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    088: How To Heal After A Disaster Using The Five Gifts w/ Dr. Laurie Nadel

    A lot of people don’t realize that grief and tragedy can take literally years to get to a point of acceptance with it. And while it’s a very real process for anyone going through it, so many people around them want you to just “get over it” and stop feeling the way you’re feeling. It’s not that easy, and today’s guest,  Dr. Laurie Nadel, is here to tell you how you can use humanity’s greatest gifts to work through your pain.

    Or listen & subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts | Android 

    Dr. Laurie Nadel is a writer and psychotherapist who spent 20 years on the front lines of many traumatic events, from wars to hurricanes. She’s used this experience to fuel her quest and education into grief, trauma, and acute stress. Laurie tells us about another first-hand traumatic event she witnessed, when Hurricane Katrina flooded her house, and what it was like watching your heaviest furniture floating in the rising waters.

    In this episode of Couch Talk, Laurie shares with us how she was called to the premise of her book, The Five Gifts, and what each of these gifts are.

    It’s easy to get stuck in a “woe is me” thought cycle when a tragedy befalls you. When you practice humility, you learn to reframe your question of “why me?” to “why not me?” This shift in attitude can completely alter your outlook on life and your current circumstances.

    Perhaps one of the most important parts of this episode is how Laurie explains you can, and should, be there for someone going through trauma and grief. It’s not always about being there when they’re going through it and then leaving, but about sticking around and supporting them through the long haul. Our loved ones who need help will still need help 6 months and more down the road, too.

    We talk about the other gifts and how you should take each of them into consideration when you’re experiencing and supporting through trauma. We also note that there is a difference between post-traumatic growth and post-traumatic stress disorder…. And bring up the many different experiences that can bring these mental health problems into being.

    How do you help support your friends and family who are experiencing trauma? Do you apply the five gifts to your life circumstances? When have you witnessed a tragedy bring out the best of humanity?

     

    In This Episode:

    • How witnessing the horrors of war caused Laurie to examine different careers
    • What it’s like to experience your house flooding from a hurricane
    • How tragedy can bring out the best in humanity
    • What the five gifts are and how they came to Dr. Laurie Nadel
    • How you can apply humility to your tragic situations and experiences
    • What having humility can help us connect to
    • How you can be there for other people who are experiencing grief
    • What post-traumatic growth is and how it is related to post-traumatic stress disorder
    • How extreme weather events can have an impact on mental health
    • How long you should wait before connecting with a friend experiencing grief

     

    Quotes:

    “Healing very often takes 3-5 years and people stop wanting to help after 2-3 months. They want you to be over it.” (11:15)

    “Nobody gets a free pass from suffering. Money doesn’t buy you the free pass from suffering. Tragic loss can happen, and does happen, to people on the planet every single day.” (16:10)

    “Patience is the gift that allows us to accept that we are where we are. And it’s okay. The heart has its own timetable for healing.” (19:08)



    Links

     Find Dr. Laurie Nadel Online

    Follow Dr. Laurie Nadel onInstagram |Twitter

    Buy The Five Gifts: Discovering Hope, Healing, and Strength When Disaster Strikes

     Find out more about Zen Mind Space

    Join the KetoGreen Community on Facebook

    Buy The Hormone Fix

     

    Transcript

    Laurie Nadel:
    There's no road map. Suddenly you feel like the road's been washed away in front of you or the ground's been pulled out from under you, and that's why I wrote the book. It's to give, not just a psychological road map but also a spiritual blueprint for how you can emerge with a more transformed approach to life as a result of having gone through this.

    Dr. Anna Cabeca:
    Humility, patience, empathy, forgiveness, and growth. Although each gift serves as a booster for the next one, you don't have to take them all in sequence or all at once, or at all. They are gifts, not regulations.

