Physical Trauma as Emotional Healing. Case study of a 'broken heart' manifesting as a bruised sternum.


A man came to me because his body was riddled with aches from a series of repeated car accidents. A ‘series’ of ‘accidents’ is always a big clue that something deeper is at work. As he told his story, he was convinced that he simply needed mechanical release of trauma from the tissues, and perhaps some energetic work to get the stagnant energy flowing. There was no emotional component that he could think of.

Trauma can be a call to awakening, but we need to stand back and allow ourselves to see the vastness of the whole constellation.

We are not machines stumbling through the void, colliding with other machines. We are oceans.

As we explored the event, the pain kept surfacing in the chest, the emotional center. As I touched it, he winced and shuddered.

Is it possible to just ‘bump the sternum’ without there being an emotional component?

He remembered, through conversation, regression, touch, that when the incident occurred, he was driving away from a party where he’d just found out his partner was having an affair. He sobbed and slammed into another car; the steering wheel slammed into his heart. Somehow, that detail had been buried in consciousness.

One interpretation: The core wound manifested as a physical trauma, because that was what it took to compel him to work on it… physical pain. The true wound was a broken heart. Healing one heals the other, and vice versa.

The emotional pain was not deep enough or urgent enough to catalyze the life change, so the ‘accident’ was summoned to serve its purpose.

Without any drugs, the pain dissolved as we unwound the wound from this perspective over the course of a few months.

The healing finds its way in, often in the ways we least expect. It knocks until we open (on our bones, if need be).

Do you hear it?

Love and flow,


#trauma #somatic #sebastopol #sanfrancisco #pain #therapy