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...
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...
Human beings can be extremely complex.
The ever deepening unconscious layers of threads and structures that govern the orientation of each individual are seemingly infinite, every moment a spontaneous arising, perceptions and perspectives creating and recreating themselves spinning endless loops and patterns of images, words and sensations presenting themselves as reactions and responses to our environment and giving rise to our sense of self.
Within the human psyche are many layers of unintegrated and unconscious imprints that are the driving force of how we move in the world, parts of ourselves that are unknown and hidden from us.
I call these parts the abandoned orphans, they are structures that have been split off from the whole, they live within us in places that for most people attention dares not travel.
A tree on the other hand is so simply itself, it has its branches, it has its leaves, it is made of wood and simply just sits there, being itself.
It has no likes nor...
Anger is quite often quoted to me as the most difficult emotion for people to experience.
When we are children the energy and expression of anger is more often than not met with disdain, even forms of healthy aggression we can be conditioned to shut down and move into states of collapse, fawn or freeze instead.
When we express aggression and are met with some form of shaming by a larger more powerful being whom our survival relies on, part of our survival strategy is to then orphan our anger. We dissociate from this part of ourselves in order to maintain some kind of healthy relational attachment.
We may learn by their response that when anger is present love is withdrawn. Our relationship to anger then becomes one of resistance and our anger itself becomes associated with threat.
This can create layers of internal struggle along with unconscious self hatred and shame for having these emotions, which are actually in truth a very natural and healthy part of development.
"Safety is Healing" - Dr Stephen Porges
When someone has accumulated many traumatic imprints throughout their life, with no skills to regulate or process then the nervous system loses its sense of Safety.
We can go decades without truly feeling safe in our bodies.
At this point there is no capacity to deal with life's various situations & challenges.
When we Grow in Capacity then we have a solid foundation to deal with these challenges.
A container of Safety will start to build resilience and the emotional reactions can be dissolved into this safety.
Once our capacity continues to grow then the old emotional wounds from our past can be welcomed back to be integrated.
Feeling safe in the body can be a gradual process.
Like planting a seed. If we water that seed and continually look after it, it will grow.
We know we are growing when our language changes from "I can't handle this" to "I got this!"
Ryan Hassan (Co-Founder at The Centre for Healing)
Want to work with us?
"The State that we're in & the Emotions we're Experiencing will dictate the course of our Lives"
When we came into this world we started learning many things.
Crawling, walking, talking, socialising, sport, eating, etc...
One thing most of us didn't learn was how to properly process emotions.
This is no ones fault, if our parents knew they would of taught us.
If you're reading this then it's safe for me to assume that you're on a personal growth journey and/or working in the field of helping others.
On that path, early on, we realise that our emotions are controlling our life.
If we want to start to master our life we must first master our emotions.
This doesn't mean we don't have emotional reactions, for this is part of being a human being.
It means being able to contain them and not get lost in their energy.
In the above video we discuss different techniques for processing emotions, both from day to day life and from our past.
The underlying theme they all have is that we Turn...
Orphaned Part = Split off part of one's Psyche & Being
Created during a time of extreme distress.
The Nervous System perceives threat and the 'threat response' never finds full completion.
The Orphaned Part, from that day forward, will keep an eye out for a potentially similar situation to occur.
We get stuck in a Hyper Vigilant state.
Most humans have dozens (sometimes a lot more) of these parts which become active during the day.
When we can never find relief from the hyper vigilance then we tend to turn to Coping Mechanisms, drugs, alcohol, food, gambling, shopping, sex, work, etc.
We hear the term Integration a lot in the healing world.
What we are integrating is these Orphaned Parts.
Finding them, locating their origin, understanding them, processing them & welcoming them back Home.
Ryan Hassan (Co-Founder at The Centre for Healing)
Stress contractions accumulate over one's life created by situations where there is perceived threat, whether that be to one's identity or an actual physical threat.
They accumulate within the individual, as well as the collective soma.
This stress gets stored in the muscles, fascia, belly, chest and other areas of the soma. This creates density within the physical structure that can actually shape:
- one's posture
- one's belief systems
- one's sense of self
This also governs the way one moves and engages in the world. The energy of the system is in its contracted or closed state, which in turn gives a specific kind of experience of feeling separate and localised.
That is what some spiritual traditions refer to as ego identification.
The contractions inhibit the body's natural flow of intelligence that heals and regulates the system, eventually showing up as psychosomatic and physical illness.
Beneath our adaptations and survival based concepts which veil our naturalness is our individual essence.
The more one's body and psyche is disentangled from the conditioning of our childhood, from our collective unconscious and from cultural norms, the more our unique individual essence becomes apparent.
In essence we are each as distinct as a fingerprint, as one of my teachers would say we are spirit dancing a unique dance, yet on the level of skin we are all unified and the same.
Just as on one level each tree is unparalleled and separate, they are all in essence made of wood.
The individual essence is not in opposition to a unified state, but complementary as we are multidimensional beings.
In an integrated state of wholeness we leave no stone unturned, we learn to inhabit our humanity, our individuality and our unity. Not as a conceptual understanding but an experiential reality.
Our individual essence is our birthright, it is the unique expression of the life force...