How to Work with Traumatic Memory That Is Embedded in the Nervous System
with Bessel van der Kolk, MD;
with Bessel van der Kolk, MD; Pat Ogden, PhD; Ruth Lanius, MD; PhD Dan Siegel, MD; and Ruth Buczynski, PhD
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with Bessel van der Kolk, MD;
Lo Taurus says
Bessel’s comments about imagination were key to what I feel is the greatest healer, and he reminded me of this. I felt my own imagination healing me and therefore adding to the peace of the world. We have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving in particular. This series! I studied with Peter in Boulder early on and so love to hear him speak. Really has a language with soothing the central nervous system. Ruth you are quite the moderator. Thanks to all, peace again!
Gidget Wong says
Another great and informative learning session. And importantly so useful to myself and my clients.
I found all of them useful. I now know that it’s important to establish safety support first for the client before tackling their trauma. It’s so true as they need strategies to help themselves to get through outside of therapy.
Another new understanding for flashbacks which can be die to self punishment and self abuse. Thank you again.
Dr Stephanie Tucker, MD says
Questions – please – for our behavioral health colleagues:
If a child has physical symptoms, (such as the back pain experienced by the man who had unconscious procedural trauma memories – described and helped by Dr Levine) ….. and no physical /pathological source is identified (as can frequently be the case in people with back pain, etc)….
…. how can a physician more effectively assess/screen / rule out – potential unconscious somatic causes such as unresolved trauma, etc – of physical symptoms?
1) What are some effective ways to screen, and
2) What are suggested thresholds of when to refer to a behavioral health expert?
….if a person / child, has physical symptoms – and does not screen positively for signs of depression, anxiety, etc?
Stephanie Tucker, MD
I am not a professional in the field of psychology but I am a life coach and a consultant in the areas of restorative justice and Circle Way work. Although I would not venture into using the techniques you are teaching in that work I do, this is incredibly helpful in helping me understand a bit more of what may be holding my clients back from making progress toward their goals and developing more compassion for myself (child trauma survivor) and others in my family who I know suffered trauma or who may have and not shared that experience with me. Understanding how the brain processes or stores those experiences and how those experiences may not have been processed and continue to affect people’s lives (including my own) is helping me to heal myself and forgive others whose behavior has impacted my life. I have been frustrated by a relative who has recently completed training and education to become a social worker therapist who insists on analyzing family members, some of who are deceased and who she has never met. I don’t know how to stop that unhelpful behavior but at least I understand that she doesn’t understand. Maybe I should encourage her to check out your work and these videos. One memory that is recurring, the first memory of my childhood, is one of an ordinary experience when I was about 3 and 1/2 in which I understood that I was not safe in my own home. I know from this 3rd video that obviously something happened when I was pre-verbal that was not integrated and that still operates in my life as a procedural memory. I am going to explore my body responses to see where that leads me. Thank you for offering this work to such a large audience. I truly wish to improve the lives of as many people as I can in this lifetime and know that begins with healing myself. I am 72 now and grateful that I survived to this age when I was ready and able to work on my emotional and spiritual health and that resources are available for me to do that. Thank you.
As an Alexander Technique teacher I have found that hands-on teaching can lead to the release of a previously unrecognised muscular holding. This rel was has often gently made the way for a profound emotional psychotherapeutic release. As someone who also prays with laying on of hands I’ve found that as emotional/psychological/spiritual release happens it is similarly accompanied by muscular release. TTS all both/and and such vital work. Chicken and egg and chicken process; either gives us the other and is nourishment. Ongoing nourishment.
‘The things that don’t exist are the most difficult to get rid of’ May it come safely- from all the places it’s still lurking in each of us – into the light to become light.
God bless you all and thank you for your help.
This was by far an excellent session today. I liked how Ruth sums up ideas in a clear way. I listen to many of these sessions because they help me be a better human being.
Providence Hogan says
As a client I find this serious more valuable because it allows my rational brain to understand the work we are doing. I need to be a part of the process to move forward. I share what I learn with my therapist.
You should know that many of us assume we are unusually broken and no one understands. This class has made so much sense that I believe it has helped propel my healing and trust that I am an aberration.
As a massage therapist I can say that even though I would never assume to “practice” this with my clients I am able to “hold a space” for them to do their work with their own therapist. The body-mind connection is obvious to me. I am so happy this is now current thought and treatment.
