Trauma is held in our nervous system and bound together in symptoms.
Focusing on sensations/movement/energy/feelings in the body begins to tease apart that bound up energy. Sensations lead us to the wisdom of the body and to releasing the trauma. The story of the body allows us to access the ways in which the trauma is held in the nervous system.
The verbal/cognitive story has less impact on the body but can be an indirect way into the trauma. We do less analyzing and more experiencing. We work with what is happening in the present moment
Focusing on body sensations and awareness has to be done in a manageable and tolerable way. Experiencing sensation needs to be accompanied with the support of the relationship with the therapist, and building resources and regulation of the nervous system.
Letting go of trauma
I want to share an experience recently of some personal work I was doing that completed and let go of an early trauma. I want to share how powerful working from a mind-body approach can be. I have always been fairly inflexible especially around my hip area. As years have gone by my thigh muscles have become chronically tight. I would stretch them out and it was like an elastic band, they would stretch and then snap back in. This has caused me a lot of pain and discomfort for many years. I had the opportunity to do some work with someone who works from a somatic based psychotherapy approach to working with trauma. It was on a training I am doing in working this way. The legs and arms are important for our survival. Legs carry us and move us away from danger, and these movements are part of our ’survival instincts’. If we are not able to leave then that instinct becomes thwarted and tension will develop. This is one way that trauma will be held in the body.
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