Issue #8 - September 15, 2011  

Counseling Comments & Insights from
Debbra Bronstad, MS   

Marriage & Family Therapist Intern

Grief Recovery Specialist

Life Coach 

Serving men, women, children and couples in San Luis Obispo County  

(805) 242-3569 

In This Issue
Trauma & Grief
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Arroyo Grande  



(805) 242-3569 

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World Trade Center 9/11 Attack
World Trade Center 9/11 Attack 2001

Over the 9/11 tenth anniversary weekend I spent several hours watching the History Channel back-to-back documentaries about what happened and how it impacted the victims, their families, our nation and the first responders.

As a grief counselor, I was especially interested in how people came to terms with the tragedy and its impact on their lives. 

In the interviews with family members of several who died that day, I observed signs that they had made peace with the past and had moved on.  They were able to smile and laugh at their remembrances of their loved one.  There were tears, but they didn't appear to be tortured by them.

In contrast, in interviews with firefighters and other first responders to the World Trade Center attack, I noticed several interviewees becoming unwilling to continue to talk when they recalled certain events. 

It was clear that the trauma of that day was still fresh. Some even mentioned common trauma symptoms such as nightmares, withdrawing from activities they once enjoyed and feeling a sense of isolation from their previous social support.


Unresolved trauma has hindered their recovery from grief.


Traumatic experiences usually involve a threat to your life or physical safety. Any situation that causes you to feel overwhelmed and helpless can result in trauma, even if the result is not physical harm. 


Your subjective emotional experience of the event is the key factor that determines whether you are traumatized by the event. When there is trauma, the mind and body remain in a state of shock that hinders healing.  The trauma is often retriggered by external reminders and memories of the event.



A stressful event can be traumatic if:

  • You were unprepared for it.
  • It happened unexpectedly
  • It happened repeatedly
  • Someone was intentionally cruel.
  • You felt powerless to prevent it.
  • It happened in childhood

Click here for the complete article on my website 

including additional info:


Symptoms of Trauma 

When You Should Seek Professional Help 

9/11 Memorial
Click the picture for more info on the 9/11 Memorial

At the end of the day on Sunday, the History Channel documentary focused on the making of the 9/11 Memorial.  What was once a place of horror and unimaginable human suffering has been transformed into a tranquil park of  remembrance.  There is peace and calm there today in a beautiful setting. 



I have been helping people get peace and calm for memories of childhood and adult trauma for over 12 years. When the trauma is resolved, you can move forward to heal the pain of loss. These memories can be transformed to neutralize the pain so that what remains is a testimony to healing and growth.   


If you've experienced any type of trauma that still disturbs you or affects your relationships, please give me a call at (805) 242-3569 so we can talk about a path toward healing.  


Do you know someone who has experienced trauma and still suffering?  Please forward this email to them.




I look forward to meeting you sometime soon - in person, or by phone or email.
Best regards,



Debbra Bronstad

Debbra Bronstad, MS  (805) 242-3569

Marriage & Family Therapist Intern IMF 62480
Certified Grief Recovery Specialist
Supervisor: Sandra Sawyer, LCSW, LCS 12477