Working with Traumatic Memory That’s Held in the Body

When it comes to the treatment of trauma, our work often centers on our clients’ feelings and sensations . . .

. . . and sometimes, those sensations can present as physical pain.

In the video below, Peter Levine, PhD shares a powerful story of how he helped a man trace the source of his unremitting back pain – all the way back to where it began .

Take a look – it’s just 4 minutes.

For more on how to work with traumatic memory, be sure to check out this week’s broadcast in the all-new Treating Trauma Master Series.

You’ll get insights from: Peter Levine, PhD; Bessel van der Kolk, MD; and Pat Ogden, PhD.

It’s free to watch at the time of broadcast – you just need to sign up.

Now we’d like to hear from you. How will you use this idea in your work? Please leave a comment below.

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61 Comments

  1. Marianne says:

    Great stuff!

  2. Ken Larsen says:

    Thank you both for such a powerful narrative linking chronic pain to its antecedent trauma.
    I have worked with a chronic pain population for 24 years and witness this connection.
    This video example is an inspiration to me to continue to explore past trauma as a possible root.

  3. I have just watched your broadcast on hyper-hypo arousal. I pressed the wrong button and list the contact to ask this question. I have a client who was abused by her parents physically, sexually and psychologically. They ‘presented’ (my word) her to a paedophile ring from the age of about 3 until age 11. Abuse continued into her teens. I am astonished that she survived as a highly intelligent compassionate woman though still deeply distressed by her trauma. She is now 60 years old and after some six years of therapy, 2 with one counsellor and 4 with me, she still experiences ‘snowstorms’ of flashbacks of particular events, plus one flashback of a tobacco smell that is not linked to a specific event. These flashbacks are exhausting, and undermine her hope of recovery (which is progressing). Is there any intervention I can make that may assist in reducing the flashbacks? We have worked through memories of each of the clusters of events that spark the flashbacks, and I have suggested that my client might begin to see them as both an indicator that she needs to pay attention to an imbalance in her life, and as something that she might learn to accept and tolerate. These suggestions (as you no doubt will appreciate) have limited success. I have a sense that helping to deal with the flashbacks is key to deeper recovery. What is the mechanism here? Am I missing something?

    • Anya says:

      I mentioned in a comment on another thread how helpful I have found EMDR and scalp acupuncture for PTSD to be in helping move the trapped trauma through so it can heal. Perhaps that might help your patient? The scalp acupuncture treatment is being taught by Drs Jason and Linda Hao in New Mexico, though my practitioner was able to work from their book. They have worked with patients at Walter Reed as well, often with amazing results. I know I found it to be very powerful!

    • Barbara says:

      If she is getting flashbacks from triggers known or very likely not so known….she of course is very aware of imbalances in her life and (I would actually find this unhelpful to have this pointed out with a plea for acceptance). She knows. She needs to feel safe above all. Finding the first trigger, in my experience, is not relevant to recovery. The triggers are sensed in our bodies through sights, sounds, smells…not necessarily explicit memories. Being able to be in our bodies is paramount. The nature/animals connection is a wonderful tool for this and I believe that IFS can have a wonderful impact as suggested by Rebeca.
      I had a therapist have me write out the narrative of my obvious traumatic event and read it to him. All this did was trigger my ANS. It wasn’t until I read The Body Keeps the Score that I began to realize the importance of finding a way to feel safe in my body through somatic experiencing (Levine, through Ian McNaughton-thanks) and especially through Trauma Sensitive Yoga. Until survivors feel some safety in their bodies and can learn to work with their bodies eventually as a resource for self and co regulation….talk can be frustrating and not particularly successful. The only language that worked for me was that which was offered though TSY of invitation and inquiry. The invitation to consider being in my body allowed me to learn to come back ‘in’ safely, at my own pace, on my own terms, and start to be able to find ways to regulate my ANS in the context of my own body. Remember that a lack of choice in incidents of trauma, makes being able to choose what we feel in, and do with our bodies a foundation for healing. In my experience (as a survivor), this is where to ‘begin’.

      • Anya says:

        Very good points, especially in connection with the persistence of trauma over a long span, such as in chronic childhood abuse or POW situations. I am only now realizing how truly abdicated I have been for my whole life, and learning self-compassion has opened the door to the hope of feeling safe. Regarding TSY — is this something someone with physical limitations can do? I have been using qi gong for stress relief to help soothe the system and help it feel safer, but I have begun investigating yoga as something to add in for further release and healing. I’m a bit at sea with all the various forms, though! Thank you.