That I am not an aberration. Sorry.
michelle massaro says
So glad to see another massage therapist experiencing this training! I am finding it is reinforcing the slowness of the process ( I am Impatient , by nature, to see fast results ) when past trauma has been disclosed by a client. I have been practicing in the state of Ohio as a medically licensed massage therapist for 31 years and feel as though I am just beginning to see the depth that safe touch training can offer clients. I also teach couples classes in order to empower partners to touch each other with confidence and responsibly. God bless you and your clients for health and healing!
Hazel Da Silva says
As previously mentioned, I have an Occupational Therapy background, now training in trauma (for personal and professional needs). My adult son & I have PTSD from domestic violence of many yrs duration. Wondering if any others have experienced ongoing “dark energy” from a perpetrator (my ex, also my son’s dad) that seems to reside in us & sabotages every effort that we make towards moving forwards and healing our significant past traumas. This force seems to be parasitic in nature, embedded within us & almost feels as if he is watching our every move & countering it with sabotage. Affecting us in all 4 realms, physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. It reduces us to utter exhaustion, despondency, hopelessness, and sense of never ending triggers (as someone below also mentioned) to the point of thinking “why bother, there is NO quality of life left.” How does one deal with this dark energy, which is a source of constant dread on a daily basis? Welcome any advice from replies
Holding your hand in the darkness. I’ve not experienced the physical; just all the rest is unbelievable, unbearable (yet borne), manipulative and coercive – and hidden from sight. And ongoing. EMDR referral from my GP has helped me for PTSD. I’m blessed to have an excellent and very experienced counsellor too.
Teresa Eisenlohr says
Hazel, as a survivor of child abuse, I know this dark force, too. It hides in the shadows and is extremely hard to get a handle on, isn’t it? In a imaginative meditation one day, where I regularly check in with all my various characters of my personality (I didn’t fracture into various personalities, but I know how one could), I saw a dark figure in a cloak moving silently among them. I was startled as he turned to look at me and smile a chilling smile, although he was as good looking as Brad Pitt. Besides being a LMT, I am a theologian and pastor. I find it interesting that one of Jesus’ main miracles is exorcism–which we don’t know what to do with today, so we don’t talk about it. But I use the words of exorcism on this force when I do see it operating. So much of what we’re doing in trauma work is exorcism, in a sense. Except that that force will never really go into a herd of pigs and be drowned, as in scripture. Because the truth is, that this dark force is now a part of us as a result of our trauma. Of course, it’s a part of everyone’s experience; we just know ours better. I’m learning to accept this fact instead of expecting it to be banished. I still confront it, contain and curtail its self-sabotaging ways. And each time I do, that power is weakened as I grow stronger.
Tom Johnston says
Thanks for mentioning what I call the “dark cloud over my head” that I am constantly trying to get away from and into the sunlight. That is my Traumatic Memory. It is embedded in my limbic system but, in trying to understand it, I use images to contact it, such as dark energy that sabotages much of what I try to do. When I do that, it causes me pain. As I try to heal from my abuse, I realize that my perpetrators are gone and I am here. The dark cloud is there in my memory, but in my present only when I use it as an explanation for what is happening now. So, in a sense, I am reconstituting my abuse as if it’s happening now. Lots of things that are happening now trigger my traumatic memory, but when I can identify them as my traumatic memory, I can straighten out and realize these explanations aren’t happening now, only in my memory. Then I can imagine new explanations and new responses that are different from my traumatic memories. This is not painful, but exhilarating. It’s unfamiliar, and I am learning to trust it.
Kathy, Social Work, Fairbanks, AK, USA says
Hazel, there is another technique not mentioned in this series that releases trauma called Brainspotting. It uses the visual field that is linked to the limbic system with an attuned relationship with the therapist. It draws upon those experiences in the lower areas of the brain that words don’t necessarily access. It’s very effective and fast and helps the brain process those experiences and feelings. Worth looking into. http://www.brainspotting.com
Urban Sundvall says
Thank you “All” for this series. Some great reminders and new storyintegrationconcepts to add to my work. Especially increased postural observation and utilisation reminders. I’m looking forward to next weeks episode
Barb ShearerJones says
Hello from Australia
I am managing to catch most of the broadcasts in spite of the time difference!