    Dr. Anna Cabeca:
    Today on Couch Talk I will be talking with Dr. Laurie Nadel. She is a journalist, first, and then a psychotherapist. She has written this amazing book, The Five Gifts, and it is Discovering Hope, Healing, and Strength When Disaster Strikes. As a journalist, as she will tell us in our interview, she experienced many disasters, natural and man-made, and helped people along in their recovery process as well as her own journey.

    Dr. Anna Cabeca:
    Dr. Laurie spent two decades in newsrooms and field reporting in South America. She came to recognize the need to help people whose lives were shattered by violence. After earning two doctorates through independent study, Dr. Laurie created emotional first-aid tools to calm acute stress after catastrophes, and later a program for teenagers whose fathers were killed in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

    Dr. Anna Cabeca:
    But it was when her own home was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 that she discovered these five gifts that we'll share today in our interview. So, let's welcome Dr. Laurie Nadel.

    Dr. Anna Cabeca:
    Welcome, Laurie. It is great to have you here on the call, on Couch Talk with me today. You know, my Couch Talk, I say it's an intimate place for a private conversation, shamelessly and guiltlessly, and I'm thrilled to share your book, The Five Gifts: Discovering Hope, Healing, and Strength When Disaster Strikes with my audience. So, welcome.

    Laurie Nadel:
    Thank you so much. I'm so honored to be your guest.

    Dr. Anna Cabeca:
    Well, give us some background story. You've just had a fascinating life from your journalism career to becoming a psychotherapist. Tell us about your journey.

    Laurie Nadel:
    Well, I was a journalist for the first 20 years of my career. I worked in TV news and as a field reporter I worked in newsrooms in London and New York and was a field reporter in South America, and that was probably before most of your audience was born, which I hate to say because it makes you sound really old.

    Laurie Nadel:
    But, anyway, then after 20 years in the news business I started... And, it's interesting because your book is about the hormone fix. When I became pregnant I had already been working at CBS for I think five or six years, and the hormones made me much more sensitive to what I had been watching from a clinical perspective for all those years, which is that, instead of being able to kind of write in a detached, observant way about, say, the survivors or the wounded or how many people were killed after, say, a bomb or an explosion or some other natural disaster, now I was looking at everybody on the ground, everybody who was being rescued or everyone who was being carried out in a body bag and it just hit me in every cell that that person was somebody's child.

    Laurie Nadel:
    That really shifted me tremendously, and I would say that that was probably one of the things that caused me to begin to look at the footage differently, and... footage I say in the course of a day that we had, it was before the internet so we had like 25 monitors all over the room just bringing in pictures from all over the world of things that were going on. And hard news, it usually means tragic events or mass casualty events, and I just found that suddenly I was watching them differently and that it was hitting home that these were real people, and that after something, you know, going along and normal, and something life-shattering happens that you're going to need support after that.

    Laurie Nadel:
    So, as I was exiting the news business and starting to transition into a more of a writing career, I started to become very interested in the field of trauma because I knew I had some exposure to that as a reporter, and so that's where I redirected my education.

    Dr. Anna Cabeca:
    Oh, again, I love what Dan Rather wrote in his foreword for your book, and he says, "Dr. Laurie Nadel has spent years seeking to answer the question, but is after what we had just witnessed. How can those still living who have suffered most cope?"

    Dr. Anna Cabeca:
    And then he continues. "Once a seasoned journalist and now a distinguished scholar and practicing psychotherapist, she has immersed herself in the academic study of suffering. In addition to the depth her own life story provides, she doesn't know it all, doesn't think [inaudible 00:05:40], but she knows a lot and knows how to tell it. When it comes to dealing with personal struggle, she possesses infinite wisdom."

    Dr. Anna Cabeca:
    And he says, "When I first met her some 30 years ago at CBS when she was a beginning news writer and obituary producer for Newsweek, she stood out." I just think that's really cool, especially coming from Dan Rather. There's so many areas in your book that I've highlighted.