        • Barbara says:

          Hello Anya,
          Yes, even the options for healing can feel overwhelming! I had to put mine on a list (16 pts) then do what I could find available to me. TSY is all about working with possibilities while allowing and inviting you to take care of limitations. For example…the invitation might be to be in inversion (forward fold or down dog), only spoken of as a possible form as you choose. This practice is all about choice. I recently injured myself and while taking the training was in an air cast. Chair yoga was an option for me. Options, options, options…pure invitation to explore, choose, and inquire. That’s it. And I found the language translating into my daily life…..if I choose to, as I am ready. So loving. The benefit of possible movement and breath where you are invited to be the driver. Qi gong was too lonely and stressful for me. I was unable to feel safe enough or settled enough to have Qi moving in my body. It is on my list….for later :) For me, TSY was/is the ultimate opening to embodied self compassion that continues to transfer to my every day life. Search: Trauma Centre Trauma Sensitive Yoga. Having said all that….we are all individuals but for sure worth a look. All the best. Barbara

          • Anya says:

            I like Francesco Garry Garripoli and Daisy Lee Garripoli, a husband and wife team. I have two of their DVDs but the one we like best for tamping down the whole system is Qi Gong For Stress Relief. It is put out by Gaiam.

            I’m rather used to feeling energy move through my body as my primary care for the past twenty years has been acupuncture. Five Element style, especially, is awesome for working on the whole person, body, mind, and spirit. In eastern thought, separation of the three is impossible.

            Acupuncture views stuckness as a log jam in the stream that is us, and it works to remove twigs, debris, and sometimes logs bit by bit to allow the stream to flow freely as it was designed to do. It often stirs up emotion in me then helps it clear as it works on physical symptoms as well.

            May we all flow freely!

          • Barbara says:

            Thanks so much for your offerings on Qi Gong and acupuncture. I have much to learn about acupuncture but have found it very balancing (when done holistically). I am reminded again to partake :) Take good care and yes, may we flow freely!

          • Barbara says:

            My pleasure! And if you don’t mind…which QiGong presenter is the one you like? We are indeed very capable of working our way through our trauma and pain. Barbara

          • Anya says:

            Thank you, Barbara! I will check it out. I have heard such good things on yoga but felt afraid of causing more pain. (That part of session five rang home!) I am fortunate in that my husband has gotten hooked on doing the qi gong for stress relief did with me which helps it be less lonely.

            I think sometimes the safety factor with qi gong varies greatly according to the teacher. Some I found online were very definitely not safety inducing and caused feelings of agitation to arise. The presenters are compassionate souls in the one I use, with the man mentioning that he used energy work to recover after being told he would be in a wheelchair forever after a car accident.

            How wonderful to have multiple resources to work through our trauma and pain!

      • Thank you, Barbara’s.

        • Barbara says:

          No problem. Keep up your wonderful work :)

    • Rebeca O says:

      I am very grateful you wrote this. I believe it is also what happens outside that triggering is a key. Mindfulness combined with art theraphy in nature, see if she can walk in nature, also as Pat preseted in another video, your client cab feel more trust to connect with animals and to receive what she needs in the present. I also use Internal Family Systems in my work and my life and it is amazing, the results are something you just notice very soon in better awarness, and you can build from this awarness. Helping her to feel the first trigger is so important, and to see what she can do to manage this… My best best results came when a client started to relearn relanshionahip with nature and building trust in herself in nature, she used this trust with people.

  4. Thank you

  5. Debbie Davis says:

    Thank you, Peter. I will invite clients to look inside to see if the memory is implicit and invite the client to work on releasing the body from staying stuck in that pain.

  6. Velimira Robova says:

    Hi ,I use a different method for releasing of Traped trauma.
    It is created by Dr.Bradley Nelson and it is called Emotion code.
    I use surrogate muscle testing and Yes and No questions towards the subconscious mind, to establish the time and place of the traumatic experience.
    Intense emotions,not prossesed property,can get “Traped ” ,which can create in long term disturbance on energy level.
    I can establish exactly when is the event ,that started the problem, even if the person seamed to have forgotten it.
    Once we bring the traumatic event to the conscious mind, we can balance the energy, using a magnet .
    Testing the subconscious mind is useful, because some people had a traumatic experience in their life in the womb and they are not aware of it.

  7. Elaine Dolan says:

    Just want to say thanks to Dr. Levine for demonstrating how to turn pain into consciousness and then a resource for his *patient* and us.

