How are survivors affected by the constant news of NFL domestic violence and child abuse? Is this kind of stressful awareness and triggers of past emotional pain healthy?

The Joyful Heart Foundation…A Message from Mariska… It all started for me when I began my work on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit over a decade ago. In my research for my role, I encountered statistics that shocked me: One in three women report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives. Every two minutes in the United States, someone is sexually assaulted. More than five children die every day in this country as a result of child abuse and neglect, and up to 15 million children witness domestic violence in their homes each year.

The Joyful Heart Foundation…  Quote from this website article…

“Families or individuals who have experienced domestic violence are in the process of healing both physically and emotionally from multiple traumas. These traumas can have various effects on the mind, body and spirit. It is natural to experience these, and acknowledging the effects can be an important first step in embarking on a process towards restoration and healing.

People who are exposed to domestic violence often experience physical, mental or spiritual shifts that can endure and worsen if they are not addressed. According to a study done by the Centers for Disease Control, nearly three in every 10 women—about 32 million—and one in 10 men in the United States who experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner reported at least one measured impact or effect related to forms of violent behavior in that relationship.1


I am a survivor of domestic violence and child abuse…a lifelong journey of healing is a work in progress…  I noticed this past two weeks with all the news and video clips pounding away at my mind, that my usually upbeat disposition was starting to change for the worse.  It became difficult for me to keep the images and feelings of past emotional pain at a safe distance.  The images of childhood traumatic experiences started to appear much more frequently and put me back in a depressed mental state.  Eventually my healing therapy and training kicked in and I started talking about my feelings with my wife and a close trusted friend.  This was the first step in getting back on track as indicated in the above quote, “ acknowledging the effects can be an important first step in embarking on a process towards restoration and healing.

My close and trusted friend, Byron Lewis, is also a student of NLP.   Byron has written several articles for this blog about NLP (click on highlighted text for more on these alternative treatment strategies for trauma victims) and the therapy value of practicing techniques that can be very effective.

Just today over coffee, Byron, reminded me of one such NLP technique that addresses the images of pain from past traumatic events so that they are not all consuming and powerful.  It works this way…  When the image appears or as soon as you become aware of the image, keep it pictured in your mind and focus on the experience.  Next then, if the image is moving, freeze the frame. If the image is in color, make the image black and white, then look away.  Once the image has changed, try moving to look at it from a different position as if it is projected on a screen. Practice this technique over and over again whenever the painful image appears…  The ultimate result is the image will no longer have power over your thought process…you are then back in control of the present mindfulness of living in the moment…

For me, the journey of healing from a traumatic past is always a work in progress.  Human connectedness, including support from family and friends is truly the best way to keep the emotional pain from the past at a safe distance.  Trying to remove the pain of these images with denial never works and it takes so much longer to heal.  Being proactive and completely aware of post trauma symptoms is the very first step in healing.   Good luck on your own journey of healing…

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1…  Click on the highlighted text for my author page…


Something Different to Calm Your Soul… Download “free” ebook…

Ananga Sivyer… “We are meant for so much more than to merely exist, to worry over bills, to feel stressed and exhausted. We have the rare gift of a human life, the chance to explore our core potential, to learn, to live with purpose, and to cultivate our spiritual nature.”

“Beautiful Calm…” Click here for more. Quote from this website…by Ananga Sivyer

“That all changed in 2003 when a sudden illness put me to bed and I was “forced” to reflect and put  what I had learned into practice. As the months and years rolled by with me largely confined to my own home I learned how to reframe the experience and, for the most part, I didn’t feel confined at all. I learned to journey far and wide in my own mind; to walk, run and swim, to travel and explore. And beyond that, I learned to find my calm centre, to work with my breath, to ease physical pain and to relax more deeply than I ever thought possible.” ***** Finding stories that reinforce the journey of healing is a favorite past-time and critical to my own peace of mind.  It is also exceedingly inspirational to read stories of individuals who find their own unique ways of healing from traumatic events in life.  The story of Ananga Sivyer (click here) from the UK is such an example of the power of mindfulness and alternative treatment strategies that evolve sometimes in magical ways from the very soul…often unexplainable…but demonstrated in the lives of sufferers who survive and thrive.

Download “Transition to Calm”  Click here or download from my sidebar…

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story… Click highlighted text for my author page…

“The Road Back” in life after trauma… Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) research for PTSD treatment is gaining traction in America!



“The Road Back” in life after trauma… Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) research for PTSD treatment is gaining traction in America!

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author

The Road Back…  The following is a quote from an article on the Research\Articles page of this website. The article, written by Byron Lewis, was first published on my blog as a three-part series: Reconsolidation of Traumatic Memories: A New Treatment for PTSD…

“This article is presented in three parts. The first describes research into underlying mechanisms of the brain that result in the formation of the disorder. The second introduces the basis for a unique state-of-the-art treatment based on that research. The third part demonstrates how the technique is applied. Throughout these articles certain words are highlighted with links to additional information if you want to read more.”