Thank you for the excellent information, experience, application ideas… and more.
I appreciate the style of presentation with different practitioners input being tied together into a cohesive session by Ruth. Thank you.
I have clearer ways of building client resources and assisting them to become aware of those they already have developed.
Ken Levi says
I’m not a therapist but a client of a godsend of a therapist I worked with for four years who is trained in trauma therapy. I especially appreciate the closing comments on this video about how important the work all of you who are therapists are doing. This is truly life changing. I am very grateful and will remain so for my experience in this healing. These videos are valuable to me primarily for what I once heard Ruth Lanius refer to as psycho education. It helps me when I can better understand what happened and how my system evolved and continues to. It gives me a sense of security. Thank you all.
I just want to thank you so much for making this series available for folks who can’t afford to be gold subscribers. I’m a “baby therapist” fresh out of grad school (e.g. finances are tight) and my caseload has a number of high-trauma kiddos, so having resources like this helps alleviate some of that “holy buckets I know this kiddo would benefit from X but I won’t be able to afford the training to get that knowledge for a long time” anxiety I’m sure most new practitioners have. So, thank you so much 🙂
Sharon Gløersen says
Thank you for this inspiring seminar. I was particularly interested in the idea that was raised about flashbacks sometimes functioning as self punishment, because of the level of self loathing.
Reply to Dina Mann: Yes, this is an interesting point that you raise. I have some refugee clients who have suffered torture and imprisonment and suffer horrific nightmares. I was recently at a seminar, whereby the psychologist recommended working with the imagination to help ‘re-write’ the nightmares. Asking the clients to re tell the stories/dreams, (after they are safely grounded) and then helping them to play with various endings or to use the imagination to change the dream patterns.
Greg Anderson says
What a wonderful session from an All-Star cast! Especially valuable advice from clearly thoughtful and skilled therapists with the addition of “here’s how it works” brain chemistry. “Go slowly” what a great mantra for working with those who have suffered and are suffering trauma. Thank you. Great stuff. I’ll pass it on. Regards, Greg Anderson, MD
I, also am not a practitioner but am finding your generous gift of allowing us free access to help to heal and validate my own experiences of pre-verbal trauma. I am also so grateful because your insights help me to recognise triggering in both my own behaviour and others – which can reduce conflict in so many areas. I am a community care-giver and use so many of your insights in dealing with my clients and family members. I cannot thank you all enough for this help and support as i am still unable to financially resource outside help to heal. But now I can always see a ray of hope and I am able to shine that ray of hope on ALL the situations I meet in which individuals (even including myself), declare themselves or their situation, hopeless. This is another kind of circle but not a vicious one – a healing spiral and for that I am eternally grateful.
Marcia Harms says
Had a break due to recent trauma in the news today, so this was timely for a new person I shall see tonight in session to help with all these points four points to preparedness. Thanks. Such wonderful synchronicity in my little corner of the world.
Jeff Lubin says
A question perhaps for Bessel: What do you do with clients who angrily protest that they no imagination nor hope?
Lois Bernard says
I already used some of the material from this webinar which I listened to earlier today with a client concerning the way trauma is held in the body and the need to address the body first with some clients. Also I am very interested in the concept of “backdraft” that is clients who are triggered by the expression of love and caring by the therapist and why that may occur. I will be much more cautious in the future concerning “backdraft”.
Wendy Johnson says
Thank you for this excellent series. I am not a practitioner. I am watching these episodes for myself. I find them so helpful – especially today’s because it validated so many of my experiences. I have PTSD, but am slowly working with an SE practitioner to heal.
It is so captivating! There are so many traumatized human beings who need peace! I cannot thankyou enough!
Sharon Kocina says
Great info. Thank you.
I wish you would also include David Grand and Brainspotting. I’ve been using it with clients for about 13 years. It works really well for all that your experts espouse.
Lisa, IE says
I appreciate what you’re doing but I don’t want to receive so many emails. I’m getting so many! I’ve tried to unsubscribe and it’s not working. Please can you help?
Michelle Murphy says
I’ll take care of it for you.
Chanin Ollison says
How can you use these techniques working with youth who are homeless and who have multiple mental health diagnosis?
