Traumatic symptoms are not only caused by the triggering event itself.
They stem from the frozen residue of energy and the trauma encoded in the amygdala that has not been resolved, delinked, depotentiated or processed in the nervous system and neural networks.
~ Peter Levine
Trauma results from any event that overwhelms a person’s capacity to cope. The common ingredients are helplessness, powerlessness and fear. When our capacity to defend ourselves by running, fighting, freezing or fawning is not successful the unreleased survival energies stay stuck in our nervous system and encode in our amygdala. We stay in survival mode and we develop symptoms of trauma. If we do not release this energy from our nervous system where it is stuck, we develop anxiety and panic and other psychosomatic and behavioral problems. The light and joy seems to go out of our life. When we heal trauma, we invite light and joy back in and open the door to our own inner healer. Our natural state of love and harmony returns.
There are four requirements for traumatic encoding. –EMLI
E = EVENT : needs to be experienced through the senses
M = MEANING : the event has to mean something to you – threaten some kind of loss, of identity, belonging, loss of life, loved ones, security, health, financial, social, etc.
L = LANDSCAPE : Vulnerable neural landscape from pre-existing exposure to prior trauma. When we experience a new event we are now more susceptible to storing traumatic memory.
I = INESCAPABILITY : An event where we feel there is no means of escape, we are powerless to stop it.
TRAUMATIC ENCODING – AMYGDALA
All information is coming through all of our senses. The language of the amygdala is the five senses. In 75ms ( 4 times faster than the blink of an eye) the amygdala tunes in to keep you safe. The Amygdala only speaks emotion and the five senses ( this is why it is hard to talk ourselves out of an emotional experience) The amygdala remembers every scary or stressful thing that has ever happened to you ( also things you have heard of happening to others) When the Amygdala is checking on sensory data sent by the thalamus, she is running by every stressful thing that’s ever happened to you looking for similarities – no matter how small. To do this she runs a mental google search using your working memory and taps into the HIPPOCAMOUS ( your stories about the past) and your ANTERIOR CINGULATE CORTEX ( the brain part that helps decide what to pay attention to). If the Amygdala working with the hippocampus and ACC decides you’re not in danger, she backs down and your thinking brain , particularly the PREFRONTAL CORTEX ( the part of the brain that reasons, plans, is able to take other perspectives,etc.) kicks in at 350 ms and you are more present.
If the amygdala decides you are in danger ( whether you are or not) she can take over- protecting you through fight, flight, freeze, or fawn .You feel hi-jacked when this happens and you are in survival mode and your thinking brain takes second place to the amygdala and her drive to keep you alive at any cost.
Unprocessed pain from trauma can keep our system of self-preservation and survival brain on permanent alert. In addition to sudden intrusive memories, a wide range of situations, many non-threatening, may activate the alarmingly high levels of pain and fear stored in our body. Our partner might raise her voice in irritation, and the full force of our past wounds—all the terror or rage or hurt that lives in our body and amygdala—can be unleashed. Whether or not there is any present danger, we feel absolutely at risk and compelled to find a way to get away from the pain.
In order to make it through such sudden and severe triggers, survivors of trauma typically dissociate from their bodies, numbing their sensitivity to physical sensations, this is called the Freeze Response.. Some people feel “unreal,” as if they have left their body and are experiencing life from a great distance. They do whatever they can to keep from feeling the raw sensations of fear and pain in their body. They might lash out in aggression or freeze in depression or confusion. They might have suicidal thoughts or find other ways to numb the feelings. They can overeat or starve themselves, use drugs, obsess, over work, over exercise and many other ways try to numb or control their experience. Yet the pain and fear don’t go away. Rather, they lurk in the background and from time to time suddenly take over when triggered.
