Healing from Trauma, Addiction, and Multiple Loss
Teresa Naseba Marsh


It was that dark night of September 11 that I experienced an epiphany that shook me to my core. This book is a result of my revelations.

As I returned home from work after a long day of tears, fears, and disbelief, my youngest daughter, who was a journalism major, was glued to the television, unable to escape the horrific images of the attack on the twin towers replaying over and over in front of her. She greeted me with fear and terror in her eyes. “Have you seen? Have you seen?” I turned off the television and held her, and she cried. I asked her not to watch any more and explained that she was being traumatized and wounded as she was watching the replaying video.

I am an immigrant mother from Cape Town, South Africa. I have seen it all. I was born into violence. I have witnessed the South African police open fire on our children in South Africa. I come from the wars. I came to Canada with my three teenage children as a single mother to protect my children and to heal. Indeed, I received healing. I started my healing journey in the office of a young female psychiatrist, Dr. Hannah Wilansky, and worked with her for eight solid years, meeting once a week. As a psychotherapist and a gifted healer, I know the depth of hurt and pain. I have been a victim and a witness.

At the time of the attack on the twin towers, I worked as a manager for the Substance Abuse Program for African Canadian and Caribbean Youth (SAPACCY), as well as in my private psychotherapy practice. In my private practice, I mainly treated clients healing from abuse- related trauma and addiction. On September 11, my phone wouldn’t stop ringing. My clients in deep exposure therapy at that point were experiencing meltdowns watching the news and viewing this entire trauma on live television.

That night, as I was sitting and praying, a realization emerged deep from within me that changed my life. I realized that the entire universe, its people—us—are facing darkness that is greater than ever before in history. It dawned on me that we are all suffering collectively at a global level from past and present traumas. I was convinced of this realization when I witnessed America throwing bombs and food to the people in Afghanistan. I realized that humanity had the power to destroy itself with nuclear weapons in minutes. We as a nation are traumatized on a daily basis. Every five minutes of every day, a woman is raped in my country. My clients share horrific stories with me on a daily basis. We respond to our own trauma by hurting others and ourselves as long as we live through our wounds and as long as we do not seek healing. This global abuse continues. Daily in the news we and our young children are confronted with the reality of teenage suicide; rape; incest; child molestation; child and adult abuse; violence against children, men, and women; wars; bombings; hunger; starvation; earthquakes; plane crashes; floods; plagues; and life-threatening diseases.

During my prayers that night I asked, “ Who talks about daily healing, peace, love, truth, justice, reciprocity, virtue, compassion, and caring?” I then realized that as a wounded nation, we are waiting to experience a naked truth, healing from the core of the spirit. As I prayed, I saw my own healing journey moving by like a film before my eyes, from childhood to that day, from Africa to Canada.

Then the gift came. My ancestors spoke through my heart:

Write, Teresa. Write this book about healing with a language from your heart, in honest, gentle, kind words, with sincere healing not just for the healer but also for the healed. Should it be that we are all wounded, then we can all heal collectively. Healing can only take place as we connect, like our ancestors did in their healing circles. Speak in the language of your ancestors and allow this by the telling of stories. You have the ability to write a truth and create new patterns of healing and transformation. The main condition is that you have to be honest with your connection to your spiritual self, so speak your truth.