logo image for rachelrandel.com pioneer in fields of animal communication, metaphysical and shamanic practice for animals transforming health and behavior by clearing trauma at its root. Pets and Farm Animals walking out of labyrinth toward lotus, image of enlightenment. cat dog horse donkey parrot llama ostrich turkey chicken sheep goat pig tortoise iguana koi rabbit ferret duck

behavior . health . wellbeing

Rachel Randel pioneer animal communicator, metaphysical and shamanic practitioner and a kahu

40 years pioneering in the fields of animal communication, metaphysical and shamanic practice for animals

the trauma root

“Some things must be dealt with at the roots. Trauma is one of these things . . . the great masquerader and participant in many maladies and “dis-eases” that afflict sufferers. It can perhaps be conjectured that unresolved trauma is responsible for a majority of the illnesses of modern mankind.”

Peter A. Levine,

Rabbit looking out window appears sad or wistful.

“I have met countless patients who told me that they “are” bipolar…borderline…they “have” PTSD, as if they had been sentenced to remain in an underground dungeon for the rest of their lives…None of these diagnoses takes into account the unusual talents…our patients develop or the creative energies they have mustered to survive.” 

Bessel A. van der Kolk, 

I’ve said this is a safe space…

As you begin reading here, you may see that you unknowingly did things or ignored things that may have contributed to your animals’ circumstance. Please allow yourself grace here.

So much of this is new ground. Many in the human therapeutic community still haven’t come to understand or even accept it all, let alone in the animal community. Chances are you may even have been given advice by a professional that was opposed to these newer understandings.

We do our best. The saying, “when we know better, we do better” is grace. And sometimes, our best, no matter how good our intentions, isn’t enough. Please, for you, for your animals, be kind and gentle on yourself as you move through this material.

Trauma's role in our companions and domestic animals' behavior and health

Unresolved trauma, in its multitude expressions, is now shown to be the underlying issue behind mental, emotional, behavioral and physical dis-ease of all kinds.

My experience, both professionally and personally, profoundly supports this theory and that it is absolutely applicable to our animal companions and domesticated friends, too.

Addressing and clearing it opens the space for other modalities, conventional and alternative, to be successful in ways they haven’t been previous.

Clearing it at the root, in and of itself, will transform behavior and health for the better. 

When I started to think about content for this page, I wanted to just use photos with quotes and leave it at that. What more could I add? Yes, these books are written about humans. Why do I feel they just as easily apply to animals in our lives?

Beyond my many experiences both personal and professional supporting my belief, if we look at our animal families as we look at  children it’s pretty plain and simple.

Both must, because of circumstance, be dependent on humans not only for their sustenance and basic needs, but for the emotional and physical needs that allow for them to grow with a healthy functioning brain. If trauma, knowingly or unknowingly, enters the stage, unlike in the lives of wild animals who have total autonomy, natural instinct and, therefore natural healing cannot overcome the changes it has made to the brain where that dependence exists.

So, what can cause a deep enough negative experience for the brain to change and what does that look like? It can be a one time incident (PTSD) or an ongoing circumstance (CPTSD). Sometimes, it’s very clear that there was a traumatic experience. More often, it’s not so clear.  It can also be something you have absolutely no awareness of.

Below is a list of things I’ve seen or heard of in my experience:  


possible causes of trauma

  • Kicked by another sibling during gestation 
  • A sibling dies during gestation, birth or soon after
  • Mother had difficult pregnancy 
  • Birth too long or too fast
  • Harsh treatment as a tiny puppy 
  • Litter size: Singleton, too few or too many
  • Separated from mother too soon
  • Serious illness as a puppy
  • Parasite overload
  • Car accident
  • Long illness/injury for them or someone else in family
  • Loud noises especially as a puppy
  • Breeder not monitoring puppies enough 

  • Being bullied or not allowed to eat by others in the litter
  • Not being socialized 
  • Breeder ignore early neuro-stimulation and methods such as Puppy Culture
  • Being misinterpreted as a puppy
  • Leaving mom and siblings 
  • Accidentally soiling in the house as an adult
  • Staying with mom or siblings, too long
  • Being left alone as a puppy
  • Being lost
  • Surgery
  • How they died in a past life 
  • A traumatic past life experience with you or another animal or human in your family 
  • Ongoing physical or emotional abuse by a child, another animal or in a past life
  • In and out of shelter system or rescue 
  • Being returned to a breeder after bonding with new family
  • Over vaccination
  • Sterilization too young
  • Some drugs used to suppress anxiety or bad behavior
  • Death in the family (human or animal)
  • Killing or seeing another animal killed
  • Moving
  • Bonded child leaving home
  • A new person or animal in the house
  • Being crated for long hours in adulthood
  • Being contained in too small a space
  • Having access to too much space

“Eighty two percent of the traumatized children seen…do not meet diagnostic criteria for PTSD… Because they often are shut down, suspicious, or aggressive they now receive pseudoscientific diagnoses such as ‘oppositional defiant disorder,’…or ‘disruptive mood dysregulation disorder,’… Before they reach their twenties…four, five, six, or more of these impressive but meaningless labels. If they receive treatment at all, they get whatever is…the method of management du jour: medications, behavioral modification, or exposure therapy. These rarely work and often cause more damage.” 