    Dr. Anna Cabeca:
    So, in the journey then to writing The Five Gifts, tell us about your personal loss that you suffered and then how you came up with the recognition that there's these five gifts. No specific order. I like that when you say that but in this transition.

    Laurie Nadel:
    So, I went and raised my daughter in a little barrier island, a little house that was originally a little blue kind of beach cottage that she discovered and it was for sale and I was able to buy it and renovate it and live in it for almost 20 years. She was well off on her own journey and I used it for retreats, for people on the weekend. I did therapy there, I did healing sessions there with Reiki. It was a real little sanctuary.

    Laurie Nadel:
    In 2012 Hurricane Sandy brought in 3,5 feet of water from the Intracostal Waterway which was right down at the end of the block and some of the other smaller canals, and everything that I had built over the last 18 to 20 years was just wiped out. It was very surreal because I was there and my partner was there, we were just moving the cat lily and things up to the attic as the water kind of burst in. The previous hurricane, which was two years earlier, had damaged some of the homes on the block by they only got 18 inches of water.

    Laurie Nadel:
    Three feet of water is really quite profound because the refrigerator starts to float and your heaviest couch starts to float, and the dishwater. I mean, these heavy, giant metal steel appliances are bobbing around and it's not... You're watching the movie Titanic in your own house. I get very calm in emergencies so I was just kind of observing it and went up to the attic, we both went up to the attic and waited until the tide receded, and when the tide receded it turned out that the storm surge had broken the sewer treatment pump in town and that everything was contaminated. The water supply was contaminated. Everything was contaminated and we had to evacuate after like two days.

    Laurie Nadel:
    It sent me... I couldn't come back until there was power, electricity, on the island, and it was when I came back and had to deal with the financial nightmare, to deal with the insurance companies. For anybody who's been through a disaster, there are a lot of vultures that come in after the disaster, and you're suddenly confronted with all these choices that you have to make while you're in survival mode, and nobody tells you what to do and hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake sometimes. So, it was just overwhelming.

    Laurie Nadel:
    But everybody was going through the same thing, and because I had directed a program for teenagers whose fathers were killed in the World Trade Center attacks, I knew that everybody in the community would need long-term support. And so, I went. I spoke to somebody at City Hall and later somebody at a local church and was able over a four year period to offer two long-term support programs for people.

    Dr. Anna Cabeca:
    Wow.

    Laurie Nadel:
    So that was four, four-and-a-half years, and then I relocated to Florida. Made Florida my base and going back and forth to my office in New York, and I just started working on a debriefing team for firefighters in Broward County when the Parkwood shootings happened. That was in Broward County. And so, I have been privileged to work both with the first responders and with the teachers and others in the community after the shootings at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

    Laurie Nadel:
    It's really, what these horrible events have taught me or shown me about the human spirit that I always find very inspiring, because even people who work for CSI units or they have to go to these absolutely horrible disgusting scenes, they develop a rapport, they develop an empathy for each other and also for the people who have been injured or killed. There's just a remarkable resilience that so many people have, but I think that we really need to develop and in order to develop that resilience because most of us don't live with these extreme events happening, where civilians were not first responders, so we don't deal with these kinds of tragedies on a daily basis.

    Laurie Nadel:
    So how do we develop resilience? Well, what I've done in this book is kind of map out the initial stages of what kind of self care do we need during and after a disaster and what are the different psychological cycles that we go through up to a year and then after a year is when we need these five gifts, because healing very often takes three to five years, and people stop wanting to help after two to three months, and then they want you to be over it.

    Dr. Anna Cabeca:
    I love what you say in your Appendix to have... "Accept yourself. You are a normal person for having normal reactions to an abnormal situation." Right? And that's key. You're saying that it takes four to five years to recover from a trauma, especially, understanding that, like you said, the general public loses interest or moves on after three to four months, and you're still dealing with it.

    Dr. Anna Cabeca:
    And I can completely relate, certainly through my trauma, my personal loss, but also through hurricanes-

    Laurie Nadel:
    Right.

