Burning note symbolizing the past for your mental healing

How Does the Past Play a Role in Your Mental Healing?

Mental healing requires that we stay in the present but confront the past honestly.

For those of us healing from a mental health disorder or past trauma, finding a balance between the past and present is challenging. We can only heal when the pain from the past comes into the light. At the same time, getting stuck in the past doesn’t do us any favors today.

The Ranch Pennsylvania has suggestions for walking this sometimes delicate healing path.

There are steps you can take to continue your healing without sinking back into denial about past trauma. Read “Healing from the Past and Living in Your Present,” published online at, for more information.

How to Handle a Rush of Past Memories

Sometimes in recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health disorders, painful memories from the past surface. These could be anything from actual traumatic events or experiences where your mental healing wasn’t taken seriously.

Whatever the source, be kind to yourself as you explore these memories and associated feelings. For more suggestions on how to handle difficult memories, read “How to let go of the past,” published online at

Uncovering difficult memories is painful and exhausting. Don’t discount the amount of energy required for healing. If a rush of memories surfaces in relation to some therapeutic work, try to create a safe place for the feelings.

For instance, let’s say you just finished residential mental health treatment for a depressive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from childhood abuse. Now, out of treatment, more memories are coming up. You may feel as if the lid popped off your past, and events that seemed innocent now have a different appearance.

Stay connected to your mental health professional and other support. Continue to talk about what surfaces. Don’t try to cement the lid back into place.

Instead, make time for these feelings and memories. Maybe take a personal day or set aside a weekend, where you indulge your hurt. Make this time about everything nurturing and allow the feelings a safe place to escape.

During the workweek, managing intense memories is hard. However, knowing there will be a safe time and place in the near future for a release can relieve some of the pressure. If you find it hard to get back to those feelings and memories, talk to your therapist about safe ways to draw them out again. Sometimes, for instance, watching a sad movie, looking at old pictures, or listening to certain music will unstop the cork.

Getting Over the Past for Mental Healing

If you find these memories continue to interfere with daily life, it’s time to ask for additional support. Many evidence-based therapies are available to lessen the sting of painful memories or old, habitual responses to trauma that aren’t serving you any longer. If, for instance, you find dating challenging because of some past trauma from a former relationship, a qualified mental health professional can use therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy or mindfulness.

Learn more at and read “Ask a Therapist: How Do I Deal With Bad Memories That Pop Into My Head? Strategies for Dealing With Memories That Upset You.”

When it comes to mental health and your mental healing, often, a person needs to look into their past to understand how they arrived at their current state. These past experiences, however, don’t need to define our reality today.

The Ranch Pennsylvania is here to help you sort out what is better left behind and what new behaviors will define tomorrow. Call us at 717.969.9126 for more information.

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