“Traumatic symptoms are not caused by the ‘triggering’ event itself. They stem from the frozen residue of energy that has not been resolved and discharged.” Peter Levine, Waking the Tiger : Healing Trauma
Life experiences that cause trauma stop us. We freeze. If we were able to move and change the event, it would not cause the traumatic reaction, but because we are in shock and unable to respond, we are traumatized. It is not what the event was, but what our internal response is that decides whether it is trauma or not.
We instinctively dissociate, separating our bodies from our emotions in order to cope with the emotional. We do this because the pain and powerlessness are more than we can manage, and as a result, the memory of it goes into our unconscious mind as a traumatic event. From here, it controls our emotions, beliefs and behaviours, trying to keep us from this overwhelm again.
Trauma can change the brain, so that the person is unable to respond in the way that they could’ve before the trauma occurred. This is because it activates the limbic or reptilian brain, the part of the brain that holds the fight or flight response. The part of the brain that is very physical and very quick at responding in that moment of fear and terror. Unfortunately, this part of the brain is not very cognitive, so we are unable to think or talk our way out.
This is why energy counselling can be so helpful. Many of the practices, like focusing or Tapas Acupressure Technique, allow us to be with the body and the mind at the same time, so that the ‘residue of energy’ that has been left can be discharged and thus resolved.
It is possible and achievable to be free from Traumatic stress, even if you have been carrying it for a long time. Please contact me to discuss working together.
More on Trauma
For some of us, trauma is abuse or loss, for others it is the experience of living in a war zone or even the neglect that can happen in a dysfunctional family. What is generally true is that when trauma happens, we go into either fight, freeze or flight. In fight, we stay in adrenaline and keep watching for danger, ready any minute to fight. In freeze, we are like a rabbit caught in headlights, we go into shock and it is hard to function or make decisions. In flight, we just keep running away. Often all these processes overlap with each other.
Trauma affects us physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. When we are in trauma, there is no way for us to respond appropriately. This is because when we are traumatised we use the reptilian part of our brain. This part is good at dealing with emergencies but otherwise does not think clearly. Often when trauma happens, we dissociate because the pain and sense of powerlessness is too much for us to handle. And because the trauma is often too painful to remember consciously, the memory of it goes into our unconscious mind, where it affects our emotions, beliefs and behaviours.
But it is never too late to change that. Energy therapy works with the body, mind and spirit to come to a place of balance, so that our relationship to traumatic events can change and the control that trauma has over us can end. I cannot promise that this will always happen immediately, but I can say that I have seen it happen many times with other clients. Traumas then become events you can remember without all the emotions associated with that event (or series of events). It just becomes memory.
There are many ways to work with trauma that involve the body. Often, we can bypass the thoughts about the event and just focus on the tension and anxiety in the body, discharging this tension through the using the energy system. We can do this until the mind is ready, and the experience of the emotions is less intense. This is a real key to trauma work. If you can get the body to relax and stop putting your mind into fight/flight/freeze, you have options.
We will work together to make sense of your experience while also releasing the stress caught in your body memory, so that the “triggered” nervous system can relax. That means we slowly and effectively reduce the amount of stress you are carrying in your body and replace it with a sense of your own strength.
I am constantly amazed at the profound positive impact that this approach has on the people I work with and my own stress levels. As accumulated stress dissipates, it is replaced with joy, excitement and confidence. You ultimately open up to your life that is waiting to be lived.
Please contact me for an initial telephone consultation so we can decide together whether working together is right for you.