Our Islands, Our Future

During a Day of Healing Workshop in Upcountry Maui, sponsored by The Rotary Club of Maui, Dr. Bridget Bongaard set out to help those who are experiencing grief and PTSD because of the Maui wildfires, or any kind of trauma. Bongaard, a board-certified internal medicine physician, as well as a hospice-certified medical director, has used her knowledge to set up numerous integrative medicine programs and retreats over the years. In addition, with the Pacific Cancer Foundation, Bongaard co-founded the first annual Maui Cancer Wellness retreat. 

“The goal of trauma healing is to give participants a feeling that they have control over their lives again,” Bongaard explained. “My approach to wellness is a three-dimensional process: physical, emotional and spiritual. We work step-by-step to achieve the different stages of understanding how our brains and bodies work when life’s events happen. Then, we discuss the emotional impact that we carry with the memory, and how to move beyond this and fill the gaps in our lives.”

Using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Bongaard led the group to fully understand what their loss meant to them individually and how to move beyond it. A session on resilience despite all odds, taught the group how to create peace and purpose in an uncertain world and how to find new solutions for problems. To help overcome grief and trauma, Dr. Bongaard also discussed the five stages of the Kubler-Ross Grief Cycle.

Bongaard added, “While learning through these different modalities, participants also had the opportunity to take time for themselves, interact with others, tell their stories, and enjoy nutritious food. Plus, it’s wonderful to make new friends and build community.”

Many people affected by wildfires or other traumatic events need time and space away from their normal duties and routines to be able to focus on themselves and gain insight. Workshop participant Katy Shroder, a clinical psychologist from Lahaina, who lost her home, possessions, and place of worship, shared, “Since the fires I have been helping others with their trauma and healing. This workshop was the first occasion I took time to heal myself. I truly appreciate the opportunity.”

Everyone has experienced pain or loss in his or her life at some time. Our healing workshop offers the courage to overcome trauma and fears and live a peaceful life.” For info about the next workshop call 808-866-6155, or email Dr. Bridget Bongaard, Founder, Maui Cancer Resource