I have been taking classes in Trauma Resolution for several years now, and considering whenever you touch someone else in a professional, platonic, ethical manner with the intent to provide a space for their system to heal, then you might inadvertently be doing some form of Trauma Resolution work. Do keep in mind though that there are specific classes which make a practitioner very skilled at holding space for any type of trauma to arise and be released. I will mention those modalities at the end of this post.
For now however, I am writing this particular post about a recent phenomenon I have noticed. And I think it was only through taking the above classes that I could notice it. If you find yourself driving, and you are normally a safe driver who rarely ever pushes the speed limit, and you find yourself thinking about something scary or daunting or overwhelming (or if you are listening to the present news in the world…), then I bet you will unconsciously start to press on the accelerator. Now keep in mind this has to be spontaneous and unconscious – you can’t purposely try to listen to scary news, take the present outbreak of the Ebola Virus in West Africa, and then see if your foot starts pressing while you consciously watch the speedometer.
No. What I am referring to is if your mind starts to wander off. You have the news on. You have the windows down in the car. It is a comfortable evening. Suddenly the BBC switches over to talking about the horrific situation happening in the Gaza strip… and then a few seconds later you are doing 75 in a 55 mph zone. That’s what I’m talking about.
Now why would we start to drive faster if we are scared or overwhelmed? I think it has to do with the Fight / Flight or / Freeze pattern. In human beings, and I suspect in other mammals as well, there are two systems that are a part of the Central Nervous System (CNS). One system is called the Sympathetic Nervous System – think sympathetic to stress – and this is the system the instantaneously decides whether a new stressor is a threat, and if so, it then decides (completely unconsciously I might add) based on our psychological resources whether we should turn and fight this threat OR if we should run away OR if we might be better served by playing dead. This is the Fight / Flight / Freeze pattern I was referring to above.
The other system that is a part of the CNS is the Parasympathetic Nervous System and this is also known as the Rest and Digest system. When we feel safe and comfortable and especially when we are in good company, then the gut and the brain know that we can calm down, rest back and digest our food. Those of us who act as healing facilitators attempt to rest in a Parasympathetic state most of the time and we intend to bring our clients to that state and teach them how to rest in the state for longer and longer periods of time.
And I believe that this is a part of the reason why we start speeding unconsciously when we thinking about something scary or intimidating or about someone who threatens us, etc. Maybe this is yet another reason why it would be good to go out and receive some quality bodywork from a trained practitioner. Someone who walks their talk and is able to rest down on a regular basis. Someone who is quite stable and who shows up.
As I mentioned above, some of the modalities which are good at providing resource for trauma resolution (and whose work sticks with us) are Somatic Experiencing (SE), Biodynamic Craniosacral work and Pre- and Perinatal Psychology (working with birth dynamics). Actually all three of these modalities tie together well. I have also experienced some Continuum Movement Therapy which was good at resourcing trauma as well as EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and DNMS (Developmental Needs Meeting Strategy).
In my experience though, and in talking with some trusted mentors and bodywork teachers, nearly everyone says that the most efficacious modality for doing Trauma Resolution work is Somatic Experiencing. Peter Levine, PhD, founded this system of resourcing the Central Nervous System and the Vagus System (from the Vagus nerve) and it is very efficient. It allows the practitioner to go slow enough to catch all the little conflicts which arise when trauma is put into the system.
Yes there are other modalities out there which can resource trauma. But do experiment and see if they are gentle enough for you and you really need to investigate to see whether or not these modalities are inspiring long-term change.
Thank you for reading!