Shifting Perspective: Trauma, Storytelling, and Healing

The stories we create around traumatic experiences serve many functions, and it is often through first establishing and then manipulating a story that one can find and realize greater levels of healing.  This is a means of becoming more whole within oneself and at peace with one’s experience—allowing past traumas to integrate smoothly with one’s experience of the present, without letting it define who one is.  The ability to manipulate and change our stories has the capacity both to engender a fundamental change in one’s perspective as well as to solidify or concretize one’s perspective and self-image.  When changing the story changes one’s perspective, it has the ability to transform how one stands in relationship to oneself and to past traumas, and therefore to transform one’s experience of the present.

In my experience as a practitioner of acupuncture and oriental medicine, I have often found that while acupuncture, herbal medicine, dietary and lifestyle changes, and even pharmaceutical drugs and surgeries all have an ability to affect the patient’s subjective experience of suffering, illness, and pain (whether physical, emotional, or otherwise), often it is the shift in perspective that truly leads to deeper levels of transformation and healing; such perspectival shifts not only change psychological aspects of suffering, they also have the ability to transform physical and emotional suffering as well.  In other words, such shifts in perspective allow an individual to release deeper energetic patterns of holding in the body and thus move towards the natural state. This article explores the relationship between stories, perspectival shifts, and healing; it should be noted that throughout this paper the term ‘healing’ is intended to connote not only the removal or absence of discomfort, but also gravitation towards a greater degree of integration and actualization within self, which is synonymous with movement towards the natural state.  To explore these issues, this article incorporates not only the perspective of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, but also freely draws on the perspectives of Western medicine, psychology, and Buddhism.  The reason for using such an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural approach is that it will allow us to develop a broader and deeper understanding of the relationship of trauma, storytelling, and healing.

To read more, please look for this article in Volume 12, Issue 1 of The Lantern: A Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine (, or click here to access the full article: Shifting Perspectives.