Heal trauma and toxic stress
with a powerful therapeutic writing practice
A gentle yet in-depth guided course to transform the lasting impact of traumatic experiences, based on cutting-edge neuroscience
A self-paced program using Neural Re-Narrating™: a therapeutic approach combining writing, breathing and mindfulness techniques to process trauma while actively soothing your nervous system.
Comprises eight transformational modules.Sign Up
“The missing tools I needed to not only survive, but thrive.
An inner-flourishing toolkit I could use right away to soothe my anxiety, stop ruminating thoughts, and simply feel better.”
—Rozanne Whalen, participant, New Orleans
When life gets tough, do you feel like you’re thrown off balance? Like you’re going to unravel?
Small challenges might leave you distressed and anxious.
Perhaps you struggle to manage your feelings around conflict. Or when facing uncertainty.
You might be easily agitated, or hurt
You’re ruminating: replaying worries or emotionally painful moments in your mind.
Living in the past, or projecting into the future.
And then your relationships suffer.
You find you’re not the friend you wish you were – not the parent you want to be to your children.
The result? You’re never fully engaged in the present moment.
You hold deep within you the internal resources to help you flourish. To love and care for yourself.
It’s no secret that difficult experiences – especially those in early life – can affect us years, even decades, later.
Perhaps you had a difficult, unstable home life.
Or simply had no one in your life you could trust in moments of need.
Perhaps you were put down or bullied.
Or lost a loved one growing up.
It’s been proven that trauma and chronic stress in early life can have a physiological impact on the developing brain. But you might question how that knowledge helps you today, without practical steps to address emotional overwhelm.
In my work as a neuroscience journalist, I’ve learned that your biology, and your past, are not your destiny. Our brains can be rewired. We can forge new beneficial pathways that help relieve stress.
This course will teach you how to tap into that healing inner-self, every day.
“Worth every moment...
As a learning specialist who teaches students about the power of retraining their brains, I was excited to take Donna's course.
With Donna's expert guidance, I found myself retraining my own brain and opening my heart to myself in ways I could not have foreseen.”
—Sarah Judd, learning specialist
Your Healing Narrative uses my Neural Re-Narrating™ process, a unique approach that will help you:
- Acquaint yourself with parts of your story you haven’t yet examined – the positive, as well as the negative
- Reconnect with positive experiences from your past
- Allow difficult feelings to safely emerge, while applying powerful new self-soothing techniques and engaging in healing approaches
- Override the brain’s old, habitual reactions like rumination, self-criticism and self-blame
- Replace harmful, negative thoughts with a more realistic and positive view of who you truly are
It’s a course, but it’s also a story – your story – rewritten, re-examined, and internalized for a new, healthier, more nurturing relationship with yourself.
With this course you'll develop a new, more nurturing way of being with yourself. A wellspring of healing approaches you'll automatically draw on when things get tough.
You’ll also have a physical record of your journey.
The exercises you complete will guide you in creating a collection of personal sketches, drawings, stream-of-consciousness and reflective writing…
You can refer back to this body of work, review the progress you’ve made, and even add to it, as you move through your life with the healing tools you’ve internalized.Start writing Your Healing Narrative – get the course
You may feel you don’t have time for this program.
But it won’t serve you to set aside your own healing journey.
I believe there comes a magical moment in everyone’s healing journey when you realize you aren’t broken. You never were.
In my 30-year career I’ve been dedicated to exploring the latest discoveries at the intersection of neuroscience, emotion, the mind-body connection and human well-being.
I’ve also faced a number of challenging life experiences, stressors and trauma.
This course is a synthesis of all of the skills I’ve learned along my lifelong journey toward healing.
A structured program of learning – and practical exercises – can be so valuable when feeling overwhelmed, facing time constraints, or lacking access to more expensive approaches.
Your Healing Narrative is based on the program I’ve taught live over the course of many years – to thousands of physicians, healthcare workers, practitioners and individuals. I’ve seen the power of doing this important, trauma-healing work, and I know it first-hand from my own experience.
Using new self-nurturing skills, and a more positive reframe of your life experiences, and yourself, you'll harness the proven neurobiological anti-inflammatory power of the mind-body connection.
I’ve never seen another program that can allow you to do this so effectively without the cost of in-person therapy.
How does the course work?
Your brain works a lot like a computer system: taking in all the input it gets, including the messages that you send yourself via your own thoughts. Your habits of self-talk and beliefs about yourself are like the software program that your brain runs on.
In the study of mind-body medicine there is a concept known as the ‘floating brain’– the complex network of immune responses, hormone markers, and various inflammatory chemicals and messenger molecules that the brain uses to send information to the body.
The simple act of writing about an emotional state, such as fear, anger, frustration, or shame, influences your physical and emotional state, via this network or “floating brain.”
Research shows that writing about challenging events helps to bring trauma out of the body by getting it on the page.