The Neurolinguistic Programming Research and Recognition Project (NLP R & R) has recently launched its Facebook page. The current focus is “The Road Back” from PTSD, a treatment research pilot program currently underway in Middletown, NY. The Road Back page has links to articles, resources and videos of the procedure in action as well as short narratives like the one below:

“I am a veteran Marine Officer who was combat decorated in Viet Nam. I have been on meds for decades, but the side-effects have sometimes been very difficult to deal with. My time with VA outpatient clinic was very helpful but never resolved the nightmares, sleep disorder and “combat guilt which the RTM Protocol resolved in two days. Doctor Bourke and his team, in my opinion, have a treatment and counseling methodology which complements the VA approach WITHOUT the ‘meds’.”

Click the following link to join us in exploring this promising short term and cost effective treatment option for those who suffer from symptoms of PTSD:

For more information and to watch a short video on the goals of the project, go to an online article by Times Herald-Record writer Nathan Brown’s article at:

For more on NLP, visit the NLP Encyclopedia NLP WIKI at


Byron Lewis and I have been close friends for over 8 years and learned of our mutual interest in PTSD treatment strategies over 3 years ago when starting research for my first non-fiction book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Byron assisted me in the research by pointing to a treatment strategy currently gaining popularity in the U.S., NLP…”Neurolinguistic Programming.”  Byron Lewis authored his own book, Magic of NLP Demystified and wrote a three-part series (part 1) guest articles on my blog… If you like what you read, click links for part 2 and part 3.  Byron also wrote an introduction in my book connecting my own transformational writing therapy to his experience with NLP,  “Language is a remarkably powerful instrument for affecting personal change…”

Connecting the dots of my writing therapy and new perceptions to NLP did not resonate with me at first.  We can now talk about emotional challenges connected with life after trauma as a journey of healing.  Healing is driven by proactive engagement with others and making a difference as a healthy and wholesome way to keep the pain of past trauma at a safe distance.  We can even change the brain chemistry back to a happy place most of the time if we stay engaged, aware, and connected with ourselves.   Stay tuned for more detailed posts on the subject of NLP research from guest blogger, Byron Lewis.

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story…




Byron Lewis, Author, writes a three part series on Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) therapy…a case study…

Byron Lewis
Author of The Magic of NLP Demystified
and Sobriety Demystified


This blog is being presented in three parts. The first will introduce you to Alex who suffers from symptoms of PTSD. The second reviews some of the research into the mechanisms of the brain that result in formation of PTSD and introduces a unique state-of-the-art treatment based on that research. The third part demonstrates how and why this treatment works. Throughout these postings I have highlighted certain words with links to additional information if you want to read more.
Part 1:  The Symptoms of PTSD


Alex retired from the Army following two deployments to Iraq. Although he had returned home to a loving wife and two young daughters, Alex is having trouble adjusting to civilian life. He feels guilty that he can’t seem to find a job. There have been too many arguments with his wife about money, and he is increasingly irritable about little things. He has trouble sleeping; sometimes even the thought of going to bed makes him nervous, because of the nightmares that leave him sweaty and shaking. He can’t get the memory of the sight of three of his buddies after their PC hit a land mine out of his head. He feels his life is spinning out of control and wonders if he is going crazy.


Like many other returning veterans, Alex is suffering from symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In order to be diagnosed with PTSD, an individual must have experienced a traumatic event or events that resulted in or threatened death, serious injury or bodily harm, and the person’s response to the event was intense feelings of horror, fear or helplessness. This experience resulted in specific clusters of symptoms that cause significant distress or discomfort and often impact the individual in many areas of life long after the original trauma.


Alex sits in a comfortable chair in the office of a therapist who specializes in PTSD treatment. He is a little nervous, because he knows the therapist uses something called Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP). Although what he had read about NLP on Wikipedia has left him skeptical, his wife insists that he try, because their good friend had gone through the process and in just a few sessions had made incredible progress.


The therapist spends a few minutes talking with Alex. Alex finds the guy is OK and decides he will give this a go. The therapist asks him several questions about his symptoms and makes notes in a file. “Yes,” he says, “you meet the criteria for a PTSD diagnosis.” Then he tells Alex that the NLP process involves visualizations and asks Alex to picture a few things in his mind. At one point he tells Alex to imagine himself doing something he enjoys. While he doesn’t know the point of the exercise, he goes along with it just the same and remembers a fun day at the beach with his family when he was a young teen.

Tomorrow’s blog will focus on PTSD brain research and will introduce Alex to a unique and highly effective treatment based on that research.