  8. In Lacanian Psychoanalysis, trauma is defined simply as “Anything seen or heard and not understood.” In other words a hole in reality that has no signification. When this occurs there is a natural compulsion to repair our reality by filling in the hole with a phantasy of what has occurred; the problem being that we tend to weave our worst fears into the phantasy because we are anthropologically conditioned to do so in order to survive. For example, if you and I were dropped into the jungle in the Amazon at two in the morning with no moon and we heard a noise twenty feet away, what would it be? The truth is we cover the hole in reality with our worst fears in order to survive, and this is the core of the traumatizing factor…..the repetition of the phantasy taken to an absolute…….For more on this subject read: “Being Seen and Being Heard” by William Chamberlain Suite 207-1118 Homer Street, Vancouver BC, Canada. V0N2W2 or Tel: 604-2097111

    • Barbara says:

      Thank you for this offering William. I am curious to know how a Lacanian analyst would apply the theory to helping a person shift from the repetition of the phantasy in order to become grounded in ‘real’ time and recover from the distortion of time often felt by trauma survivors.

  9. Martha says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this powerful story and useful information. What I will take into my work is the question (paraphrasing): What does your body want to do? Where does it want to go? Trying to figure out the “why” isn’t as important as allowing someone to sense from within what their deeper somatic intelligence wants to express.

    As a Somatic Educator (teaching the clinical work of Thomas Hanna, Ph.D) I guide clients to restore somatic sensation and control. It’s not uncommon that they will have sensations that scare them – especially if they’ve come in to learn to get rid of back pain without realizing that their thoughts, emotions or life has anything to do with their discomfort. I ask them to stay present and to continue breathing. I refer them to trauma specialists if they are open to it. Guiding people back to a safe, integrated experience of themselves so they can move with ease is a real key to recovering from trauma.

    I am learning so much from your articles, and have signed up for the Trauma Master Series.

    Thank you!

  10. Leah says:

    A very illuminating story! I will use this body sensing in my work with college students who have experienced trauma – particularly those who have the facility with introspection and body awareness that the individual in the story has. This is also a useful reminder for me to trust the knowledge that is stored in my own body – both from my past and in the present moment with clients. It is important to note, though, that this example is of a specific Trauma incident whereas much trauma is complex and not attributable to one incident – and body work can be done with those cases as well. Thank you.

  11. Barbara Caspy says:

    Thanks! I’m going to be more proactive in working with what the client feels in their bodies.

  12. Ryan Turner says:

    Energy is stored in the mind and body at the time of trauma, and effective therapy helps the energy release itself in the way that it needed to, but wasn’t able to, at the time of trauma. Dr. Levine facilitated this release of energy when he asked the participant, “If you allow that tension to move your body, in what way might it move your body?” This allowed the participant to reenter the memory of the war trauma, stay with it, and complete the process of the traumatic event that was stored in his body. I will use this story and guidance by helping my clients allow their bodies to communicate the worst part of their trauma and guide what direction they need to move and what parts they need to focus on in order to relieve their body’s tension. I use EMDR regularly, but IFS would also be a useful approach for dealing with trauma. Thank you!

    • Rebeca O says:

      I also use IFS Internal Family Systems, it has been an amazing discovery in my practice.

  13. Thank you for sharing! I treat stored somatic experiences on a regular basis. I really appreciate Dr. Levine’s recall of this patience’s experience. I often tell my client’s to trust their body’s wisdom. I employ Brainspotting, and EMDR on a daily basis with these clients.

  14. As a gestalt therapist, I do that kind of work all the time, and ,often w similar results. Connecting mind and body is ver powerful experience.

  15. Tassillie Dent says:

    Thanks for the reminder of how the body can carry the a story. This event sounded as if the volunteer could have experienced initially what I learned from past EMDRM training as an abreaction. So much reaserch have been done in a short lifetime to explain these episodes so clearly. The skillful insight of the volunteer and the the gentle exploration of the doctor made this situation memorable for all.

  16. Lyn Reed says:

    I have a question – what if the trauma is complex PTSD and has not been from one specific event but rather chronic and ongoing environmental/family issues – even generational trauma such as grief?

  17. Odette says:

    This is great. As a Massage Therapist it sheds light on the possible source of pain, especially persistent pain, pain that may be unresponsive to many standard massage therapy approaches with clients that I work with. Although I am cognizant of the fact that trauma can be trapped in the body, hearing this example from Peter Levine has been a lightbulb moment. Thank you.

