How Trauma Is Fixed in the Body
It isn’t unusual for me to wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to go back to sleep for a while. When that happens I usually pick up a book and read for 30 minutes to an hour. Last night I picked up Peter A Levine, PhD’s book In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness. It only took me a very few minutes to realize I had a jewel of the book regarding trauma.
All of us experience trauma at some point. Unfortunately, many people experience the horrendous trauma of rape, incest, physical abuse, war, severe injuries and such. Almost everyone experiences the receiving of tragic news, illness, surgery and similar incidents which occur in life. I want to use the example of childhood abuse, it doesn’t matter what kind, as an example of how PTSD begins.
When you’re confronted with something you are afraid of, your body goes through some natural reactions. We call this the fight or flight response. There’s another aspect of this response known as “freeze,” the deer caught in the headlights reaction. When the alarming situation is over the body releases the built-up tension. This is when a shivering or shaking takes place. Many people experience their teeth chattering. During this time the heart rate and blood pressure, which had been elevated, decreases. As long as the body is able to release the built-up tension, the trauma is not set in the body. This means there will not be long-term psychological problems due to the incident.
In order for the body to “return to normal,” the individual needs to feel safe. The fight or flight response will continue to be active as long as the individual is in fear.
Let’s look at childhood abuse. If the parent or caregiver grabbed a child and beat him with hands, fist, belt or other objects there is definitely trauma. Often the child has no idea why this is happening. The youngster could be doing something which, in his or her mind, is perfectly innocent, but the parent or caregiver interprets otherwise. If there is not someone available to take care of or comfort the child after the abuse, then there is no return to safety. The terror the young one experienced, as well as the rage and anger of the perpetrator, remains lodged in the body.
As often happens in childhood abuse there is no one there to provide safety. There is the active perpetrator and the passive one. The passive one, usually the mother, may stand there and cry during the incident, but does absolutely nothing to protect the one being abused. Even if she holds and comforts the victim at a later time, there is no return to safety. There is only the belief he or she is alone and no one cares.
The end result is a developing individual filled with anger, defensiveness and the knowledge that he or she must be his or her own protector. This, of course, interferes with all future relationships. If there is a sense of safety, it is fragile and can be easily destroyed.
There is hope and treatment for PTSD. The most successful treatments incorporate somatic, energetic and spiritual therapies. The key is to release what is now fixed in the body and assist the individual into returning to a place of safety.
The primary techniques I would use our The Body Talk System, PSYCH – K and the use of the Soul Healing Prayer. Body Talk assist in releasing the pent-up energy in the body and releasing the body from its step position in the fight or flight response.
PSYCH-K will remove the limiting beliefs which were implanted during the abuse or trauma, as the situation may be. For example, “The world is not safe,” would be replaced with “I am safe.”
Use of the The Soul Healing Prayer will assist in bringing the spiritual healing necessary from the abuse.
There is much of this work which can be done on a one-on-one basis via the telephone or Skype. Please go to my website www.OdysseyToWholeness.com to learn more. You may also email me at Cathy@OdysseyToWholeness.com.