The Power of a Scream

The Healing Power of a Single Scream
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by Neva J. Howell unless otherwise noted

The scream heard round the world

The scream heard ’round the world…..
Or at least, that’s how it felt to me.

I know I’m a week late in posting my response from a show I saw last week. I meant to post the next day……oh, well.

Anyway, I felt it should be acknowledged, the healing and transformative power of a scream that is bigger than the body.

The show is Desperate Housewives.

If you saw the episode about the tornado, you surely know the scream I mean.

Did huge emotion get released from your own gut and throat when Felicity Huffman screamed, the way it did from my own gut and throat?

Wow. As a performance artist myself, I’ve always appreciated the power of believable acting to transform and heal. This was one moment in tv history when all my beliefs were affirmed.

It was as if Felicity channeled the agony and disbelief of every person who has ever lost all they owned to a tornado. In a different way, I feel Adam Sandler did something similar for those who have suddenly lost someone they loved in the film Reign on me.

Felicity’s scream was even more powerful for me, personally, because we had just had a tornado about 20 miles from my home about a week before and the devastation had been on the news a lot. I thought of the people in Indonesia and all those in New Orleans after Katrina… that same scream must have been in their throats.

In a way I can’t quite articulate, Felicity Huffman did a great thing that Sunday night. I’m grateful for her willingness to allow such a powerful emotional response to emerge from her,
with force and precision, as witness to all those who have lost their homes in an instant, from nature in violent breath.

You can hear the scream I speak of on youtube, at about 5:02 in on this video Desperate Housewives Tornado Aftermath

In my own experience, it is not the scream that hurts us when we are in trauma….oh no, it is the holding back from screaming, the pushing down of cellular release. Holding back the scream, in any traumatic situation that threatens our hold on reality, is what most of us tend to do. Anything that can help the world release those held back screams is healing, in my opinion. Anything that can help us transmute the physical impact of trauma on the senses may also help us transmute the aftermath of trauma.

Thank you, Felicity.

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