Below is a podcast from the presentation of “Post-Traumatic Stress.” For the various counseling options available from this material visit

  • The “Post-Traumatic Stress” seminar is also available in video format.

NOTE: Many people have asked how they can get a copy of the seminar notebook referenced in this verbal presentation. You can request a copy from Summit’s admin over counseling at (please note this is an administrative account; no individual or family counsel is provided through e-mail).

Chapter 2
I Can’t Forget and Don’t Want to Remember
ACKNOWLEDGE the specific history and realness of my suffering.

“I will look at my life and acknowledge what has happened as my history. I will not try to move forward out of a false history or with no history. I trust that God can and will redeem what is and what has been. Evidencing my faith in God I acknowledged my specific history to [name; counselor or group]. This brought great fear [describe] and then relief [describe].”

Memorize: Psalm 102:4-11 (ESV), “My heart is struck down like grass and has withered; I forget to eat my bread. Because of my loud groaning my bones cling to my flesh. I am like a desert owl of the wilderness, like an owl of the waste places; I lie awake; I am like a lonely sparrow on the housetop. All the day my enemies taunt me; those who deride me use my name for a curse. For I eat ashes like bread and mingle tears with my drink, because of your indignation and anger; for you have taken me up and thrown me down. My days are like an evening shadow; I wither away like grass.” As you memorize this passage reflect upon these key points:

  • Psalm 102 – God placed this psalm in Scripture so you would know you could be honest with him and yourself.
  • “Heart is struck down” – The memory of what the psalmist experienced immediately saps his strength.
  • “Desert owl” – The imagery of these two birds is meant to convey the utter aloneness felt by the psalmist.
  • “I lie awake” – The psalmist’s memories leaves him both powerless and unable to sleep (feeling unable to recooperate).
  • “You have… thrown me down” – The psalmist feels like God is spiking him like a football as a punishment.

Teaching Notes

“Though the single most common therapeutic error is avoidance of the traumatic material, probably the second most common error is premature or precipitate engagement in exploratory work, without sufficient attention to the task of establishing safety in securing a therapeutic alliance (p. 172).” Judith Hermann in Trauma and Recovery

“The damages suffered may have been done in one or more terrible moments; the healing and restoration unfolds at a human pace. It unfolds at your pace. It unfolds as a part of your story, and it unfolds over time (p. 3).” David Powlison in Recovering from Child Abuse

“Abuse victims and those who seek to minister to them must understand the way abuse impacts the soul before a plan for healing can be mapped out. All too often, well-meaning Christians spout Bible verses to cure very complex problems such as abuse. Scripture does give us a path to healing, but we cannot use Scripture properly until we have a keen grasp of the nature of abuse and the damage that needs to be healed (p. 12-13).” Steven R. Tracy in Mending the Soul

“Denial is an affront to God. It assumes that a false reality is better than the truth. It assumes that God is neither good nor strong enough to help during the recall process. Ultimately, the choice to face the past memories is a choice not to live a lie (p. 202).” Dan Allender in The Wounded Heart

“Part of being in the truth is calling things by their right names. That means evil is not ‘just a little mistake,’ and lies are not ‘fudging’ (p. 79).” Diane Langberg in On the Threshold of Hope

“The purpose of memory work is to afford the survivor a safe place in which to tell the truth about her life so that truth can be integrated into the whole of her life and its accompanying lies can be exposed (p. 124-125).” Diane Langberg in Counseling Survivors of Sexual Abuse

“When we remember the past, it is not only past; it breaks into the present and gains a new lease on life (p. 21)… Because we can react to our memories and shape them, we are larger than our memories. If our reaction to our memories were determined simply by the memories themselves, then we would be slaves of the past (p. 25).” Miroslav Volf in The End of Memory

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