from darkness we move out into the light
Those of us who have experienced trauma, either from a recent event or from childhood abuse, know the disorienting feeling of having their brains emotionally highjacked by something outside of their power to control. This can feel very disempowering and discouraging to us when we have tried so hard to calm ourselves but find that we are triggered over and over again into high states of anxiety and anger.
What we have learned from the last forty years of working with trauma impacted clients is the importance of including the body in the work of healing. Trauma therapy is more of a body up than a thinking brain down process because the emotional brain centers impacted by trauma are more neuronally connected to the body than our fancy human neocortex that is our usual focus in traditional talk therapy. So when we learn to calm down and center in our bodies this tells the limbic centers in the brain that we are safe and our activation goes down.
This means learning new skills such as:
Grounding in the non traumatized parts of the body.
Mindfulness Meditation practice where we center on the gentle calming presence of our breath.
Self Compassion and Self Nurturance that bring loving attention to the places inside us that are hurt and scared.
Emotional Freedom technique (EFT) otherwise known as Tapping that helps us release emotional energy blocks set up by the trauma.
When we practice these skills regularly they gradually bring our bodies and minds back to a more even, calm state of being. We begin to feel that we have some sense of control over our emotions and skills to help us to cope when we are triggered. We have more self confidence and we can begin again to move forward in our lives.
The other part of the work is to become for ourselves the good dependable parents that we never had. This means learning to be there for ourselves through good and bad times. To be consistently kind and dependable for ourselves, not judgmental and self rejecting. To encourage and to gently hold ourselves accountable when we need to show up for difficult things. To set better boundaries with others so that we provide for our own well being and safety. When we consistently do these things for ourselves, we build up a trust in ourselves that we may have never had before.