Kim Tousignant says
My opinion is that while in the middle of unstable, chaotic environments they still NEED the coping strategies they developed. So must first stabilize and create safety before can really begin to work on those traumatic experiences, releasing their patterns.
Dina Mann says
By the way, what an impactful, wonderful seminar! It really opened my eyes and I look forward to using this new understanding with many of my clients. Thank you so very much!!
Dina Mann says
I wonder if any of you have had clients express their traumatic experiences through dreams and nightmares? It is very common for those who have experienced great trauma, have problems sleeping because they re-experience the traumas at night or when they dose off. Often, they wake up in terror or in regret that they did nothing to fight back. They try not to sleep out of fear these experiences will replay themselves over and over again in dreams and when awake, there is a bitter taste to their lives even though they are aware of not being in the dream state again.
Sharon Gløersen says
Yes, this is an interesting point that you raise. I have some refugee clients who have suffered torture and imprisonment and suffer horrific nightmares. I was recently at a seminar, whereby the psychologist recommended working with the imagination to help ‘re-write’ the nightmares. Asking the clients to re tell the stories/dreams, (after they are safely grounded) and then helping them to play with various endings or to use the imagination to change the dream patterns.
Yulia, Teacher, RU says
I also had awful nightmares. I agree that it’s useful to try to rewrite the scenario – in the morning or maybe right when it starts. There are two possible ways: to fight of to hug the frightening fugure, both ways make one feel better
Laura Tyrrell says
I am so energised by these talks! Such great, practically useful resources from renowned practitioners and pitched in such a refreshingly inclusive and humanitarian way. Each talk has prompted me to reflect on my own practice and expand new ways of working with clients. I’ve found Pat Ogden’s and Alan Schore’s comments about a patient being in the body whilst the therapist heads towards language, particularly enlightening. Thank you to everyone involved.
Elizabeth Kinsey says
Great session, – thanks!
I especially appreciated the confirmation that you don’t always need to know the history…sometimes clients don’t disclose and feel intensly private. You can work with symptoms and provide tools for them to cope and grow without them feeling forced to open up to the full extend. I have learned that trauma becomes a part of the persons make up- you can’t totally wipe out its existence..Perhaps ECT does that, and in some cases i saw it works for people. But when trauma it stops interfering with the present and perhaps even informs the future and helps to take up new directions, (when the client deepens understanding, knows how to disarm its disabling effects, and accepts the past as useful in some ways), our work is done.
I tuned in late, probably about 2/3 through the program, having found out about the program only minutes before I tuned in. So, I’m at a bit of a disadvantage here.
This weekend I am facilitating a weekend retreat for women military Veterans with PTSD. This is a resiliency training retreat not a retreat that is focused on unpacking trauma at all. Nevertheless, as was discussed in this program, traumatic memories could still get triggered.
The resiliency skills training technique I am using is Community Resiliency Model (CRM) developed by Elaine Karas, LCSW. For reference, Elaine co-founded the Trauma Resource Institute (TRI) located in Claremont, CA. The model, for those of you not familiar with it, is very much based on the same principles discussed in the webinar.
Specifically, I see myself using the interventions discussed in the webinar if a retreatant should begin to dissociate or otherwise have difficulty emotionally managing events of the weekend.
Thank you for all the great information even in the shortened segment I viewed.
Michelle Murphy says
I’m glad to hear that you found the broadcast – I wanted to let you know that we have more times today, so can catch the beginning.
We’ll be replaying this same session – Session Three – today, Thursday, October 25th, at 10am, 12pm, 3pm, 5pm, 6:30pm, and 10pm Eastern Time (US).
I’ll follow this up with an email about how to sign up!
Roslyn Walker says
Wonderfully done! Easy to understand information providing useful examples.
Thanks Ruth, Peter, Bessel, Pat et al.,
This is great stuff. I’m a client (not a therapist) healing himself of severe autoimmune illness which Dr. Gabor Mate once said had it’s roots in trauma. I pick up all kinds of little clues on how to better pursue my healing process through these videos. I’ve passed the link to these sessions onto my therapist and three other local social service organizations in the hopes that support for people like me will improve here. Areas of support that are very poor here in my experience are support for male survivors of sexual abuse and adult men (over 25 years old) at risk of suicide. I’ve done quite a bit to expose that problem and pursue my own healing anyways.