In my 30 years as a science journalist I’ve developed writing prompts to elicit my interviewees’ most deeply felt emotions, memories, and insights. These, coupled with science-based writing-to-heal and mindfulness techniques, comprise the process of “Neural Re-Narrating™. It’s this process I’ve taught live over many years, and it’s the process I teach in the course.
1. Recognize old, painful thought patterns.
Through this program, I take you on a journey that will help you recognize old, painful thought patterns; examine your internalized stories about yourself and the world; observe how your history of adversity may be affecting your current health, relationships, work, and well-being; and begin rewriting your inner story.
2. Develop new, healthier responses.
By working within my guided structure at your own pace, you’ll practice writing-to-heal techniques coupled with science-based trauma healing interventions and mindfulness methods, so that you can override your brain’s old, habitual reactions and begin to create new, healthier responses that change the brain and nervous system.
3. Create a powerful healing narrative.
You’ll begin to uncover your internal resources for resiliency and create a new, more powerful and resonant healing narrative that will help you to flourish in your current life, even in the face of challenges and adversity.
“Donna is a trustworthy, warm, and welcoming guide.
She encourages you toward creative expression, self-care, and self-kindness through simple but powerful practices that help you to reflect on the past, stay anchored in the present, and feel new hope for the future.”
—Christine White, ACEsConnection, Heal Write Now, South Shore, Massachusetts
“As a therapist I benefited personally from taking this journey.
The chance to delve into the ‘hot’ or ‘sticky’ spots in one’s emotional landscape through expressive writing is a promising and exciting approach... Donna compassionately fosters each individual’s ability to explore past adversity from a newly grounded sense of self.”
—Amy Karlen, Ph.D., psychotherapist, Baltimore
The course is entirely self-paced.
If you commit to just 10-15 minutes per day, or a single session per week (45-90 minutes), the course will take 8 weeks to complete.
The course contains:
- 8 modules
- 100+ bite-sized lessons, including...
- 12 instructional videos with notes and transcripts
- 10 meditation and breathing exercise videos with written transcripts
- 10+ audio mindfulness exercises and activities with written transcripts
- 20+ writing prompts and exercises
How you’ll take this program depends on your time and your tolerance for working through your emotions and past experiences.
The course should be taken at a pace that feels right for you.
I ask you to commit to daily self-care for the duration of the course, to truly support your healing. For example, you could commit to doing one writing, meditation or breathing exercise included in each module for a few quiet moments each day.
Each section contains educational materials, writing exercises, and ends with a soothing, healing, mind-body breathing or meditation practice.
The program offers 8 lessons:
- Preparing for Your Healing Journey
This lesson teaches you tools for taking care of yourself, meeting any interior resistance to self-compassion, and calming your physical and mental state while you take this course.
Looking Back at Your Story
45 mins - 1 hour
You’ll learn why childhood experience matters, and take a look at ACEs and related factors. You’ll complete four questionnaires to get a brief overview of experiences you had in childhood, both challenging and positive. You’ll set an intention for the course.
Why Write to Heal?
Understand the latest neuroscience on how adversity affects the brain, body, and nervous system in ways that can harm your health, and why writing-to-heal is such a powerful technique for helping to reset.
- Beginning Your Healing Journey
I'll guide you through deeper writing prompts as you begin recalling memories, feelings, and emotions from childhood, and examine your internalized stories about yourself and the world. You'll also learn a series of new “take home” self-calming exercises to help you whenever you are feeling overwhelmed.
Finding Your Benefactors
1 hour - 1 hour 30 minutes
You’ll identify positive experiences in your childhood when “benefactors”, or trusted adults, helped you to feel safe, seen and valued. You’ll learn how to call upon these positive emotions and feelings for inner solace and support.
- Naming Your Feelings
1 hour - 1 hour 30 minutes
You’ll learn why naming feelings is important and how doing so helps to rewire your brain. You’ll also learn simple but powerful techniques and “take home” strategies to recognize, override, and replace old thought patterns, and begin to draw upon powerful new interior resources.
- Comforting Your Inner Child
45 minutes - 1 hour
This lesson teaches you about the power that self-talk has on how you feel and on your health, as well as learn several new Neural Re-Narrating™️ practices to create more positive, healthier self-messaging.
- Call to Action
1 hour - 1 hour 30 minutes
As you complete the course with this lesson, you'll learn a few last Neural Re-Narrating™️ techniques that will help you to find deeper layers of calm, clarity, and ways to recenter yourself, even during life's most difficult moments.
“A must-do course… A practical tutorial in healing.
Donna has long been at the forefront of our understanding of the body and mind’s responses to adverse experiences, and how to harness the brain’s plasticity to build internal resilience.
She gently and masterfully escorts us through exercises with the proven potential to transform health treatment outcomes, by rewriting our inner stories.”
—Andrea Nakayama, functional medicine nutritionist, founder, president, clinical director, Functional Nutrition Alliance