In this class creators of Embodied Processing, Ryan & Matt, talk about the drivers of anxiety through the lens of trauma.
- Types of Anxiety
- The Underlying Causes
- The Bandaids we use
- Healing Anxiety
The Centre for Healing
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
‘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:
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’.
The science behind the nervous system has evolved in recent years due to the studies of Stephen Porges and polyvagal theory.
This discovery has given us deeper insights into the nature of trauma as well as the shutdown, freeze and fawn responses and what happens in our neurophysiology when we enter these states.
Understanding the nervous system is like having a map of Texas, we can use the map to navigate the terrain and walk through the different landscapes without getting lost in it. Though, it is important to remember that the map is never the territory.
In other words the map is a helpful tool but it is via exploring and navigating our own direct experience that gives us true insight and brings about transformation.
We can have read and understand every study there is about strawberries, what makes them grow, what they taste like, what environments are most conducive for them etc, all of which are helpful in navigating and understanding a strawberry, but it is only by biting...
There comes a time in this work when we start to ponder;
If i'm not my habits or routines?
If I'm not my traumas?
If I'm not my mental & emotional patterns?
If I'm not what happened to me?
Then.......Who am I??
Here we find the undeniable link between Trauma Healing & Spirituality.
One of the most crucial parts of this journey is realising parts of us will fall away.
A lot of people get stuck at this point as they're consciously wanting change however the pain of an old 'part' dying is too great and so the process stops.
We're always unconsciously trying to 'hold' our identity together.
Letting go is scary but true transformation sits on the other side of it.
As Matt puts it:
"There's a you that desperately wants to go to the beach so you embark on the journey. But going to the beach requires transformation, so by the time you get to the beach the part of you that wanted to go had to die off........the journey of spirituality isn't one of getting anywhere"
Embodied Processing is the Bottom Up Approach to Healing Trauma & Nervous System Dysregulation
It is a Somatic Therapy based on a combination of ancient wisdom & the latest neuroscience in the field of trauma.
Navigating the Terrain
Guiding someone through the traumatic imprints, subconscious imagery & unconscious beliefs of their body can be daunting.
That's why having a map when we're learning is so important.
A lot of this process is one of Discernment.
- Discerning what is best to be investigated in that session.
- Discerning what is going to bring on a felt sense of safety for the client.
- Discerning the predominant emotion associated with the trigger
- Discerning the origin of the imprint
- Discerning which processing technique will help the client move through the emotion
- Discerning completion of the traumatic event
- Discerning the clients nervous system state throughout
With the right framework you can confidently start practicing and gaining experience.