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Yay, my friend, Dr. Adele McDowell, has done it again. Huffington Post Canada posted another of her articles. This time, very different from her earlier ones on suicide. In fact, this is the other side of depression and suicide. It is inspirational as she takes the fictional character of James Bond – 007 who can face any one and anything and comes out alive and whole.

Don’t we wish we could do that. It is no wonder that we idolize heroes (and heroines) who can face any danger, look a gun in the face, fight any fight! It is really because we wish that we could do that but don’t think we can. Then, Adele tells her own personal story of danger and courage. Sometimes, one never knows of what one is capable until faced with a dire circumstances. And, of course, there are many kinds of danger from which one can test courage.

For those who have undergone any kind of trauma – abuse, accidents, life threatening illness, etc. – it takes a lot of courage to overcome the incident or incidents. When one has been abused and put down at every turn, the message is that “you are nothing, you will never amount to anything, you. will never be able to protect yourself, you are a coward…..”. And, if the trauma is severe enough, then there is post traumatic stress disorder (ptsd) with which one has to go through. PTSD, for those who may not know, is not just a mental memory. When PTSD comes on – and sometimes the survivor doesn’t even know what triggers it or even what is happening – it is like the trauma is happening all over again. So the survivor is no longer his/her chronological age and doesn’t realize that he/she is actually safe, the memories that come flooding back impact the mind, the body reactions, the fears or shocks of that particular time.

I know because being a survivor or child sexual and physical abuse, as well as undergoing many life threatening illnesses, I am understanding more and more my work, as well as the healing work I’ve done with clients, in overcoming PTSD. I still get bouts of it, but having worked on these issues, I am now able to name the triggers as well as the times PTSD comes over me. I can’t say that I can get out of it immediately – although sometimes I can – but I can at least know what’s happening to me. What that does is that I know it’s not happening again, that I am safe, and that I can sum up the courage to speak up, to protect myself, or to help others. I remember that I am no longer 4 when I was abused, or 10 or 12 when I almost died from an illness. And even now, in dealing with cancer these last 4 1/2 years, I know I now can take the small steps to take care of myself.

Will I ever be a “James Bond”. Perhaps not, but in my eyes I let myself acknowledge each time I take any step to take care of myself, knowing each step only leads to more courage every time. This is what came to me as I was reading Adele’s article. For me, it came at a time when I’m not only dealing with cancer, but shingles these past few weeks. Shingles, unfortunately,  is only one physical ailment in a long line of many that shows me how depleted my immune system is and how much I need to be easy on myself as I navigate these waters.

Perhaps Adele’s article will mean something entirely different to you, but I urge you to read it and see. And, Adele, I’m so proud of you for sharing your very personal story and the courage you had in protecting yourself.


Connection is Real. Healing is Real. Miracle is Real
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FEATURE OF THE MONTHWu Dong Long Men Qigong Saved My Life!This ancient Chinese self-healing module built up my depleted immune system following my bout with cancer.After 16 years, I am still cancer free!Aside from cancer, qigong also helped me to heal from the traumatic experiences of physical, emotional and sexual abuse.  I discovered this healing power when I first worked with other abuse survivors in my psychotherapy practice. Using qigong to help them calm down, I quickly realized it was also lessening and, in many instances, eliminating their symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).Their flashbacks and nightmares reenacting their trauma decreased or disappeared completely. It did the same for my symptoms. Read the rest of this entry »

Back to my experiences at NSAC.

One of the things that I’m always frustrated about are the concurrent workshops – 3 or 4 at the same time. Too many to choose from, I want to go to them all. While I usually learn a lot from the workshop I’m attending, I always wonder if I’m missing something else equally informative.

On another note, I am very grateful to have choices, something I didn’t experience a lot growing up Asian and a survivor of sexual, physical and emotional abuse.

At this conference, I gravitated towards the round table leadership discussions: women of color caucus and Asian Pacific Islander   – all practitioners in the field of sexual assault.  I felt such a close connection to these participants, as we spoke about some of the specific issues that people of color face that Caucasian practitioners/survivors do not. Read the rest of this entry »

After seeing the movie Precious and hearing Sapphire at a book signing, I had to read the book, Push. I wanted to see if the movie followed the spirit of the book.

