In case you are new here, I (Kirby Moore) practice Craniosacral Therapy, Somatic Experiencing, and Birth Process work. I have taken advanced classes in working with the Polyvagal System, in addition to working with Pre- and Perinatal Trauma. I hold a Massage Therapy license, so my scope of practice is a bit limited. With that said, I have been practicing Emotional-process-oriented bodywork since 2005 (17 years now).
If you are experiencing unusual trauma symptoms, I would recommend you find a very competent practitioner – https://directory.traumahealing.org/ This is the SE practitioner directory.
You could also look here: https://www.ppncenter.com/ (Kate White’s center for working with PPN challenges)
Or here: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=working+with+ppn+trauma&atb=v1-1&ia=web (This is a search list of resources for working with PPN trauma)
In working with trauma, we always do better by reaching out for support (even though it might be very difficult to do so) and working with a very skillful practitioner. Please reach out to one of these resources above if you need support!
(I offer in-person and long distance sessions on Zoom, by appointment only. You can schedule a free consult to see if we might be a good fit to work together here: https://wisdomhealingtherapies.schedulista.com/)
I am writing this after mentioning it to a few of my clients recently. For some people this is big information. Here is the important detail: when we have trauma symptoms (or any defense mechanism / survival tactic / coping strategy for that matter), it is often the case that that symptom goes back to an early wounded part. Whether we are talking about birth trauma, or early developmental trauma, there is probably a little one (wounded part) that is HIGHLY IDENTIFIED with that particular symptom. The symptom is there as a survival strategy. And if we attempt to get rid of the symptom without tending to the little wounded part, then the little one thinks we are trying to kill it.
To repeat that last part, the little wounded part of us (our early nervous system from that early time) created these challenging symptoms as a very skillful survival tactic. And that same little part is closely tied together with that symptom (survival tactic / coping strategy / defense mechanism). Therefore, if we attempt to get rid of the symptom without taking the little wounded part into account (wishing them well, having compassion and tenderness for them, etc), then that little part feels like we are trying to kill it off. Ooph!
And you know what? If we try to get rid of the symptom without tending to the little wounded part, then ultimately the symptom is going to get worse. (This makes sense considering the little wounded part thinks we are trying to get rid of it.) Keep in mind that early primitive nervous systems – that is very young nervous systems – cannot differentiate minor threat from significant threat. Everything is black and white, life or death, thriving or barely holding on for dear life. So trying to get rid of the symptom without tending to the little one feels like a life or death reaction. Hence the reason the symptom will get worse if we don’t attend to the little wounded part.
What would it be like if all doctors, psychiatrists, psychotherapists and people in the caring professions knew this?
This topic is a bit controversial (to play the devil’s advocate against myself). Research into pre- and perinatal psychology and other PPN topics has really only been started in the past 25 years (not a lot of time to create a solid foundation for these theories). Some people would argue that we don’t have to deal with early stuff to get repair and healing to happen. Yes, I agree! Thankfully we don’t always have to do depth psychology to get repair and transformation to occur. However, in some cases, this information will be very beneficial to the practitioner (and possibly even to the client).
I learned this from Myrna Martin – one of the primary educators in Pre- and Perinatal Birth Process work in North America. I did her training in British Columbia, Canada, however she did travel and teach more around the U.S. There was so many insights coming out each day (in those trainings), that I heard this piece, about trauma symptoms and little wounded parts, and I just wrote it down. It was only after doing more work with clients over the past few years that I have realized the gravity of this information.
Back to the topic at hand…
Basically what this comes down to is, if we have compassion for our little wounded parts, if we tend to them, tell them “that was then, this is now” (looking at how many resources and how much health I have now compared to back then), then we can gradually repair that early wound and the symptom(s) can start to improve as a result.
You may agree with this, or not. Hopefully it is able to benefit some readers.
I would highly recommend getting started down a healing / nervous system repair path – whether you choose narrative medicine, Craniosacral Therapy, Birth Process work, Somatic oriented work, counseling, etc. Hopefully it is a rewarding and insight-filled journey!
May we all lean into nourishing support!
Thanks for reading,