  18. Wonderful example of what in some ways seems so simply exquisite and yet truly life affirming. I started training with Peter in 1971, later an intern and still watching this renewing and reconfirming, learning to slow down and titrate the incomplete responses with attuned support.

  19. Jacqueline says:

    My problem area is a difficult area of the body to name and discuss. I have a great deal of anger towards that part of my body and often burn the area with hot water which causes other problems like irritation on the skin etc. I am female and since this is a private part of my body it is extra difficult to discuss.

  20. As a therapist trained in using EMDR I regularly work with clients who can’t access traumatic memories but definitely have negative body sensations. I do a “float back” and ask them to remember the first time they had these same sensations (pain, body symptoms, etc). I have found there is always an initiating event (sexual abuse, bullying as a child or other traumatic experience). I enjoyed Peter Levine talk; always more to learn in this field.

  21. Lee Nugan says:

    This was so interesting. Where is Peter Levine’s practice located?

  22. Margaret McGuigan says:

    What a great post from peter. I will stay with the pain that my clients discuss and help them ffiucs more in physical breakdown of symptoms. Have been thinking king of sensorimotor training. Will definitely enrol

  23. This is wonderful. I am commenting in regards to myself. Watching this video brought to mind the fact that after a severe car crash where I could have died , and the reaction of my older sisters response to me afterwards. Since that accident I still have muscle spasticity and a balance issue which was Diagnosed as MS. I don’t believe that and so I sought a different doc who found that my I have an ATLAS SUBLUXATION that stays in place. I have lost everything bc of this. I now have no income so I cannot purchase any program 5o help but I do own the trauma release process by David Berceli and wondering if this is similar to Dr. LEVINE WORK?..
    I am going to try David Beecelis. method . I appreciated reading this discussion and too have been frozen in fear for 4 years now.

    • This is the best of my knowledge at this time. I took up to level 3 of Peter Levine’s system which is called Somatic Experience and I have the book by David Berceli, “The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process”. Although, I am more familiar with Dr. Levine’s method, it looks like Berceli more often has stress positions that can unleash tight muscles, and possibly the trauma memories held in the tightness. In this way, it appears to me, more like Alexander Lowen’s Bioenergetics. By contrast, in Somatic Experiencing, the clinician watches more closely what movement the body itself is trying to do, or holding back from doing, and then encourages that movement. This means the movement may not be a stress pose. The focus is on process, including helping the client to titrate any intense reactions by pendulating between the intensity and safety/comfort to help the release be more digestible and less overwhelming. I hope this helps answer your question.

  24. David oz says:

    I have back pain. I just wish it were that simple. i have spent hours feeling into the pain. Maybe the example, because of his knowledge about trauma, was just more ready. Having said that i am definitely ready or maybe not!!!

  25. Leslie Ellis says:

    I use a technique called focusing which is very similar and invites my clients to simply be with the felt sense in their body in an open, curious way. Many times it has led from a physical sensation to a trauma memory that then is able to release. But there are also times when the sensation is there, and the open following of the impulses, emotions, images or whatever wants to arise don’t lead anywhere in that moment.

    I am trying to discern the difference when it works or doesn’t and think maybe it has to do with the client feeling safe enough or ready enough. I expect that Peter Levine’s presence provides a safe enough holding environment because he is practiced and gifted at this work. I think this way of working is so much more than a technique and that the quality of presence we bring as a therapists, and the calm and solid way we meet our client’s painful sensations is a major aspect of its ability to bring about the kind of dramatic release Levine describes.

    • Barbara says:

      Leslie,
      As a trauma survivor, and in my experience of many practitioners, I agree with you wholeheartedly that the quality of the therapists presence is key. When I don’t sense safety, I am in full defensive mode body and mind.

      The moments and days after trauma are so key to integration of the event….events. Being dismissed, challenged, told to change ones thoughts is what I got. We all need the presence of a caring and supportive other through our difficulties (and these are on a continuum). I just needed to know I was okay, I was brave, it was okay to feel scared. I sense that I would have more easily released and integrated. It is much more challenging when the opposite occurs…then a layering of subtle but reaffirming trauma gets further entrenched on the body and mind. And it does not matter how much I know this intellectually…my body tells me the difference between safe and not safe. So thank your for you comment about the quality of presence. It is the main piece in my experience :)

  26. Sharon Greenlee says:

    I don’t mean to be disrespectful but I think I would get more out of this is Only Dr. Levine did the talking. I’m thinking he would add a bit more to exactly what took place. When there is a “narrator” Interrupting the presentation, it distracts from it. Thank you…

  27. Jude Christensen, BA, LMT, Expert J.F. Barnes Myofascial Release Therapist, Reiki II, acupressure says:

    In working with a client using John. Barnes Myofascial Release, We may often dialogue, asking a brief, open ended question, such as, “What is under that (discomfort)? We focus on centering the answer to come from the body, not the analytical mind. I may enhance this process by asking if there is tension around the area then if either side is predominant, to help them unwind.