Dissociation, while protective, creates suffering. When we leave our bodies, we leave home. By escaping the pain and pulling away from the ground of our being, we experience the dis-ease of separation—loneliness, anxiety, and shame. Author and psychotherapist Alice Miller lets us know that there is no way to avoid what’s in the body. We either pay attention to it, or we suffer the consequences:
The truth about our childhood trauma is stored in our body, and although we can repress it, the trauma material is still present and can be triggered if not processed and depotentiated. Our intellect can be deceived, our feelings manipulated, and conceptions confused, and our body tricked with medication. But someday our body will present its bill, for it is as incorruptible as a child, who, still whole in spirit, will accept no compromises or excuses, and it will not stop tormenting us until we stop evading the truth. We have so many great neuroscience and body based therapies available to us today I hope you will exolore the Psychosensory Field to heal your trauma.
In terms of enhanced resiliency, victims once healed will never be “normal’ again, but, instead, often exceed their own expectations. Resolved trauma leads survivors to expand their range of resiliency and capacities because, in order to recover, they must access resources they may never have accessed otherwise. During the completion stage of recovery, the client often enjoys a treasure hunt- exploring an unfolding new life that includes mastery, empowerment, and the inner knowledge that the challenge of trauma can be met.
— Dr Diane Poole Heller
BOTTOM UP – TRAUMA RESOLUTION MODALITIES CAN HELP YOU BY CREATING
RESOURCES – Develop an inventory of resources to help you access a sense of safety support and love. This helps neutralize over-arousal in the nervous system. Install these new positive images and beliefs and build a new neural brain circuitry. Build an internal safe place with the kind loving eyes of loving safe people, animals and places. Engage the parasympathetic nervous system for calm and regulation.
FELT SENSE/SENSATE FOCUS – Helps you to develop a relationship with your body and track your experience in your body and reset the vagus nerve.
PENDULATION AND MODULATION – Helps you to shift your attention back and forth between the calming effect of resources and the high activation of traumatic material in a manageable, balanced way.
PACING AND TITRATION – The part of our brain where we are in freeze and immobility is called the reptilian brain. It processes seven times slower than the neocortex. We need a slower pace and rhythm to integrate traumatic material. We can break the activation down into small pieces so that the integration will be easier and safer and to prevent flooding and overwhelm.
RESTORING BOUNDARIES – Various BOTTOM UP methods can be to restore personal space and containment that allows you to feel safe, protected, and empowered.
SOUL RETRIEVAL – Healing the encapsulated self. In traumatic events, there is usually no time or space. A part of us becomes dissociated and encapsulated in the traumatic event and in freeze. You can close the gap between the present you who has survived, and the past encapsulated wounded self, for integration and healing.
BIOLOGICAL SEQUENCING – Working with your innate biological sequencing in terms of how your body deals with threat. These are modalities developed from the work of Stephen Porges and his Polyvagal Theory.
DISCHARGE – Supporting discharge in the autonomic nervous system and completing defensive orienting responses. Releasing the trauma energy from the body.
DEPOTENTIATION – amygdala depotentiation involves reducing the emotional charge of traumatic memories encoded in the neural networks and disrupts the neural pathways associated with the traumatic memories allowing for the creation of new neural networks.
PSYCHOSENSORY TECHNIQUES TO CALM THE NERVOUS SYSTEM
OTHER WAYS TO CALM AN OVERACTIVE NERVOUS SYSTEM AND ACTIVATE THE VAGUS NERVE
HUMMING, CALM MUSIC, DEEP SIGH, EXERCISING, YOGA, TOUCH THERAPY(havening) GARGLING ,MEDITATION, AROMATHERAPY, COLD SHOWER, ICE IN A ZIPLOC BAG, SINGING, CHANTING, CONNECTING WITH NATURE, VAGUS RESET EXERCISE, MASSAGE, YAWNING & STRETCH & HUG, BUTTERFLY HUG, ROCKING, SQUEEZING A STRESS BALL, MINDFULNESS, BODY SCAN,YOGA NIDRA, CONNECTING WITH LOVED ONES, PETTING AN ANIMAL, DOING ART, SELF CARE, TAPPING, LAUGHTER, GENTLE TICKLING, BODY THERAPY. CREATE A SAFE PLACE INTERNALLY & ADD YOUR SENSES
Remember that different techniques work for different individuals, so it’s important to explore and find what works best for you.
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