World Grief-Transforming Trauma Through the Five Phases

With Guest: Alaine Duncan

Episode Qi148

The airways are full of bad news, fear and conjecture it’s a hit parade of one scary thing after another. This alone would be hard our spirits if you ingest even a portion of the 24 hour media feed. Add on isolation and an unrelenting sense of an inescapable threat, it’s tough on one’s mental and emotional wellbeing.

There is a pervasive sense of grief at the loss of a world that just a few short months ago operated in vastly different way. The physical and social distancing bring their own difficulties, and for anyone who’s carrying some buried away trauma it’s closer to the surface as the veneer of normality is stripped away.

In this conversation with Alaine Duncan we look at how these times more easily surface lingering trauma and perhaps can give us an opportunity to resolve some insures from the past as we work through the challenges of the present.

Listen in as we discuss the importance of attending to the fire/communication phase, and how the difficulties of this time can also be a catalyst for healing and change.
In this conversation we discuss:
  • Lack of control and what arises in us from that experience
  • The neurological response to a sense of inescapable attack
  • What can Chinese medicine practitioners do to work around the virus
  • Helping ourselves and others deal with previous traumas that are returning during coronavirus
  • Heart/Kidney transformation
  • What to do when dealing with trauma during coronavirus and you can’t see/interact with others
  • How do we work through a situation where our whole world is changing very quickly and we are grieving over things we are missing
  • It’s important to be able to orient to a threat
  • The healing power of high regard
Alaine Duncan
I have a unique approach to acupuncture treatment that integrates modern understandings of the neuro-biology of traumatic stress with ancient healing principles from acupuncture and Asian medicine. This clinical fascination has carried my heart and my feet to places and people I never imagined when I graduated from acupuncture school in 1990. The boundary between me and military families, immigrants, refugees, and survivors of natural and human-made disasters has grown more and more thin – and that is a gift of spirit. I love our medicine. I love what it can explain about life and how it can reach people whose life and health resides at the margins.
Asian medicine has a rich place at the interface of individual healing and social transformation. It has a lot of power to restore balance and regulation, not just for individuals, but for how those individuals relate to their families, workplaces, and our communal ballot box. We are pretty important to our planet and all who live on it.

I’m in that Earth phase of life – the time of collecting and distributing the harvest. I have a small practice at Crossings Healing & Wellness in Silver Spring, MD, am Chair of the Board of the National Capital Area Acupuncturists Without Borders chapter – volunteering free stress-reduction services to immigrants, refugees and neighbors in need. I helped develop the Integrative Health & Wellness program at the DC Veterans Administration Medical Center, serving there from 2007 – 2017.


Links and Resources

Visit Alaine's website to learn more about her work and her book.
Here's an article from Alaine's blog that goes into the Five Phases and the self-protective response



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I’ve heard it said that for something to be heard — it takes someone to speak and another to listen.

Michael Max

Acupuncturist, Podcast Host
About me
I've always been more drawn to questions than answers. And the practice of medicine seems to more lively when infused with a sense of curiosity and inquiry. It's been delight and honor to be able to discuss our medicine with so many thoughtful and skilled practitioners.

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