had an experience that re-triggered my own PTSD symptoms.  If you are not aware of my history, I suffered from severe PTSD from a very early age, and have devoted much of my life to recovery.  In the past decade, my struggle has been relatively minor compared to what it once was.  Yet, a rather routine situation last fall was traumatizing for me and it brought with it a wave of not-yet-fully-resolved situations from very early in my life.

While I had never struggled with this before, one of the results of the traumatic incident was that I became extremely claustrophobic.  I also began to have panic attacks, and was particularly vulnerable to their occurrence if I felt the least bit confined, or even heard about someone else being confined.  For instance, to sit in the middle of a full auditorium became an unbearable experience.  Elevators were tolerated with high anxiety.  My nervous system had gone on “high” and was not coming down quickly.

I noticed how much my own experience mirrored the very things I had taught in the group last winter.  Suddenly news stories that I generally would have been able to attend to in a healthy way, instead brought instant overwhelm and near panic.  I couldn’t bear to hear of buried earthquake victims, those stuck in an elevator when power went out, or see a cartoon image of a dog that got stuck in a tunnel.  When I did manage to fully tune in to day-to-day news stories, I noticed how my empathic experience had been changed.

One example of this was if I was listening to details of a conflict zone, I not only thought about how terrifying it would be for those going through it, not only the violence leading to injuries and death, not only the lifetime scarring of one who has had their sense of safety utterly destroyed, I was hyper-attuned to what it is like to be trapped.  In war, feeling trapped might be the literal inability to escape a building due to structural damage or outside weaponry.  It can also be the sense that there is nowhere to go that would feel safe.

My overall capacity to be responsive to global issues grew smaller.  My ability to feel compassion diminished.  And yet within this, in the times I could manage to stay present as witness, my empathy and compassion had actually increased as I was even more in touch with certain aspects of the inevitable human experiences created in the situations I was hearing about.

It helps to be a psychotherapist who has had a lot of therapy as I recognized my own symptoms of trauma immediately, and connected the dots to identify past and present situations creating them.  I also am well-versed in knowing how to resume a path of healing.  I do not take it lightly that at this point in life I have many advantages, recognizing that many people might not have this ability. 

In feeling intense anxiety or overwhelm when hearing of global events, it can be difficult to distinguish how much is because the present day situation is genuinely one of horror, or if the feelings are more extreme because it is triggering something unresolved from the past that lies outside conscious awareness.

For instance, I have encountered many people that find viewing a documentary about genocide in Darfur absolutely unbearable.  There is no denying that genocide is full of horror, and is very, very difficult for anyone to deal with.  Yet, I have had conversations with some who had never thought about how being born into a family of Holocaust survivors, first or second generation, colors their experience of genocide, making it more personal.  While some are fully conscious of this family heritage and how it plays out in their life, many have never given it any thought.  They get triggered without any deep understanding of what it is about.  Without awareness, practicing avoidance and narrowing what one comes into contact with becomes their best way to get through it.

For me, my own September trauma reminded me of how unbearable PTSD can feel.  Panic attacks were fresh in my range of experience as truly, truly awful.  During times of extreme anxiety my emotional capacity was narrowed, yet overall, my empathy was freshened up a bit in terms of being able to feel for and feel with others suffering in similar ways.

What about those of you reading this that have had panic attacks and never known why?  Or had insomnia, chronic anxiety, bouts of depression, proneness to overwhelm, etc. without ever really knowing what it stems from?

Our society has fallen in love with pharmacology as supreme symptom-masking solution and whether it came from a doctor’s prescription, over the counter self-medicating, or varying forms of substance abuse, the truth is none of these options actually work very well.

My own PTSD story played a big role in why Living Ubuntu was started. I saw how often stress and trauma are not well understood.  Without that basic understanding there would be no way to increase healing for the mass numbers of people suffering.

If we don’t know what has triggered what we are feeling, we are likely to be stuck with the misery of it merely because we just don’t know what to do about it.  Sometimes people try to conceal their symptoms mistakenly thinking that they are the only one feeling that way.

The additional price we pay by ignoring these things is that we are more prone to turn away from the suffering of others, unable to cultivate compassionate and caring responses because we feel far too overwhelmed to do anything other than just try to minimize our own internal distress.

The aspect of my own re-triggering that I can genuinely be grateful for is that it is grand reminder of the fragility and vulnerability that comes by being human.  Traumatic experiences are universal.  We will all at one time or another experience a natural disaster, car accident, violent incident, sudden death of a loved one or any of the many other things that happen in life and come as a shock to our system.

Not everyone is going to get stuck in PTSD, and in fact it is only a minority that will.  Yet, there are lesser degrees of unresolved trauma and in today’s society most all of us are contending with chronic daily stress that takes a toll on us slowly, in small doses, and builds up into more destructive states after a period of time has gone by without sufficient down time.

We need to be a bit more sophisticated in recognizing the impact of stress, and take it seriously.  We need to be devoted to our own well-being and healing, and make ourselves more available to one another in non-judgmental, supportive ways.  We need to see in one another when stress needs attention as sometimes we lose our ability to see it for ourselves.

Our world needs more of us in emotionally available compassionate states, and we are going to need to help each other accomplish that.


Barbara English
Executive Director, Living Ubuntu

Barbara EnglishBarbara English is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist and Certified Bioenergetic Therapist with over 20 years of experience.  She is the Executive Director of Living Ubuntu, a non‐profit organization founded in response to her concern about the effects of mass trauma on populations around the globe.  Much of her training has centered on Early Development, Infant Mental Health, and how to recover after abuse or trauma.  She is a 2009 Carl Wilkens Fellow with Genocide Intervention Network.