‘How to Heal in Traumatic Times’: Department of Philosophy hosts webinar for COVID-19 trauma

Abbey Nutter

The WKU Department of Philosophy presented a lecture via Zoom Wednesday afternoon, which focused on how to deal with trauma amid the current COVID-19 pandemic. 

“How to Heal in Traumatic Times,” led by WKU interim Department Head of Philosophy and Religion Elizabeth Gish and therapist Laurie Cape, was originally intended as an in-person lecture but transferred to Zoom format. Around 50 people digitally attended, all listening to Cape as she described resources and strategies to get through this time.

“I define trauma as something that happens to us that is too big for us to work through emotionally, mentally, it’s too big for us to understand,” Cape said. “It’s too big for us to even know what we’re feeling and work out the feelings at the same time.” 

Cape said that the trick to healing from a trauma is to eventually make sense of your own thoughts and feelings. She walked her digital audience through the following exercise in order to bring their attention back to themselves and how they were feeling.

1. Take a deep breath

2. Look at your own face, either in a mirror or in your mind. (The group during the lecture used the video feeds of themselves.)

3. Consider the person in the mirror, or in your mind.

4. Think about the answers to a few questions:

    a. How am I experiencing this pandemic?

    b. What feelings do I have?

    c. What have I been thinking about the pandemic?

    d. How is the pandemic affecting my lifestyle?

After this, Cape said the answers to these questions are there for people to explore for themselves. She suggested journaling or discussing these questions with peers.

“Talk about the stuff that matters to you and with your peers, if you have some friends, or some people that you can talk to that can make an agreement with you that will take turns saying theirs,” Cape said. “Neither one of us has to have answers, we just need to say it.” 

The way to heal in traumatic times, Cape said, is simple. Find out things about yourself: what you need, what’s scary and what are you experiencing that’s too big for you.

According to Cape, you begin the problem solving process after identifying these things. 

For this part of the process, Gish jumped in to share the following website and app resources in the comments section for everyone in digital attendance to have access: 

·  www.lifelongyou.net

·  www.Mindful.org

·  https://selfleadership.org/

·  www.adultchildren.org

·  www.psychologytoday.com

·  www.goodtherapy.org

·  www.nedratawwab.com

·  Marco Polo – interactive short videos, like texting via video

·  YouTube – The Holistic Psychologist

·  Mindful app – resources for mindfulness lifestyle

·  AllTrails – hiking trails app

·  MindBody app – local fitness organizations

·  Lifelong You Therapy and Coaching, Laurie Cape, MA, LPCC, Bowling Green, Kentucky 

“I think it doesn’t always feel traumatic, because you can still get groceries, the electricity still works, no place has been flooded, there aren’t people dying on our doorsteps,” Gish had said whilst introducing the lecture. “But if you look at the news, it’s kind of this low grade trauma for a lot of people.”

News reporter Abbey Nutter can be reached at [email protected] wku.edu. Follow her on Twitter at @abbeynutter.