While the movie did follow its spirit, I found the book to be much more descriptive in its depiction of the sexual abuse. The narrator in the book was Precious. The reader got a much clearer picture of what goes through the mind of a child being raped, being molested. Precious, in her own words, describes her pain, her confusion, and her anger.  She didn’t understand what was happening to her, or why. Read the rest of this entry »

Push is the novel written by Sapphire and was the inspiration for the movie Precious. The character of Precious Jones is a conglomerate of many stories Sapphire heard while she lived in Harlem. It is not about one particular person.

I have not read Push yet; however, I had the privilege of listening to Sapphire speak a week ago at the Central Library in Los Angeles. I do plan to read Push because of what Sapphire said during the presentation. Read the rest of this entry »

This must be the year for stark realistic portrayals in films.  First, we have “The Hurt Locker” about bomb removal units in Iraq. Then, we  have “Precious” a film that truthfully depicts the horrors of child physical and sexual abuse.

I, for one, am glad to see these kinds of films. Yes, they are hard to watch. We don’t want to see that humans can be so cruel, so twisted in the treatment of children. Not a minute too soon, the time has come for us to face what monsters lurk inside our homes, how we are destroying the very future of this nation by terrorizing our children.

Of course, we are not all abusers. However, when we don’t speak up when we see abuse occurring, we perpetuate the message that abuse is acceptable!


The following speaks  to the psychological impact of abuse rather than as a critique of the movie or the actors. Read the rest of this entry »

To continue the NICABM Conference, but this time, I want to talk about the people there – participants and speakers.

But, first, a little background! My decision to attend was part of a process that started even before I listened to the teleseminars. It  started when I read Belleruth Naparstek’s book, Invisible Heroes, where she stated that research showed the success of using alternative methods to heal trauma survivors.

I realized that I had used qigong 25 years ago to successfully heal survivors of  post-traumatic stress disorder (ptsd) derived from child sexual abuse. Following this realization, I intuitively knew that I am to return to working with survivors of trauma, again using qigong.

I had come full circle.

I knew that the conference would put me in touch with experts in the field of trauma. My goal was not only to learn about the latest treatments from these experts, it was also to network and share my dream with other practitioners.

So, I launched a blog on this subject the Sunday before I got on the plane. The 1,000 business cards I ordered had arrived.

I was ready! Read the rest of this entry »

I had already been through years of my own therapy as well as therapy training. I had already worked through issues of physical and emotional abuse, the trauma of escaping from Communist China, racism, cancer, and two respiratory illness in which I nearly died.

One more thing was almost more than I could bear!

Yet, I forced myself to be brutally honest. I had to admit that something was still missing in my life. Here I was a therapist, encouraging my clients to be true to themselves. And, I so didn’t want to know.

The irony of this was not lost on me!

I finally screwed up my courage and made that fateful call to my clinical supervisor.

I was fortunate to have a supervisor that had also been my therapist for 20 years.  She was also a certified hypnotherapist. I asked her to take me into a hypnotic trance to see what I remembered.

To my horror, I remembered everything! I was only 4 years old. Read the rest of this entry »

Child sexual abuse, or incest, is one of the most insidious types of violence perpetrated on innocent children:

  • 1 in 4 girls is sexually abused before the age of 18. (96)
  • 1 in 6 boys is sexually abused before the age of 18. (96)
  • 1 in 5 children are solicited sexually while on the internet. (30, 87)
  • Nearly 70% of all reported sexual assaults (including assaults on adults) occur to children ages 17 and under. (76)
  • An estimated 39 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse exist in America today.

While we are teaching children to be wary of strangers, no one wants to believe that many are abused by family members and friends:

  • 30-40% of victims are abused by a family member. (2, 44, 76)
  • Another 50% are abused by someone outside of the family whom they know and trust.
  • Approximately 40% are abused by older or larger children whom they know. (1, 44)
  • Therefore, only 10% are abused by strangers.

More shocking, children are violated when young:

  • The median age for reported abuse is 9 years old. (64)
  • More than 20% of children are sexually abused before the age of 8. (76)
  • Nearly 50% of all victims of forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object, and forcible fondling are children under 12. (74, 76)

(Above statistics in

Sometimes, so young that they have no way to defend themselves, let alone understand what is happening to them.

Sometimes, so young that they have no memory of  it.  Yet, abuse affects everything in their life – sex, relationships, work, physical and mental health – and they don’t know why!

This is what happened to me. I blocked out all memory of this abuse.  While it is personal, my story starts with my professional life. Read the rest of this entry »

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