There is hope!! You can change your brain and your patterns of behaviour
Your worst enemy can be your memory – you can spend a life time trying to forget a traumatic experience. A traumatic experience involves any threat to your life or your sense of safety, which leaves you feeling overwhelmed and helpless.
An experience of abuse or trauma when you were young adversely influences the development of the brain. As the brain is plastic, the fear response is activated in order to survive. This fear response can show up as being hyper vigilant, anxious or stressed, as the body will be in fight, flight or freeze mode. This survival pattern becomes entrenched and the unwanted or unhelpful behaviours continue.
When we experience fear, life threatening events, danger or our safety is compromised, our body responds by reacting. A rush of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are released into the body, speeding the heart rate, slowing the digestive system and allowing the blood to flow to the outer extremities, giving the body the required burst of energy and strength to either flee (running away from danger) or fight (protecting yourself from danger). This chain of rapidly occurring reactions inside the body help mobilise the body’s resources to deal with threatening circumstances.
When you are faced with stressful or dangerous situations it is natural for your body to experience fear and anxiety. You may notice the following changes in your body:
- Your heart rate may increase.
- Your vision may narrow (sometimes called ‘tunnel vision’).
- You may notice that your muscles become tense.
- You may begin to sweat.
- Your hearing may become more sensitive.
These are all normal responses to threats, however, when you have experienced trauma, even after the perceived threat has gone, this fight or flight response is constantly turned on, leaving your body in a constant state of stress.
The great news if that the brain is very “plastic”. The brain is capable of changing in response to experiences, especially repetitive and patterned experiences.
Trauma therapy treatment approaches
Healing emotional wounds is done through accessing your feelings and your body, not through the mind or through talking. I practice many types of therapy- Gestalt therapy, Hypnotherapy, Resource therapy and Somatic or body work. Using one of, or a combination of the following therapies, I have seen profound and positive changes for clients who have experienced trauma.
- Somatic experiencing focuses on bodily sensations, rather than thoughts and memories about the traumatic event. By concentrating on what’s happening in your body, you can release pent-up trauma-related energy through shaking, crying, and other forms of physical release.
- Gestalt Therapy focuses on bodily processes, present centred awareness and integrating the different parts of you. This integration can be with a part of you that you may have lost touch with, particularly if you have experienced trauma in your childhood. This is done with respect, safety and containment so you will feel held in your healing journey. ‘What you resist persists’, so whilst you are resisting looking at or dealing with traumatic experiences, it will persist by showing up in your life through unwanted behaviours or coping mechanisms such as, anxiety, hypervigilence, addictions or numbing behaviours. Gestalt experiential techniques such as empty chair work, constellation work, visualization and art therapy are all utilized when working towards integration and wholeness.
- Hypnotherapy is a safe, effective, credible treatment for working with trauma. There is a growing body of clinical evidence to support the use of Hypnotherapy and the treatment of trauma (Spiegel, D & Cardeña, E. (1990). New uses of hypnosis in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 51(Suppl), 39-43.) Using hypnotherapy, there is no need to rehash or retell your story, which of course can be unpleasant and re traumatizing. During the session you will experience feelings of deep relaxation as your whole body relaxes. In this safe, deeply relaxed state we can treat the symptoms as well as underlying causes or core issue, and access your body and minds ability to heal.
- Resource Therapy (RT) is a powerful and brief therapy which is based on the premise that the personality is made up of parts, called resource states. RT is powerful because rather than working with the intellectual part, I work directly with the part of you that is experiencing the pain or suffering without re traumatizing you. RT is able to resolve the trauma in a safe and healing manner. It is a profound, healing and effective form of therapy which helps you resolve trauma and release emotional burdens.
Contact me today and reach out for support with your trauma by clicking here.