Bessel A. van der Kolk, 

African Grey parrot with feather damage from plucking usually related to trauma

“Here’s one of the more unusual and problem-creating symptoms that can develop from unresolved trauma: the compulsion to repeat the actions that caused the problem in the first place. We are inextricably drawn into situations that replicate the original trauma in both obvious and less obvious ways.”

Peter A. Levine,

Why Is clearing trauma in our animals the better more holistic approach?

So, why clear trauma as a solution to behavior issues when behavior modification addresses so many, so simply? Well, does it really? When the brain has changed, behavior modification is suppressive, even cruel, unless the trauma is cleared as well.

You see, the supposed “bad” behavior is likely there as a way to compensate for or soothe the nervous system and its triggers. Basically, your animal has beautifully created its own coping mechanism. Your animal is not taking your experience into that dynamic. It’s just doing, instinctually, what it needs to lessen the impact of being triggered. Because we likely don’t even recognize that trauma is present, our animal must find a way to self soothe.

So, you have a trainer come out and what happens? You’re given a method by which this beautiful coping mechanism (that may likely be a huge disturbance in your life or others) is removed and the behavior modified. Now what?

Often (and this is actually the better outcome), those methods don’t work. Why?  Usually because the coping mechanism and PTSD or CPTSD, as well as the changes to the brain, are stronger and more deep seated than the particular modification used. Unfortunately, it also likely means your animal is now branded as a “bad” animal versus a traumatized one. 

The less positive outcome is if the behavior modification does appear to work without the root being cleared. Why? You’ve removed the coping mechanism. The comfort your animal has created to soothe itself. Eventually, you will more than likely still go from “bad” behavior to a “bad” animal because your animal will create another (often worse) coping mechanism that may or may not yield to modification.

The worst case scenario comes when the modification approach buries it so deeply, giving the impression that the “problem” has been “fixed”, stopping it manifesting behaviorally. Without the root being pulled, as it were, it sits deeply hidden festering and   it is highly likely it will eventually up as illness.

Now, I’m not saying not to train your animals. It’s the key to our animals enjoying a wonderful and varied life with us. I actually often recommend training to modify behavior when it is so locked in by repetition and misunderstood reward that clearing the trauma alone doesn’t change the behavior. In that instance, training becomes a grace and ease in you and your animals experience. It bonds you deeper because there is no longer a hidden agenda running the show in the background.

“Shamanistic concepts and procedures treat trauma by uniting lost soul and body in the presence of community. This approach is alien to the technological mind. However, these procedures do seem to succeed where conventional Western approaches fail.”

Peter A. Levine, 

Beautiful dark brown donkey.

“Beneath the surface of the protective parts of trauma survivors there exists an undamaged essence, a Self that is confident, curious, and calm, a Self that has been sheltered from destruction by the various protectors that have emerged in their efforts to ensure survival. Once those protectors trust that it is safe to separate, the Self will spontaneously emerge, and the parts can be enlisted in the healing process”

Bessel A. van der Kolk, 

Some help and truths in our companion and domestic animals' trauma

It feels like all my work these past 40 years were in preparation for this change in my practice. Even before beginning my work in my early exploration of Religious Science and mind treatment and how that has evolved and expanded over the years. Then, early in my work, learning that disturbances in energy fields were a big piece of healing and learning how to clear them. Discoveries about working with the subconscious. My training in shamanism and the focus there on soul retrieval and extraction, Huna and ThetaHealing. This just scratches the surface. I am so grateful for the overflowing toolbox at my disposal.

Should we find ourselves working together, You may find the things I ask you to do while I am working with your animals seem counterintuitive or because of the need to fix what’s wrong and/or control one’s circumstances, even absurd. They are not. 

Remember, unlike the humans around you, they are in your thoughts: they know if you think they are a nuisance; a troublemaker; or if you are considering that their days with you or on this planet are numbered. So, you must be diligent and self aware and know you may end up having to do the most work here to truly help your beloved animal heal. And, yes, you may need to look at your own unresolved trauma. If that’s the case, it’s no coincidence. It’s a gift given in the most profound way, even if your own trauma, keeps you from seeing that, yet.

The most important underlying need for our animals just as for any of us, as we address their trauma, is to know they are safe and loved. They need too, no matter what mischief has ensued, to see your face light up at their presence, to experience your compassionate and loving touch, to feel loved, unconditionally. Sometimes that alone can set the stage for all other forms of healing to take on super strength and stealthy speed.


Cat stealing carbohydrates