Trauma Recovery Connection

Invest in your life - make changes today

Well, mostly free - some in-app purchases available, and one or two under $5

Brain MatrixTetrisLuminosityamygdalaMindGames

Brain Training
It’s a fact: what happens to us and how others respond change our brain. The good news is that neuroplasticity is the best gift ever — the brain can learn. Check out and play these brain games as often as you can. They do make a difference:

  • Brain Metrix (FREE, purchases optional)
  • Tetris (FREE, and you can buy many types of Tetris games) Scientific evidence of positive impact of Tetris on PTSD / flashbacks (google: tetris flashbacks to learn more)
  • Lumosity (FREE, purchases optional) Note the science section - there is evidence this stuff works!
  • Amygdala Tickling (FREE) a log of one woman’s experience of “Tickling the amygdala,” a tool that a number of people use to help them manage their internal lives. Watch video on YouTube: Part #1 and Part #2… more on this by the original describer of why and how to click your amygdala: watch video for Brain Secret for Instant Genius (advice: he’s not the best talk show guest).
  • Mindgames (FREE)







Becoming Trauma Informed & Responsive

TReSIA's first several sections are good starting points for thinking of mental health processes in a different way. Noticeably radical, these writings inform the Trauma Responsive Systems model.

Irregular breathing is a common challenge for people with histories of trauma and beathing deeply and regularly is helpful in managing feelings and nourishing the body. Check out apps like MyCalmBeat, Pranayama Breathing, CenteredState. Inexpensive or free.

4-7-8 Breathing (video, animated, free from distressing sound or graphics) – this breathing helps reduce anxiety, impacting the amygdala

Helps the brain become as if traumatic experiences had not happened. No matter the condition your conditions are in, even the metered breathing of yoga helps. Check around: somewhere in your town someone probably has a free class. Have a smartphone? Lots of free apps for yoga: master one pose, and then another.

Mental Health Recovery Resources.
The Iowa Consortium for Mental Health has a lovely list of resources.

SAMHSA’s statements on mental health recovery.

Pocket Pond

Hidden Curriculum

There’s a lot of self-help for recovery from trauma online. Tapping techniques like EFT and ways to help yourself learn tools for better living like DBT abound. These two are good and offer exceptionally helpful tools. Avoid sites and programs that focus on the past. Look for strength-based, present-focused groups that help you increase your ability to be at ease with others in the world.

Optimisim Apps are self-tracking applications, designed to help you increase your understanding of all the things that affect your mental health.

Pocket Pond2: On GooglePlay and in iTunes, this is a great self-regulation game. Beautiful koi, pond, and lilies. Free and paid version.

Social Skills

Some people seem to learn the hidden curriculum almost automatically. Others learn it only by direct instruction. These real-life based entries spur conversations about the countless "unwritten social rules" that we encounter every day and that can cause confusion and anxiety.


Family Play


Games for Different Ages
There are a lot of games that make a positive difference in your life — many are free. My favorite site is Games for Change because every game focuses on helping people change. Check out the award winners, and try the ones in Art and Empathy, Health, and Human Rights.

Sesame Street Family Play App: Available for the iPhone/iPad, this low-cost set of hilarious games will help you with a wide variety of things. Designed with a strong focus on self-regulation, which helps with managing and modulating strong feelings as well as maintaining positive connections with others.

Positive Psychology
Sometimes the requirement of accessing support is accepting diagnoses that are based on symptoms of a mental disorder. These symptoms are all problematic. Insurance companies will pay for some care, but it’s probably focused on having a mental illness (because of the requirements for accessing that support). Positive psychology looks at strengths, coping skills, and the resilience-focused traits. Set up an account and take the good results as seriously as the symptoms or probematic behaviors.

Remember: the symptoms don’t care about the diagnosis or about a person’s age. You’ll find helpful tools for learning how to manage feelings, how to engage in social interactions more effectively, and how to boost self-worth in areas such as Autism, PTSD, DBT, and other locations.