    Dr. Anna Cabeca:
    ... and also helping another single mom with her kids. I brought them into my home after our last hurricane, after Hurricane Irma, and there's still a recovery process going on. She couldn't get back to her home for six months, and then there's still the recovery process.

    Dr. Anna Cabeca:
    So, let's dig into these five gifts, Dr. Laurie.

    Laurie Nadel:
    Okay. These five gifts came to me during a particularly horrific cycle, I guess, or episode after three or four months after Hurricane Sandy. I finally just decided to take a news break and stop answering the phone and stop dealing with the field calls and the insurance calls, and just treat myself the way I would treat my own patients or my own clients, and I would just say, "Hit the pause button for 48 hours and just do everything you can to relax."

    Laurie Nadel:
    And so, one of the things that I do to relax when I'm able to is meditate, and as I was meditating, I heard an inner voice which may be my higher self or intuition [inaudible 00:13:01] or maybe a guide or an angel or... certainly has more wisdom than I do, and the voice whispered five words. Humility, patience, empathy, forgiveness, growth. And it said, "These are the five gifts that would help you to recover and heal, and please, please share them. Write them down and share them with others."

    Dr. Anna Cabeca:
    Wow.

    Laurie Nadel:
    The five gifts were humility, patience, empathy, forgiveness, and growth. It was soon after that that I reworked a proposal for a book that I had actually started before the hurricane, and it was really about how we need to listen to the wisdom of indigenous people who have been telling us for centuries that our relationship with nature is out of balance, and that when... because we no longer listen, the voice of nature is getting louder and louder and louder. So it was kind of going to be like more of a kind of, I guess, folklore kind of book about teaching stories from indigenous people. It was a really good idea, but then when the five gifts came in, I realized that that piece that I'd wanted to do a book about was really just one chapter, but one very powerful chapter, because I really think that when we get in harmony with nature, then we can really accept these five gifts and feel them on a cellular level.

    Dr. Anna Cabeca:
    I think that's beautiful. And which do you feel, like, for you, is there any order to these gifts? Is there any pattern?

    Laurie Nadel:
    Well, they came to me in that sequence, so I think about humility as the gift that it kind of takes away our expectations that somehow or other this wasn't supposed to happen to me. So we go from asking why, which is an unanswerable question, so why not. I always remember the story I did at CBS news about a little guy who didn't have any legs and he used to wheel himself around on a dolly and he would sing all the time. So this reporter said, "What happened?" And he said that he had gotten his legs shot off in a poker game and for a long time he was like, "Why God, why me?" And he was very angry at God. And then one day this light bulb went on and he said, "Well, why not me? I guess it had to happen to someone. It happened to me." And at that point, he got this mission of wheeling his dolly up to the geriatric ward at the local hospital and teaching little old ladies how to play poker.

    Laurie Nadel:
    To me, that's humility that he had. It always moved me. And I think that with humility we can begin to just take the loss as, "This isn't just happening to me." As the Buddha says in the first Noble Truth, "To be human is to suffer." And nobody can say... nobody gets a free pass from suffering. You know, money doesn't buy you the free pass from suffering.

    Laurie Nadel:
    Loss, tragic loss, can happen. It does happen to people on the planet every single day. So, humility allows us to connect to that, I call it the ocean of sorrow, that isn't all of our experience, but it is genuinely a part of our experience. I think that that, for me, when I was having a tough time, I would say to myself, "Laurie, this happened to a million people, okay? You are not alone. You're not being singled out. These horrible things, you've been lied to, you've been cheated, people trying to extort money and cheat you and put leans on your house if you don't let them extort..." All of these kinds of financial abuses.

    Laurie Nadel:
    You know what? There are a million people going through the same thing. So, that humility of feeling that, "I'm not special because I have this." No matter how deep the loss is, this is part of what it is to be human. That's the gift of humility, and to me, that's the foundational gift because it releases so much pain to just accept that, "This is where I am right now. I'm raw and I'm bleeding and my heart is shattered, but I'm not the only one who's had this experience and I'll get through it."