One statement that Ruth mentioned twice is the importance of helping people heal from trauma. That in doing so you are not only helping the client, but their family, the larger community and the world heal. That totally makes sense to me. I experience it directly as a client as I heal in my experiences with myself, my birth family and the larger human community. I felt deeply touched by her statement. To participate in that process IS my life purpose. Thanks Ruth and Namaste! 🙂
Patty Kelly says
I am a Certified Hypnotherapist currently putting together a community workshop on 7 Ways to Manage Stress. With meditation being one way to manage stress, beginning meditators often do not know where to begin. I explain to clients that it is sometimes helpful to to label a thought as either past, or future as thoughts pop up during their meditation. This helps them build awareness of their own thoughts. Your webinar brought up an idea from one of your practitioners to have a client list their current thoughts on paper in one column and list the functions of the thoughts on the other column. I thought this was a great way to practice observing your thoughts on paper before moving into a meditation practice. I will use this in my workshop and I am thankful for the idea.
I really like that too, thank-you for the reminder. Definitely a good way to try and slow down the whirling carousel of thoughts that seems to hi-jack my attempts to meditate. Will definitely try this.
Norma Silver says
An absolutely wonderful series of videos. Applause for all the people who are participating. I, personally, am gaining so much that my quality of every day life is being impacted in such a positive way.Thanks to all the professionals who are sharing their time and knowledge. I am a PTSD patient and am being helped in therapy and by this series. Again. so many thanks. You are all brilliant an making such a positive difference.
susan markel says
This session will definitely help me detect trauma. Also, Bessel’s case with Haim has given me some ideas for dealing with a young(ish) patient’s chronic back pain. Futhermore, although I studied Ruella Frank’s body awareness years ago, I haven’t used it so much in recent years. This session renews my faith in focusing more on the body and non-verbal communication and less on the verbal content. Wonderful session. Merci ! (I’m in France)
This series is for professionals, I know. I am a survivor of many years of childhood trauma and recently lost my therapist and counselor so I am desperate for information, insight, and strategies to help myself.
These lectures are difficult to absorb – I know, not meant for me. They often trigger and distress me. But. I am grateful for the access. I love information.
Thanks for putting this together.
HI Sherry, I know what you are going through because I too am a person in the process of healing himself of trauma related illness (I’m not a therapist either). I too have struggled to find adequate support locally. I found that some therapists will work via videoconference (I like Facetime best (closely followed by Zoom for PCs)). I also found an online chat support group that helped. Richard Miller’s iRest practices (www.iRest.org) have been very helpful since I can do them on my own. Peter Levine also has a book with some practices outlined in it. Like you, I also read and research a great deal. Best wishes on your continued healing. Congratulations for watching these videos. I hope my experiences are helpful to you.
Me too! I find this series profoundly interesting and helpful – haven’t been able to get this in therapy, which is otherwise helpful, though I understand it’s new research.
PS – and I liked the joke about joking :]
I‘ll certainly will take more attention towards the clients postures and impliced signals that are expressed and I want to use this information for the client in the therapy working towards integration. To me this sounds like a very powerful tool. Thankyou Pat!
Adina Krausz says
Thank you for these informative and very compassionate lessons about trauma. They help me remember (and remind my clients) that healing from trauma takes time and patience. I appreciated Ruth’s reminder about how healing an individual’s trauma impacts everyone in his or her family and ultimately changes the world! I feel so privileged be a part of that process!
Carolina Yepes says
The talk was very clear and an excellent summary of theory linked to practical suggestions. I like the integrative nature of the information and how we are encouraged to use various tools to provide a comprehensive paced treatment. I will pay more attention to the body language and use the idea of a spotlight.
Lynne Euinton says
Generally: I think realising the fullness of memory impact was helpful.
Working slowly; noticing non-verbal cues and working with them, empowering a client with a tool kit.
Tolerance and Integration of trauma: Focus on client’s survival skills/strengths – empowering.
Small figures might also be useful in using imagination.
Thank you. Really loved todays session and learned lots!I particularly liked the information around working with patterns -the five things to look for. I work with children and so all the time I am translating how this valuable information can work with my clients. I am going to work on watching for patterns and help my clients see what they are responding to.
