Excellent resources for trauma survivors

Published 9:51 pm Thursday, October 31, 2019

By Tonya S. Swindell

As a child, I aspired to become an archaeologist: a trained professional skilled at unearthing historically significant artifacts. I was fascinated by techniques those individuals used to locate valuable hidden treasures that were presumed to be lost, abandoned or forgotten. Nowadays I’m appreciative of professionals and organizations that help to uncover matters of the heart for people who have experienced trauma.

Recently I attended, “Not So Pretty Poems: A Poetry Workshop” that focused on “techniques to write effective poetry with traumatic themes.” The workshop was facilitated by Latasha Drax, poet, author and publisher of an uplifting ebook, “From Dusk to Dawn: Ordinary Devotions for Extraordinary Souls.” Drax also authored two poetry books including, “Fruit of My Womb” and her latest offering, “Metamorphosis of Rhythm.” The latter is described as, “the lyrical journey of 32 poems” that “evokes thought and cuts to the core to soothe, calm and heal, so a new creation can emerge — transformed.”

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Mrs. Drax led participants through simple steps to promote reflection and exploration before outlining effective tips for creating insightful poetry. Participants were provided a safe emotional space in which to recall a traumatic memory before engaging in self-expression through a short writing activity. The event was challenging, inspiring and educational. Individuals or groups interested in contacting Mrs. Drax may do so at: www.latashadrax.com.

A newly founded nonprofit organization called Hesed Place, is dedicated to providing trauma-informed assistance in a different way. Located in New Bern, N.C., Hesed Place, helps people to obtain resources needed to resume a purposeful life after experiencing trauma.

According to www.hesedplace.com, the organization’s mission is to provide “progressive, personal and community resources to survivors of severe complex trauma to maximize the potential for freedom, growth and independence first within their life and then the community.”

“By creating a ‘Trauma-Informed-Town-Within-A-Town’ through the training of community professionals we offer collaborative Trauma-Informed, transdisciplinary care to those who have been severely abused.” Hesed Place was founded by Amy Bradley, my friend, confidante and fellow occupational therapist, whom I have known for almost 25 years.

While explaining the reason she chose “Hesed” as an essential part of the organization’s moniker, Bradley indicated, “Hebrew has a word for love that is richer and deeper than English has ever conceived of -hesed (HEH-sed). Based in a covenantal relationship, hesed is a steadfast, rock-solid faithfulness that endures to eternity.”

“Hesed is a love that is so enduring that it persists beyond any sin or betrayal to mend brokenness and graciously extend forgiveness.”

“Like other Hebrew verbs, hesed is not just a feeling but an action.”

One day I prayed for an individual with deep-seated hurts. I imagined someone using a shovel to skillfully and gently rearrange crumbling soil that had become encased or hardened around the individual’s heart. I’m thankful for compassionate professionals like Mrs. Drax and Mrs. Bradley who have designed creative ways to help people who have experienced the devastating effects of trauma.

Tonya Swindell is an occupational therapist. She is also a teacher for Kingdom Building Institute (kingdombuildinginstitute.org). She can be reached at 1brightot@gmail.com.