    Laurie Nadel:
    I think humility kind of reframes it in that way. And then patience is the gift that helps us accept that this isn't something that's going to go away in two months. One of the reasons I wrote the book is because, with disasters of all kinds increasing, every time you turn on your device in the morning you see images of people in a plane crash, or a fire, some kind of horrible act of destruction. And as you look at it you can just swipe it away. Or you turn on the TV and you're watching some morning show and then they go to the news, so, it's very hard to escape the images of the footage of people who are legitimately suffering and in pain.

    Laurie Nadel:
    And what we learn how to do is to change the channel. We learn how to swipe it away. But when it happens to us, we can't change the channel. Suddenly there's no road map because the future that we thought we were walking towards, even the next 15 minutes that we thought we were walking towards, suddenly not there, and there's no map. And patience is the gift that helps us accept that this feeling of being overwhelmed, this feeling of grief, that, you know, whatever feelings you're experiencing, anywhere from anger to terror to being frozen in the headlights, they may be a lot longer than you would like and I would like and patience is the gift that allows us to accept that we are where are, and it's okay. The heart has its own timetable for healing.

    Laurie Nadel:
    The third gift is empathy. The empathy is the wonderful gift that we see in first responders and restorers and people who come to help right at the beginning of an event where there's been a bit loss. But what we really need is sustained empathy. Empathy that's going to be there for the long haul, not just the first three months or the first six months, or when they ring a bell and the first anniversary comes around. It really means being there, being present for people, being able to ask somebody, "Hey, what do you need?" And being there to be able to offer to listen or to take a walk with somebody over the long haul.

    Laurie Nadel:
    There's no real time frame, but disaster can give us an appreciation for those people who were really there for us when things went really bad, and it helps us to define for ourselves what's really important. I think empathy is... you know when people are ruthlessly honest, we need empathy. And as a species, and several times [Esther 00:20:29] told me this, Dr. Jonas Salk interviewed before he died, and Dr. Roger Sperry who won the Nobel Prize for discovering left and right hemispheres of the brain. They both said that unless we genetically become a more empathic species and recognize that we're interconnected, we have the capacity to make ourselves extinct as a species.

    Dr. Anna Cabeca:
    Wow.

    Laurie Nadel:
    And without empathy, "We were so smart," that we were able to figure out how to wipe ourselves out, for no reason other than that we were so-called "smart enough" to be able to do so. I mean, there's no evolutionary reason. It's not for dominion over the land, it's not money, it's not food, it's not resources, it's not power. We could make ourselves extinct in less than a day. And in order to really counter that possibility, we need to genetically evolve into a more empathic species. When we experience empathy, it's also when we give it and receive it. It's the most uplifting of all of the five gifts.

    Laurie Nadel:
    Forgiveness is a tough one because, if we think of forgiveness as a light switch, and I would never suggest that anybody forgive the perpetrator or the shooter or the bomber or whoever or whatever it was, or the ocean. Some people I know never forgave the ocean and they moved to the mountains after Hurricane Sandy. It's easier to forgive a force of nature than to forgive a human perpetrator for what we call an intentional disaster, but if we step into what it's like to be forgive-ing, I-N-G, so then in an active state of forgiving even a perpetrator, and we can be forgiving one percent today, and five percent tomorrow and eighty percent next week, and then back to seven percent. It can fluctuate because it's not an on/off switch.

    Laurie Nadel:
    But we can learn about forgiveness from places like Rwanda where there was a tribal massacre of over two million people who were brutally massacred in like a two-month killing spree. That's like nothing the world has ever seen, and somebody I interviewed in the book who was a UNICEF driver in Rwanda during the genocide had to lead forgiveness rituals on television to bring the killers in so that they could be forgiven and re-integrated into the society.