Kathy Richmond says
The 4 ways to help a client stabilize dealing with trauma memories was helping to use prior to doing a Brainspotting session which activates their nervous system.
I am thinking about a client with childhood trauma who I have been seeing for one year. Most of these body/nervous system techniques are not much used as they lack external support and grief for that huge loss as a child and adult is creating a therapy centred in attachment and building a safe enough base between us until they will be ready to take in and start to digest body work. They fill the room with their stories, sadness, disappointment and that seems key for them still. In short, how do you work with an adult who has got no support?
One suggestion: give them a goal that helps them envision a way through and out of their painful circumstances. That will automatically engage their body systems in a more positive way, and give them a reason for enduring the pain. Teach them how to build their own support.
For instance, if their main trauma was from active abuse, see if you can engage their innate protective systems. First to start off imagining what protection (and probably justice will enter into this for them) would or should have looked like for them back then. This is an area where visualization can provide a lot of benefit and help them start to rework the body story of their trauma. (You can help by elucidating what protection children are rightly entitled to by law.) Then to imagine what skills that protective person would have needed in order to actually help them – either before or after. And finally, to plan how they could develop those skills in themselves: to be able to learn how to protect and support themselves now and into the future, and eventually to become strong enough to protect any vulnerable people they might meet.
If the primary trauma was from neglect, then perhaps the same approach, but using kindness, love and nurturance instead of protective imagery. Many clients will need a mixture of both.
For grief and loss, you can ask them to visualize what a protective and supportive person would do for someone who’s experienced a loss: a family after a fire, a community after an earthquake, a parent after losing a child. Then get them to visualize what skills are needed for that, and what they would need to be in place in their own lives in order to help those people (including themselves), and what they could do to acquire those skills. If the loss is extreme, Viktor Frankl’s example in Man’s Search for Meaning (at the train platform when his manuscript – his life’s work – was taken from him and he just had to let it go) sounds dour and fatalistic but is often surprisingly helpful for clients.
Thanks George that’s helpful. 🙂
What wonderful suggestions – for all of us suffering from trauma. I guess, ultimately we are learning to re-parent ourselves with all the love and understanding we did not receive/recognise. But finding that initial ability to love oneself and put one’s own needs first can be really difficult after trauma. Still struggling with this.
Michelle, Another Field, EL CAJON, CA, USA says
Antonella, it sounds like the relationship IS the work. I would challenge the thought that she has “no support.” She has an incredible support – you. Your interactions are teaching her what safe/healthy is supposed to feel like and how to do it. Having a space to fill with those stories and pain is a gift. Sometimes my people just need that. I have to ask if our process is something she wants to change. If so, it’s important I keep reminding her as we experiment and venture out that our relationship is always home base. She does not have to lose me or our safe space to gain or add things to her life. We all have support of some kind (people, places, ideas, memories, sensations, spirituality, favorite coping skills). Maybe you could work together to figure out what all of her current supports are. It might even give you some hope for her. 🙂
Kathryn Peterson says
I’m a retired clinical social worker who is also a preverbal abuse survivor/thriver. I’ve been following Bessel for decades and truly appreciate his dedication, intelligence and compassion for us trauma survivors. I didn’t learn anything new, but love the reminders to appreciate my strengths, reorient my focus, use my imagination to see my brilliance and competence, create my own “grounding kit” and meditate. I’m off for a walk in the sun. Thank you all!
I have a question for my colleagues and the presenters. Do you believe that there is really an end to this? I’m grateful that my trauma has pushed me into meditation practices and a commitment to deep self awareness, and I can say that the flashbacks and dysregulations are more manageable and observable, but they’re still here!!! Do they really ever go away in your experience???
Dianne Fernandez says
I appreciate the very organized approach to this teaching with thorough explanations. I am not trained in somatic experiencing but I can use these ideas to increase my attention to a client’s physical presence to enable a more detailed response to what they are presenting in a session. This teaching has enhanced my understanding of what happens and how the levels of memory are affected by trauma.
