Foster Parents Can Help Children Heal Trauma

Kathi Sohn
8 min readFeb 22, 2022

--

David William Sohn died when he was 14 years old. Then he came back…

In the hospital on Vandenberg Air Force Base, one cold morning in 1961, baffled doctors had resorted to experimental drugs as they struggled to save their young patient from double staph pneumonia. It appeared they had failed, as David’s father sat quietly next to his son. Suddenly, Henry Sohn noticed a flicker on one of the monitors. David had made his way back to eventually give the world an incredible gift.

The greatest gift anyone can give is love. As a specific way of sharing love, foster parents can play a powerful role in preparing the children in their care for a brighter future, free from destructive behavior patterns that can so easily be created out of the trauma and turmoil in their young lives.

Inspired by his own near-death experience and wellness journey — after years of concern by medical professionals over the resulting condition of his scarred lungs, David created a process for people to discover the decisions they made very early in life. David had been told by doctors for years that he would never truly be well or in good physical condition. Railing against this, David began his quest for wellness by graduating from college then stepping vigorously into the human potential movement. It was this era that inspired holistic health care as we know it today and the concept of wellness as a lifestyle that anyone can adapt to live a very long, healthy, and productive life. David spent years in trainings, including studies with Far Eastern Vedic masters.

The result of David’s search for answers resulted in his creation of the Body Memory Process — a valuable tool for anyone willing to take a close enough look at their personal journey to find answers to current life challenges. This process involves discovering childhood vows and then releasing them during a 90-day homework process. Early trauma is stored at a cellular level and can be accessed during a deeply meditative or relaxed state. The key to the Body Memory Process is that because cells always regenerate themselves, we can release the stored energy and replace it with something new.

Even seemingly “good vows” should be released because they are life-limiting. For example, if I have the vow I’ll always be happy — what happens when I’m not happy? There is always a physical price to pay for either keeping or breaking the vow. Either I obey the vow and stay happy, even when I should be mourning or processing something — or I break the vow and be sad, feeling the loss of energy that comes from breaking a vow.

What is a childhood vow? Children create their reality by interactions with parents, siblings, caregivers and teachers. As infants and children, we make prelogical decisions about how “I am…” how “they are…” and how “life is…” based on traumatic and significant events in our young lives. We carry these decisions, or vows, with us into adulthood. Many research papers and books have been written on the impact of trauma and learning on the creation of body memory. Children are often traumatized by the dramas they create as their prelogical minds seek to understand their world. They are also always learning and thus most vulnerable to the creation of prelogical conclusions about the world, or vows.

Children in foster care are extremely susceptible to creating childhood vows because their experiences since birth can be especially traumatizing. Here are some examples of common ones that arise from the condition these children face:

Nobody wants me.

I never do anything right.

Something must be wrong with me.

Everyone I love always leaves me.

If I don’t get out of here I’m going to die.

I’m not good enough.

It’s all my fault.

They hurt me.

Vows can be discovered by examining both subjective and objective information. Whatever foster parents might know about the background of the child is very important to vow discovery. There is also a very easy way to learn someone’s vows and that is to “listen them.”

When David Sohn would sit down with a client for a Discovery Session, he would begin by “listening them” (as opposed to “listening to” them). The difference is when you “listen” someone you are paying very close attention to all they are saying, resisting the temptation to be distracted by your own premature opinions about what you are hearing and what you want to add to the conversation.

David would say that if you make your own energy small enough to allow someone to talk from a very deep level, they will tell you their life script. Vows will often pop up during the opening discussion in the discovery session. For example, someone could say “My father would always get so angry, and I’d just know it was due to either something I did or something I didn’t do.” The vow, I never do anything right is an example of a self-destructive belief that could manifest in adult life as someone who often gets in trouble at work, with the law, or with their spouse.

The following is a client story that illustrates the power of the childhood vow in a potentially life-threatening case.

Donna was at the point where she didn’t want to look in the mirror any longer. She had gone to several specialists, but they were all baffled because they could find no cause for Donna’s several signs of rapid aging. Her skin became increasingly wrinkled and her hair brittle and thinning — at 44 she felt decrepit and had very little energy.