    Laurie Nadel:
    I mean, that's phenomenal if you think about it. In South Africa, the huge movement of reconciliation to try to heal after apartheid was no longer the former repressive government that they had in South Africa for so many years. So, we have so much to learn, but we can learn from Rwanda and South Africa about forgiving, even on a large scale, or whether it's on the force of nature or whether it's an individual, we can learn a lot about forgiving. And I think we have to start by forgiving ourselves because we weren't able to prevent what happened in the first place.

    Laurie Nadel:
    Very often we'll say, "Oh, I shouldn't have told my husband to go to work that day," or, "I should have left four minutes earlier," or, "I should never have taken that day off," or, "If only I'd been there 20 minutes earlier to pick up my dad from the office," or whatever. We tend to blame ourselves and shoot ourselves. When we are forgiving ourselves, or in the process of forgiving ourselves, it makes it easier to bear the hardship and the hurt, I think. So we have to start with forgiving ourselves first.

    Laurie Nadel:
    And the final gift is growth. As living beings, we're growing all the time. We don't have to tell ourselves how to grow. How many days is it that we get a new liver? I think I read it was every 15 days we get a new liver. All of our tissues, our cells, are constantly regenerating. We're growing whether we choose to or not. But after a catastrophic event, when we experience ourselves as having grown from that event, we're no longer looking at the world through the eyes of this cataclysmic event, we realize that's something that happens, and it's past tense, and that we can look at each other and we can say, "I'm really sorry that I had to go through that and I would never wish it on anybody else, but if I hadn't gone through those events, I wouldn't have become who I am today."

    Laurie Nadel:
    And you can look at yourself and you can say, "As a result of having gone through that, I know what it is to have more humility, I'm a more patient person, I'm a more respectful person, I'm a better friend to the people I care about, I know what's really important, I know that if I can get through that, not that I want to get to anything else like that, but I'd probably be able to go through, should there be another disaster of that type, I do know that I can get through it and I can share what I learned with other people." That's the gift of growth, and that's really the transformative potential that a catastrophic event offers us, even though it's very painful and not... I'm not trying to turn it into this like light and love event.

    Dr. Anna Cabeca:
    Right.

    Laurie Nadel:
    But you got through a really hard time getting there, and eventually you can get to a place where you know that you're resilient, you know that you have more courage than you thought you had, you've learned to stand up for yourself, you've learned to be able to respond to other people or not. You probably have a better sense of your own strengths and weaknesses. And, with the five gifts, you can even forgive yourself for any failures that you may have made along the way.

    Laurie Nadel:
    You know, mistakes, we call them mistakes but sometimes they may feel like failures. You may have made a decision in an emergency that cost you dearly. You might be angry at yourself. So the gift of humility and forgiveness can help you to kind of release that, and be able to move forward having integrated the teachings from those experiences.

    Dr. Anna Cabeca:
    What you are describing is post-traumatic growth, right? That's the post-traumatic growth and we always talk about post-traumatic stress, and here, this month of June is post-traumatic stress disorder month, PTSD awareness, right, and how pervasive it is in our society. Why do you think there's just such a national public health epidemic of PTSD?

    Laurie Nadel:
    There has been, statistically, an increase in all three kinds of disasters. Natural disasters, environmental disasters, and what we call intentional or human-to-human disasters. So any time there's a violent, especially what we call a mass casualty event in which more than... I think the FBI calls it more than four people at a time are killed in an attack, those events are broadcast on television and in our... I mean, I watch my news on television, but most people either watch it on the computer or they get it on their phones or they get it on their tablets or their iPad. So you're exposed to this stuff throughout the day, and even if you turn off the news or you delete the news apps from your devices when you go to a store, it's in your face. When you go to a doctor, it's in your face.

    Laurie Nadel:
    You've got to get your muffler changed, you know, the TV will be on in the waiting room. And so, we're absorbing these very visceral images of tragedy and the subconscious mind, which is the 93 to 97% of who we are that's beneath the surface of our awareness or attention, we absorb the sensory impressions of sights, the sounds, the smells, the sensations. And what we call vicarious traumatization, which is secondary trauma. We can be traumatized by just... with hours of being exposed to these kinds of images.

