We often talk about Safety as an essential quality when it comes to healing trauma, but as with all language and wording people have their own presuppositions and perspectives on the word.
We may associate Safety with avoidance, like a "playing it safe" attitude, or we may associate it with feeling smothered, as our parents may have been over bearing in attempting to keep us safe.
In this article I am going to give some context around safety and integration, and also give voice to some pitfalls I have seen people and practitioners fall into whilst attempting to heal trauma.
Safety in the context of healing trauma is not an avoidance strategy, it is a quality that is conducive and essential for the integration and release of unmetabolized stress. Safety was what was lacking in the moment the response got stuck.
Lack of safety is the reason for trauma, we felt out of control, overwhelmed, alone, disconnected and unsupported in the midst of our distress and so we were unable...
When we think of trauma we often think of what happened, sexual abuse, war, bullying, domestic violence, neglect etc. We think of periods of time or single events that caused distress and made a lasting impact on us.
Here at The Centre for Healing we define the trauma as what happens inside of a person as a result of what happened to them, or, what didn't happen, the imprint left within their psyche and nervous system from these kinds of experience is the trauma.
What many of us don't realise is that trauma is not always about what happened, quite often the imprint that is left within us is about what didn't happen.
When our experience lacks a certain quality, or a need goes unmet this also can leave a very damaging and lasting imprint that we carry with us for the rest of our lives. Developmental trauma can certainly and quite often show up as overt abuse and neglect, and as very obvious events that happen throughout one's childhood that cause arrests in development, but the other...
In the western world we have a very “quick fix” attitude which in my experience in my time in this field is one of the biggest blocks to transformation.
When we have a headache we take a paracetamol and our headache goes away, when our car breaks down we call roadside assist and they come almost instantly, when we don't know the answer to something we pull out our phone and quickly google it.
We have literally everything at our fingertips. This attitude of instant gratification is actually an obstacle when it comes to inner healing and transformation.
In our rush to “get somewhere” what happens is we lose the ability to trust and to let the natural and organic intelligence do the healing for us, in our belief that we are broken we essentially disconnect further from our essential wholeness.
Imagine now you are out in the garden pulling out weeds, you catch your hand on the edge of a sharp rock and it cuts it open. You rush inside and wash out the wound and...
There are many questions that arise when it comes to Somatic/Trauma Therapy.
Matt & Ryan first lay the foundations of this work then here's a taste of what is covered:
Embodied Processing Practitioner Training: https://www.thecentreforhealing.com/embodied-processing
Combining Embodied Processing & Root-Cause Therapy class: https://www.thecentreforhealing.com/blog/combining-root-cause-therapy-embodied-processing
TCFH Practitioner Directory: https://www.thecentreforhealing.com/courses-3
I was in the water with Tommy this morning and I felt myself wanting to disconnect from him, ignore what he was saying and be angry and reactive.
I try my best to be a trauma-informed, gentle parent, but honestly sometimes I yell (and I hate it and beat myself up after because I really should know better). And you look into their sweet innocent face and their body flinches with fear, it's the freakin worst.
At that moment, I decided that I wasn't going to go down that path, so I stopped for a moment, looked at him and said "I can't talk right now sweety, mummy is angry so I just need to do some breathing, can you wait a few minutes?"
He looked understanding, so standing there in the water with him, I started to go right into the anger, breathed into it, turned it up, and followed the sensation around my body.
As that layer started to melt, I went down deeper into my body and mind, and a deep pain of frustration and constriction came through... I asked my body and mind... "what is...
‘Spiritual bypassing’ has become a common term over the last few years, but people don’t always mean the same thing by it as there are many ways bypassing can occur.
At the core of bypassing is the motivation to escape our experience. It shows up as denial (rejecting one kind of experience) as well as preference (grasping at another). When bypassing, we focus on and grasp at one specific kind of experience, usually the more pleasant, and attempt to make that permanent, whilst at the same time excluding and denying other typically more painful and unpleasant kinds.
This ends up causing many issues such as fragmentation in the psyche, cycles of craving and aversion, inner struggles and conflicts and, without the proper guidance and understanding can cause further dissociation for a trauma survivor.
Let’s go through a few common examples of spiritual bypassing:
Over the last few weeks I discussed the development of having a separate identity and also in the article “What is Awakening?” I spoke about the shift of identity that can occur in an individual from experiencing themselves as a personality over to recognising themselves as a much more expansive state of presence.
This shift of identity is experienced as one transitioning from a personal and individuated state of consciousness to a more impersonal state of empty, aware presence.
This seems to have always been quite a rare occurrence and in the past was believed to be only for a select few who lived in ashrams, caves in the Himalayas or those who lived a life of solitude where they were devoted to practice on a constant moment to moment basis, from some observation this shift is starting to be more common in everyday individuals and happening quite spontaneously without the years of practice.
Many books have been written on this very real and dramatic shift in...
Imagine for a moment that you’re in your mother's womb and you can hear your parents having an awful argument.
You feel your mother's anger, loneliness and hurt... as her emotions pump through your tiny body.
As you are in the womb, you are getting to know yourself, the world and the environment that you are going to be born into.
The range of cortisol and the stress that you feel amplifies your conscious thoughts and a belief burns into your biology that… conflict is scary.
You are now encoded with the belief that you should have fear of conflict & that this is what relationships look like.
Your parents don’t know any better, as they were shown the same & weren’t aware of any childhood wounds that may be playing out in their relationship.
Now that you're an adult, you may still have this belief.
It possibly plays out in your relationships as it’s been encoded into your brain & body that this is what ‘love looks like’.
In these next two articles I am going to take a dive into what I consider the stages of human development and spiritual evolution in regards to ego identity, and how the healing of childhood imprints can bring about the dissolution of that identity, bringing about the experience of Unity and Oneness.
I am aware that not everyone will see how the journey of healing trauma relates to the unravelling of identity, but the deeper levels of this work is a process of unravelling parts of our conditioned self, and true healing is the integration of these parts and the revelation of our essence.
True healing is not about adding anything to ourselves to cover up an underlying sense of deficiency.
It is about removing layers and, if this is done, we may find ourselves losing chunks of who we believed we were. At a certain point, the process can eventuate in an opening to the essence or spirit that exists underneath the sense of having a separate self.
The first article was about the...
There are many definitions of awakening and over the years I have come to realise that a lot of the time when people are speaking about awakening they are talking about very different things. So this article is an attempt to bring some clarity as to what I mean when I am talking about awakening.
In the way I use the word I am pointing toward a shift in identity, a transition from being identified with the mental projections to something that is prior to all thinking processes and conceptualization.
The shift of identity occurs as a result of a negation, by negating everything that I am aware of in my experience as not myself, I am eventually left with the very essential quality of who I am.
All objects that I can be aware of can not be what I essentially am, simply due to the fact I can be aware of them. This process eventually leads us to a sense of “I” which is not the same “I” that we are so used to being identified with.
This is the...