  28. Jennifer says:

    Thank you for this post. Recently, I wrote a vulnerable blog post about a severe sickness I experienced in the postpartum. For a week afterwards I experienced the symptoms of my sickness. Because of my understanding of trauma and how the ‘body keeps the score’, I interpreted these symptoms as a release and that my body was completing the trauma cycle. My mind was replaying that event over and over again. I silenced my mind and sat with the sick terrified part of myself, tears began to stream down my face. I understood in that moment that a part of me was still frozen in fear and needed compassionate tender care to release and feel safe again.

  29. Susan D. Gorman, M.A., SEP says:

    Thank you, Dr. Levine for this powerful, insightful story of releasing “locked up” pain. What a spiritual connection you have made with someone who could let go, release the pain in the moment rather than having to spend hours, days, months, years, decades writing, meditating, crying, praying, feeling despair and then another ray of hope and light. I am deeply grateful, Dr. Levine.

  30. Leo says:

    At this time I have a young client who suffers from extreme neck pain coming up each time he ist exposed to people he would like to connect with. He then gets frozen and retires. It’s impossible for him to build to any relationship exept the therpeutic one we have finally established. He sais he trusts me. So I guided him through a hypnotic age regression to change some things in the early childhood. But I preferred to interrupt the hypnosis when he said the following:
    I am very small and I cannot walk yet and I am lying on the floor. I see a black man. He is putting his foot on my head. I cannot feel anything but now he changes and turns into my father. Ma Mom is sitting on the bed next to us and she is weeping.
    He told me that they were arguing a lot and when he was five years old they divorced. The Trauma seems evident and also that his neck is hurting. I assume that the black man and the father have to be reunited which means they will be integrated. But I would like to learn some more first because it looks like a rather delicate thing to do. What do you think?

  31. Suzy says:

    It seems as if most people have some kind of trapped emotional trauma. This technique can help so many.
    Thank you Ruth and Peter.

  32. Jenny says:

    As an EFT practitioner, when working with pain, questions I generally ask the client are: when did it start, was there a specific physical event around that time, and if not, what was going on in your life around that time (looking for any emotionally significant events).

    • Caryl says:

      Like you Jenny I use EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) Tapping with great results for the last 17 years, though I combine it with all my trainings including Matrix Reimprinting where we refer to Dr Scaer’s work (which he credits originally from working with Peter Levine). I have a lot of time for modalities like Havening, Focusing, TAT and Brainspotting. Coming from South Africa with a high incidence of trauma inducing experiences, I began to organise workshops and study these methods in 1999 (long before the scientific proof of how trauma works had caught up with what we as healers already were succeeding doing with our clients) with international healing luminaries like Brandon Bays (The Journey), Byron Katie and EFT-Matrix Reimprinting trainers. I personally do not find I can relate to Tremoring and prefer the other modalities I use.
      I originally trained in and used The Journey (pioneered by Brandon Bays) to release traumatic memories – physical and emotional – it combines hypnotherapy with parts dialogue and forgiveness and certain NLP wording – all in a safety net of spiritual guidance Brandon calls Grace.

      But the day came after I was newly trained in EFT when a client came to me with OCD having actually “died” under anaesthetic and I applied EFT for his fear – not of death – but being knocked off his feet yet again (a pattern of traumas in his life) and ending up in a wheelchair. I knew to look for the earliest relevant memory before the age of 6 and finally he remembered when he was just learning to walk his older brother (who had bullied him all his life) had punched him in the stomach, literally KNOCKING HIM OFF HIS FEET – a pattern that continued all his adult life until this process completely changed his life and he went back to an empowered and productive life again.

      Of course my own interest arose when years of TALK THERAPY had not healed my childhood “ongoing trauma” of growing up with an alcoholic father – only what I call emotional-energy

      • Caryl says:

        …I meant to say emotional-energy tools like the above mentioned finally helped me to break free – the basis of my work as a coach today!