    Laurie Nadel:
    So, we are all watching, we're all spending much more time in front of screens than ever before. I would say, when I'm working, I'm in front of a screen 10 hours a day. That's between writing and emails and doing some research, and when I'm not working I try to limit my time. But it's probably, I would say, six hours a day if I really add it all up. That's a lot of time, if you think about it, to be staring at a screen. And I'm not considered somebody that's on the phone that much.

    Laurie Nadel:
    So, you see young people standing in the street and they're all having drinks. They've got a drink in one hand and they've got their cell phone on the other hand. Nobody's making eye contact. They're even... sometimes they've been texting each other or sending each other funny pictures rather than speaking to each other. So we've become a society that's much more dependent on interaction through the screen and we can be traumatized by a lot of the things that we see even on a random basis.

    Laurie Nadel:
    And then, if we look at the research into climate change, or you'd call it acts of God or severe weather events, more than 200 million people, 200 million people are projected to have experienced mental health damage due to extreme weather events by 2025. That's like in the next five years. That's a population the size of Texas with post-traumatic stress, simply from weather events, from climate events, on top of the millions of people who are walking around with some kind of post-traumatic stress or acute stress kind of combination of indicators or symptoms.

    Laurie Nadel:
    So, I think that's a national public health epidemic.

    Dr. Anna Cabeca:
    I agree I agree. And there's so much that we can really look at to switch from post-traumatic stress to post-traumatic growth.

    Laurie Nadel:
    Growth. Right.

    Dr. Anna Cabeca:
    And what about those who want to help others that have gone through trauma? What advice would you give to those individuals to help people who are surviving from a tragedy?

    Laurie Nadel:
    There are two pieces. A lot of what happens after a disaster is you get a lot of well-meaning people who really aren't specifically trained or they've taken a couple of courses and they show up at disaster sites, and sometimes they do more harm than good. So, I would say, if you're a professional and you're looking to, you know what to do or to work in this field, go to an organization. Join an organization that deals specifically with trauma where you could offer your skill set and you have to basically demonstrate that you've got the hours of clinical experience and education to work in this field.

    Laurie Nadel:
    There are a lot of different organizations now. There are also volunteer organizations. If you want to go to work in other countries or in inner cities, there are a lot of places where you can go out in the field. On a personal level, if it's a friend or a relative who's suffering, the best thing you can do is just ask, "What do you need?" And offer to listen, and say, "Hey, do you want me to come over? Would you like to take a walk?" Or, "Can I send you something funny tomorrow because I'd like to hear you laugh?"

    Laurie Nadel:
    So those are kind of just... just think about, what would you want? People get flooded and overwhelmed by well-meaning people calling them a lot right after the event. So I would wait till three or four months after an event when people stop calling, and, as I said, the help cycle kind of fizzles out after three months. When people really start to need your presence is like six months after an event. And that's when we start to come out of shock and we feel more vulnerable, and we start to realize that our life isn't going to go back to the way it was before. And we experience that kind of a loss of safety and that we feel more fragile. We feel that this particular type of event, maybe it could happen again. Sometimes we lose a piece of our identity.

    Laurie Nadel:
    For example, if my identity was very much tied up in an activity, like, a friend of mine lives in Malibu and every day she would take a hike up through the hills behind the residential area, and after the fires and the mudslides, now that activity... she can't hike there, and so she feels like almost a part of her, "Who am I if I can't hike in the Malibu hills every day?" Or she can find another hiking trail, I suppose, but it became part of her identity, part of an activity that you do every day.

    Laurie Nadel:
    Or maybe it affects your ability to work or to get to work. Or maybe it makes you feel much more, I guess, more questioning about who are you now once you really come to, beginning to come to terms with humility, that this event has occurred and that it's changed you tremendously. That's the time when people really need somebody who's going to be supportive and listen, and who's not going to check out.

