3 Signals Of Healing To Watch For

By Marshall Burtcher.

Real healing is organic and emergent.

Put another way, we discover healing has happened.

In my work, there are four specific signals that students and I watch for.

These signals inform us about the effectiveness of the tools and practices we’re using.  They also help us begin to see the return on the investments of time, energy, and resources in one’s personal healing work.

Seeing these signals helps build confidence in the natural ability to heal we each have, identify where a change is needed, and where things are succeeding.

What are those four signals?  They are:

Signal One: The Gap

Signal Two: Reduction in the frequency, duration, or intensity of emotional pain

Signal Three: Shift in behaviors

Signal Four: Resolution of pain

Let’s look at each one below:

Signal One: The Gap

The Gap is the space between where you started and where you are now.  In healing work, the gap shows up as a sense of change within yourself.  You can see where you are and how you’ve changed and grown since.  It is often revealed when the person notices they’ve had a long run of sustained changes in their experience.

Signal Two: Reduction in the Frequency, Duration, or Intensity of Emotional Pain

Real healing is about processing the emotional or somatic elements of our experience in a way that results in the gradual reduction of the pain you feel in response to those past or present experiences.  This is often experienced as a sense of “less than before”. 

This shows up in three ways:

  • Frequency: The amount of times it shows up gets smaller and smaller over time.  It doesn’t happen as often
  • Duration: This is seeing the drop in time it took for you to move through the activation and return to a regulated state than in previous experiences
  • Intensity:  The intensity is less, creating a sense of the emotion being more dull or less engulfing

Signal Three: Shift in behaviors

This is where you find yourself behaving differently than you have previously in similar situations.  One example from my life is the lack of hesitation I have in saying no to things I don’t want to do.  It used to be something I’d have to take time with, as I would be analyzing all the possible outcomes and consequences.  These days, it just comes out of my mouth. “Nope. I don’t want to.”  

This shift in behavior is a reflection of the work of healing the pain and hurt I carried from being hurt and harmed by saying no.  The pain and fear is no longer there, thus the protected behavior is no longer activated.  

Signal Four: Resolution of pain

This is where you notice you no longer feel the pain, panic, or trauma response come up when you encounter a situation or subject that previously evoked those responses.  This happens when the pain of the event is fully integrated and retired in your body.  

This is often what most of us are working for in our healing efforts.  This, however, is not something I encourage a person to try for.  We cannot control if this happens or not.  It is decided by the body on it’s time frame – if it ever does choose it.

This perspective has helped me avoid the trap of thinking I’m not healing or that I’m failing.  It has supported me in seeing my progress and helped promote deeper care and love for myself.  

Use these four signals to help you recognize, track, and celebrate your healing progress.  Remember, the goal is to care for yourself regardless of what is making progress or isn’t.  That is what we need 100% of the time.  

What are you seeing in your healing journey so far?  

Share below!

Go gently in your healing,

Marshall Burtcher, Codependency Healing Expert. Marshall helps codependents, people-pleasers, and perfectionists stop fixing themselves and start loving themselves. Take his free workshop, “The How To Heal Codependency Permanently” by clicking here: https://workshop.freetheself.com

1 Response

  1. Susan says:

    Just today I noticed I process and release various things more quickly. Perfect timing to read your article to clarify my realization.

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