  33. Rebecca says:

    I think this was very helpful. It was a good reminder that things that are currently maladaptive were once highly adaptive and to accept both and investigate them through the body.
    thanks

  34. P. Blasch says:

    I had a similar experience after reading Peter’s book “In an Unspoken Voice”, working with stiffness in my right side. I was made aware by a therapist that here was “holding” in my right hand and side even when I felt completely relaxed.
    Painful tension all down my right arm would increase during sitting meditation, and I was resisting it because I felt afraid of it. One time after reading Peter’s book, I “allowed” the tension to do what it wanted to do. My face slowly contorted to the right and when I allowed my right arm to lift as it apparently wished to, my right index finger pointed back over my right shoulder.
    The memory of arriving at primary school and feeling so overwhelmed by it came back to me. I was able to stay connected with myself (after years of therapy and meditation training) and ask myself what my “small child” wanted. My left hand immediately came up to gently clasp my right hand, as I swivelled effortlessly up to standing and walked “away”. I realised I had finally done – age 42 – what I wanted my mother to have done when I was aged 4 1/2: turn round and take me home, away from the school that scared me.
    This was a revelation and a major turning point in my therapy and my life.

    • Yes. Thank you P. Blasch for this very clear description of how significant our deepest emotions are and how deeply they stay in our bodies.

      • Jude Christensen, BA, LMT, Expert J.F. Barnes Myofascial Release Therapist, Reiki II, acupressure says:

        Thank you for this story of completion.

  35. Rich Buckley says:

    Dr Levine is always brilliant, he gives insights which makes me feel he always knows what I’m going to say. As a regression hypnotist, as soon as the bulk of the pain and tensions are traced to the “right” as opposed to the “left”, in my world right vs left represents “this life” vs “past life.”

    His focus seems far more direct and aware than my focus. It would have taken me several hours to maybe help this person. Even still Dr Levine’s insights seem gifted beyond the purely scientific and blessed with a working intuition fed by our better angels.

    In any event, a useful light reading book worth having in a reference library written by Julia Cannon, “Soul Speak – The Language Of Your Body” It would have gotten one “in the ball park” followed then by 3 to 5 hours of work. Where as Dr Levine walks methodically to the source in 5 minutes. Thank you.

  36. Robin Williams says:

    I’ve been writing for some time now and just remembered writing a piece called Stillpoint. After suffering chronic pain in my right shoulder for almost four years, I was having a much needed massage. I was in an abusive marriage at the time of the fall but the marriage had been over for some time. When the massage therapist used a technique called Stillpoint, I began to weep as I had a sensation of feeling all the weight of both emotional and physical pain released as she rested the weight of my head on her fingertips. She explained that the technique was used in situations where there were trapped emotions. I’m thinking this is similar to what you’re speaking about here,

  37. Penny says:

    Thank you

  38. Abbie says:

    I work with patients in pain. Sometimes when there is a clear indication that this pain was locked in the body without a physical trauma, connecting with the first experience of this pain brings the body to a place where it can be unlocked and released. Other times it’s tied into the language used, such as “a pain in the butt”. Often just bringing attention to that in a gentle somewhat humorous way allows it to unlock. So many ways the physical body holds thought patterns and emotions!

  39. chrys says:

    I am working with a client who experienced a car accident two years ago and she is still holding it emotionally throughout her body (intestine, heart and neck and shoulders) … we are slowly working our way through.

  40. I shoud do Heart Assisted Therapy. (John Diepold.)

  41. Susan Hawkes says:

    Had just a whiff of nitrous oxide after the dental technician placed the mask over my face and I burst into tears. Dentist and tech were surprised, maybe scared and claimed I didn’t have mask on long enough to get any effect from the NO. That was not the point. The act of having someone else cover my face and impinge my breathing released the years of emotionally burying my mother’s repeated suffocations of me as discipline.
    A year before, a sleep apnea study tech attempted to adjust my apnea mask without waking me. My dream of a field of yellow flowers suddenly included a fast approaching, dangerous woman. I awoke screaming. I woke the other sleep study subject and scared the tech so badly she locked her keys in the control room. She had to stop the study, send the other subject home and then I drove her home so she could get the extra key to her car.
    You never know who is walking around with what adverse events locked away but still active and easy to activate.

    • Suzy says:

      I’m sorry for your pain. My mom is the best…..but I still remember the time she repeatedly hit my head with a hairbrush because she didn’t like my haircut. Shameful memories by a parent’s discipline are difficult to let go of.
      I’ve been holding on to that one for 40 years. I let go now. Thank you.

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