    Laurie Nadel:
    So, I would say, wait till about six months and then kind of offer your friendship of... Always ask for the other person, I would say, "What do you need?"

    Dr. Anna Cabeca:
    Mm-hmm (affirmative). That's a good way to approach it, too. Well, Dr. Laurie, what are you doing now? And tell us about SoulCollage?

    Laurie Nadel:
    Well, I've been trained as a facilitator of SoulCollage. With SoulCollage we're kind of working on a principle of Carl Jung that said, "Sometimes the hands can solve a mystery that the mind just struggles with in vain." And so, we make a collage on a 5 x 7 piece of mat board and that puts us into a very relaxed meditative playful state of creativity so that we do this guided, almost an active dreamwork session, where you ask the images to speak to you, and then you write down the responses. And so, you can ask... you're really connecting to your own intuition and your own creativity and your own inner wisdom.

    Laurie Nadel:
    So, I'm planning... it's very, very helpful with people in the Parkland community, with people who... you know, really, I would say, eight months to a year or longer out of the event, where your unconscious is kind of able to find different, look at images a little bit more creatively if you like, or more playfully. You're able to relax enough to take anywhere from ten minutes to an hour to make a collage.

    Laurie Nadel:
    So, it's been very healing. I am offering a workshop in Fort Lauderdale on June 26. You can go to zenmindspace.com and we'll have what we call hope healing and straight to SoulCollage, and I offer night bird coaching to professionals who get their second wind at 10:00 p.m. You can contact me through my website if you're a night bird and looking for some support.

    Dr. Anna Cabeca:
    That sounds beautiful. Thank you. So that's how people can get ahold of you and work with you together as well as at laurienadel.com. So, L-A-U-R-I-E-N-A-D-E-L.com, and on LinkedIn as well as Twitter. So, the book, The Five Gifts: Discovering Hope, Healing, and Strength When Disaster Strikes. Now, Laurie, I have marked this up all over the place. You've got some-

    Laurie Nadel:
    Oh, thank you.

    Dr. Anna Cabeca:
    ... [inaudible 00:37:01] pearls and then... I love it. And then from your mission working with teenagers, survivors of those who have lost a parent in the World Trade Center, September 11 tragedy. And you're just giving a lot of wisdom and another angle to walking through. Walking through our trauma, right? Can't go over it, can't go under it, you [crosstalk 00:37:24]

    Laurie Nadel:
    So true. And there's no road map. Suddenly you feel like the road's been washed away in front of you, or the ground's been pulled out from under you, and that's why I wrote the book. It's to give not just a psychological road map but also a spiritual blueprint for how you can emerge with a more transformed approach to life as a result of having gone through this.

    Dr. Anna Cabeca:
    I thank you for being with us today and sharing your wisdom.

    Laurie Nadel:
    Yes.

    Dr. Anna Cabeca:
    I thank all our listeners here on Couch Talk. Thank you for sharing this podcast and thank you. I'm always so blessed and it's like my cherished time to read your reviews. Thank you for all your wonderful reviews and sharing this podcast with your friends. That means a lot to us wherever you're listening, iTunes, Podcast Addict or Stitcher. We are there and we're here for you. So, be sure, if there's a topic that you want, need to really dive deep into, email my team at drannacabeca.com and I'm excited to keep enjoying our time together and sharing knowledge and spreading healing. So thank you all for being with me today.

    Dr. Anna Cabeca

    Dr. Anna Cabeca

    Dr. Anna is a Triple Board Certified OB/GYN, Anti-Aging Medicine expert, and author of the best selling book, The Hormone Fix.

    Dr. Anna helps women heal the 9 most dreadful symptoms of menopause with natural, safe solutions. Follow her for content on hormonal imbalances, vaginal dryness, menopause (and more) that are medically backed, and created to empower women — not just treat them.