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George Hartwell M.Sc.

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Christian Inner Healing of Recent Trauma using Prayer Therapy
© George Hartwell M.Sc., 2003

Scripture: "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." Matthew 5:4.

Trauma, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - PTSD, trauma recovery, trauma counselling are terms enterring our vocabulary. As a Listening Prayer Therapist, I understand what trauma is, what trauma does and how to counsel those whose lives have been traumatized. A trauma is all the negative components of a memory that does not heal. Effective trauma therapy disrupts, negates, undoes or heals these negative components of the memory. As an effective Christian trauma therapist, I know how to bring healing to memories or do inner healing of memories quickly, cleanly and permanently.

 What are the negative components of a memory that does not heal? For one thing, in the open and vulnerable state caused by any very emotional event whatever is said, for example the negative labels in verbal abuse, those thoughts get planted deep in our heart and self-concept. Unhealthy thoughts lodged in our heart become life-long core beliefs. Until they are healed they will continue to be pain producing beliefs.

 Unhealthy beliefs set us up for further pain through self-fulfilling prophecy, through increased sensitivity to similar events and through the negative emotions and moods generated by unhealthy thoughts and beliefs. A vicious cycle results: painful events deepening our pain producing beliefs. This is what John and Paula Sandford call bitter root expectation or judgement.

Effective therapy of trauma with Listening Prayer Therapy

The following method is to help you deal with any recent events that have been traumatic. The sudden death of a family member or pet, for example. You can also use this method with a child or someone you have responsibility to counsel.

 Arrange a time and place where you will have the peace and quiet and a few minutes to deal with this.

Ask them is they would like to take a few minutes to talk and pray about the recent events with you.

Ask them if they would Jesus to be Lord and Healer of this upsetting event. Have them pray this out loud.  .

Take time to do listening prayer inviting the Holy Spirit to help them describe what they have been feeling and thinking during this event..

Now ask then specifically to share with you the most upsetting thought or thoughts that has gone through their head about this. Formulate this thought in a sentence. Continue to ask them for upsetting thoughts and write these down in sentences.

Do not try right now to convince them they are wrong. The thoughts of your head to their head will not heal their heart. Revelation knowledge from God's Spirit to their heart will heal their heart.

Tell them that you want to pray with them. Tell them their part is to be still and listen and then to share with you what they see, hear or sense.

Now put one upsetting thought to God and ask Him for His truth. Remember for children God often gives a picture or story over a word or scripture. You wait and watch and note what the person reports.

If they have received a healing revelation then ask them to stay in prayer. Ask them how they are feeling. Encourage them to let this fill their heart.

If they received a healing truth and a good feeling then tell them to thank God. Have them repeat to you what they received. You can pray thanking God and asking His Spirit to plant this truth in their heart and remove the upsetting thought.

You can repeat this process for each upsetting thought the person has.

(NOTE: The following repeats the above material in greater detail.)

Inner Healing Listening Prayer Therapy for Trauma

1.What causes trauma?

At the core of the memory of a trauma is a deeply imbedded negative belief. How that belief became imbedded is during an intense emotional state. For it is in intense emotional states - fear, horror, pain - that what we are told and what we believe becomes imbedded as lasting beliefs.

These deeply imbedded negative beliefs don't go away. They don't often heal with time. We may forget that they are there. We learn to live with them. But our life gets built upon the cornerstone of these beliefs.

These deeply imbedded negative beliefs poison our soul. We are ultra sensitive to similar situations. We continue to view the world through the conclusions from the trauma. We act on these beliefs. We bring our thoughts into line with these beliefs. Our bad moods and negative feelings are generated by these beliefs.

We can become anxious, worried, extra-vigilant, unnecessarily fearful. In fact we may become vulnerable to panic attacks.

  We can feel worthless, hopeless, depressed and defeated because of what we have believed. We may carry unnecessary burdens of guilt. We may feel responsible for anything that goes wrong.