Donna never really believed in anything other than Western medicine but decided that considering its failure to help her, she would give an alternative approach a try. During her work with the Body Memory Process, Donna recounted a persistent memory from her early childhood.

She would wake up in the middle of the night and see the lights still on outside her bedroom door and hear her parents shouting at each other. Upon further exploration, she remembered telling herself I’ll never live in a house like this!

Donna grew up to one day find herself living in a house where there was a lot of conflict and loud arguing with her spouse. Her circumstances prevented the possibility of a divorce and moving elsewhere, so she found herself breaking the vow she had made as a child. The only way to keep the vow, I’ll never live in a house like this would be to die in order to escape, so she began to die by aging quickly.

Donna completed the 90-days of Body Memory Process homework and her premature aging slowed and then actually reversed itself! The doctors continued to be stumped, but Donna knew that she had been able to release the vow that was creating her condition and was able to deal with her situation as an adult, not herself as a frightened, confused child.

What is the 90 days of homework that you could help guide your foster child through?

The homework is actually quite simple, just not easy because the brain resists change! Whether they realize it or not, many people would rather suffer in a familiar situation than take the risk to make a change. Those who have the courage to take this risk reap great rewards.

The Body Memory Process homework is a three-pronged approach to emptying the physical cup (disavowals), the mental cup (affirmations) and the spiritual cup (forgiveness). “Emptying the cup” is a reference to the proverbial story of the master teacher who pours the student an over-flowing cup of tea and states, “I cannot teach you anything because your mind is already full with what you think you know — just like this cup.”

Disavowals are done twice a day for 90 days and begin with “I disavow…” before each of the vows on the list of vows from the discovery process. For example, I disavow I never do anything right.

Affirmations are done with an open notebook in which you write the affirmation on the left page and then write all the brain’s response on the right page. After the response page is full, burn it, as this purifies the energy.

Here are some common affirmations for foster children to explore: I am perfect just the way I am, People love me just the way I am, Life is easy, and There is always enough for me.

The purpose of forgiveness is to give up the right or desire to punish or change someone. There have been amazing accounts of the power of forgiveness, including the person being forgiven suddenly calling after not being heard from for a long time. David would demonstrate this in workshops, having two people push their hands against each other then one suddenly stop pushing. The other person ends up moving toward the person who suddenly stopped pushing. Forgiveness is accomplished by writing down 70 times per day for seven days in a row, I [name] completely forgive [name]. This formula of 70 x 7 is provided in biblical scripture and seven is known to be a number of completion. When the seven days of forgiveness are completed, burn the papers to purify the energy. If a day is skipped, the process must be started over.

Many people who were traumatized very early in life and have been able to move through and heal those experiences grow up to become a “wounded healer” — someone who is able to help and heal others through their powerful personal experiences and willingness to rise above those experiences.

Being a foster parent is an incredible opportunity to make a huge impact on the life of a young person and not only meet their current needs, but also help shape who they become in the future.

Much more in-depth information and resources are available at bodymemoryprocess.com.

Kat Sohn

Kat Sohn is a Life Coach, public speaker and writer, and the CEO of Body Memory Process, LLC. After the passing of her beloved husband David Sohn in late 2019, Kat retired from a 36-year career with the federal government to focus on raising their two children, Benjamin (12) and Sarah (8) and continuing David’s novel work, the Body Memory Process. To share this powerful healing process as widely as possible, Kat has created courses, articles and seminars about the work. You can learn more about the Body Memory Process at bodymemoryprocess.com.

What is a Childhood Vow — YouTube

Happiness and Joy During Turbulent Times https://medium.com/authority-magazine/happiness-and-joy-during-turbulent-times-kathi-sohn-of-body-memory-process-on-how-to-live-with-680ad36bcd68

--

--

Kathi Sohn

Core belief expert and life coach; I love to help parents connect and communicate with their children in a way that creates calm and cooperation in the home.