Christine Law says
I am a children’s yoga teacher. I have been learning about trauma in children and would like to create practices that will help young children work with trauma and it’s affects. I like the very concrete ideas that were given and the emphasis on building support and “kits” within the practice to assist in working with traumatic memories in a pace that will be integrative. Observation is key and will be even more helpful with the suggestions given. Thanks
Mary Cooper says
This is great work and very helpful to me in integrating the use of EMDR/EFT/mindfulness and shamanic journeying in the treatment of trauma. I am a semi-retired PhD/LMFT (80 years old) and am very excited about the evolution of tools that can be used to work with traumatized clients (which includes essentially all of them).
Mary ,where are you? I am in the wider Boston area . Great to hear you are only part retired. . We need more of us who are older to band together. I too integrate EMDR,EFT and TAT and love going on working. what an exciting time in our field.
Joanna Brown says
Fantastic thank you! I am working with three traumatised clients at the moment and I appreciate the comments on pacing. I am still in training and definitely went too quickly with my first client. We are still working together a year later and have slowed the work down to a pace that is supportive. I feel empowered that I am doing much of what is covered here and I appreciate the clarity with which the information is presented.
Debra Carnat says
I have a very brilliant friend, who very consciously and intentionally inserted an object, a candle, into her traumatic memory, when she was not having a flashback. In so doing, this allowed her to realize, when she did have a flashback, and saw the candle there, that this was actually a flashback rather than the traumatic event happening again.
Vanessa Vaughter, LCSW, MDIV says
I LOVE this idea! Thank you for sharing it!
Shea Alexander says
Thank you for this session! I have been a gold subscriber before and have benefited from your workshops and presentation. Coming back and listening again reconfirms my own lifelong learning in my work as a therapist. For example, after years of working in the field of child abuse and sexaul assault, i develped a stage model which put resourcing and developing client’s safety first prior to processing the trauma, only to discover through a journal article that across the pond, Judy Herman had also developed the Stage-By-Dimension model of trauma, perhaps by the same experience and observations that I have had in working with these patients.
Dr. Tim Merrick says
Thanks for another great presentation.
As a life coach, I don’t work with trauma patients per se. But on a continuum of consciousness, even for experiences that don’t rise to the level of what we call trauma, the methodology here is helpful for anyone to become more present, and to integrate their experiences.
-Awareness and reflection of how we process episodic memory allows us to be more connected to purpose.
-Recognizing where our past intrudes on our present through habituated procedural memories.
-Honoring the contexts and memories we have and how they have been beneficial for our development
-Shifting habitual orientation–choosing what stories we tell
-Use of imagination to rewire not just the past, but the future!
Linda Gertz says
The practice of pacing reminds me to focus more on the nonverbal symptoms presenting in the session. Ex.: the client who didn’t see value in the resources of self-calming, mindfulness, even simple deep breathing. This has given me language to better assist the patient understand the process of healing takes time, that discussing the trauma to be “done quickly” with feeling/remembering the past is likely going to lead to traumatization.
I agree. Focus on pacing. Slow -the key word for trauma. The body is very slow.
Being slow allows to find out what might be the best methods to help (each nervous system is different) -in a safe, gentle way.
I find this information extremely helpful. I am working with a client who was abused…and his defenses are very thick and engrained. Using EMDR, but not much movement because the defenses are so strong.
Lois Bernard says
Carol you might look into Internal Family Systems also Carol Forgash’s work on combining EMDR and Internal Family Systems. Those defenses are there for a reason and must be appreciated as how vital they were in the client’s survival.
This was amazing and articulated in a way that I could easily understand. It felt like a very slowed down training on a very complex subject. Thank you so much. When it comes to my work with clients it gave me a chance to see how much I’m doing “right”. In my personal healing I came into contract with an image of myself as a little girl and how I held my body in a very protective way. I still do. Thank you so much. I am considering the Gold Membership because I missed the first two lessons.
Joanne Margaret Dusseau, Another Field, San Pedro, CA, USA says
I hadn’t realized until recently that I don’t have a firm time line on my life. The trauma and shutting down of various feelings in order to survive, like fear and joy, has discombobulated sequences in my life. I don’t have evenly felt memories, but rather vague, uneven recollections and purposely staying away altogether from certain times and events. I am now intentionally, consciously, feeling and allowing feelings of joy regarding these precious parts of my life that I have previously suppressed. I can feel a warmth in my chest that feels like sublime love. I am feeling feelings of breathless anticipation, of heartfelt and expressed love that are honestly brand new to me. It’s a delightful surprise.
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