We can also become angry, vindictive, quick to accuse and blame others. We may turn on our spouse and accuse them on little evidence of being abusive. We may feel they are the problem when earlier abuse has not been healed.

(Note: Talk to someone you can trust - friend or professional - to get help in thinking clearly about what you are experiencing. Abusers often do a good job of convincing us that it is our fault. They can be experts at undermining our ability to think clearly, at shifting blame and denying behaviour. When they do this one can loose such confidence in their judgment, that they feel like they are going crazy.)

2. How does listening prayer therapy inner healing work?

Healing of a trauma is successful when the imbedded negative beliefs have been replaced with healthy truths. The good news is that listening prayer therapy is great way to exchange the negative beliefs for God's healing truth.

In self help prayer therapy you are encouraged to establish the conditions where you can listen for God's truth. His word is "living and active and effective."

God's very word spoken to us does dislodge negative beliefs. The painful negative beliefs clear out quickly when God's word comes in.

3. Understanding Ed Smith's TheoPhostic Inner Healing

Great credit must go to Dr. Ed Smith for his contributions to the development of listening prayer therapy. Dr. Smith uses the term "TheoPhostic" to refer to the methods he uses. I have incorporated some of his insights into what I call "Listening Prayer Therapy." Others such as John Regier, Leanne Payne and John and Paula Sandford have contributed to what I present on this web site as self help listening prayer therapy. I take responsibility for the final product seen here, at the HealMyLife Seminars or in my counselling practice - Agape Christian Counselling - Toronto (416) 234-1850.

"Theo" refers to "God," for example, "theology" is the study of God. "Phostic" refers to light. When God's truth comes in, the unbelief leaves. Unbelief and associated darkness exits at the speed of light!

When someone reexperiences a traumatic event, remembers and relives it, they feel like they are in a dark room. The instant that God's truth is heard and received, it feels like the lights just went on. Therefore terms such as TheoPhostic, theophostics, etc.

4. Instructions

The following instructions apply when a traumatic experience is recent. What is meant be a recent trauma is that you can remember what your thoughts and beliefs were at the time.

This can be done with a child who has experienced an upsetting event. If the child is old enough to do this you can ask the child take some time with you to talk and pray about the upsetting event.

If the child is able to talk about the event ask the child what they thought when they were upset. 

Rather than telling the child whether what they thought is right or wrong suggest that you pray about it. Tell the child that you will pray about it and the child should just listen to what Jesus says. In prayer tell Jesus what happened to the child and what the child believed. Ask Jesus to tell the child what is true.

Give time for the child to listen. Ask the child to report what Jesus did or said. Ask the child how that felt. If it was a good experience for the child ask the child to thank Jesus for what he said and for giving the child the good feeling. That is all there is to it.

Find a time and place where you have some peace and quiet. 

 Declare: "Jesus, you are my Lord and Healer and I ask you to guide me to complete healing of this trauma."

 Picture a peaceful setting where you meet Jesus and can talk with him.

 Tell Jesus about the upsetting event: what happened and how you felt. Tell him what you were thinking and believing at that time. Be specific. Tell Jesus the most upsetting thought that you have had from this event. For example you might say: "Jesus as a result of this experience I came to fear ____________ " or "Jesus as a result of this experience I came to believe _____________."

 Now ask Him for his perspective on this event and on your beliefs. Restate what you believed and ask him a very simple question. Ask him if what you believed is true. You can put it like this: "Jesus, here is what I believed: ________________ . Is that true?"

 Or you can ask Jesus: "Jesus, what is your truth for me?"

 Listen to what he says. Listen requires your mind to be in listening mode. Stop sending and observe. You cannot be in listening mode if you are thinking, doubting, analyzing. Let your mind be in a watchful mode. Look, listen, sense what is going on inside you. Note what comes spontaneously.

  Give time for your heart to receive his truth. Let the message and the good feeling sink into your heart. Thank God for His truth and how you feel.

 Repeat this process if more than one significant belief is associated with this traumatic event.