Trauma can damage our sense of who we are and our emotions may arise such as shame,doubt and guilt as we try to understand what happened and attempt to regain control of our lives. There is no standard formulae for people coping with trauma and each person will recover in their own unique way.Trauma can disrupt your body’s natural state and you can freeze and stay in a state of fear and hyperarousal.
You may experience or witness some form of strong reaction after a traumatic event, which may leave you feeling isolated and overwhelmed. It can be caused by an accident, injury,domestic violence,bullying, a relationship breakup or the death of a person close to you.
The emotional signs may be shock, anger, guilt, denial, sadness, shame,fear, feeling disconnected or withdrawing from family and friends. This may lead to fear of safety, loss of control, fatigue, nightmares, insomnia, relationship difficulties, racing heartbeat, agitation and muscle aches.
Trauma is not just something that alters our cognitive abilities and our behavior or our thinking processes and the way we act. Our entire self is affected and therefore our connection with our body-mind must be treated.
Arnold Mindell, the founder of Process Psychology, clearly states that the body is not a ‘mechanical object ‘ and embodying all levels, is part of inner work. Conflict not only lives in the outside world but also within us and “body work is an internalized form of worldwork”. Mindell created four body phases where changes can occur at any given moment. Phase 1 is ‘me centred’, phase 2 is about ‘conflict’, phase 3 ‘awareness of the dreambody’ and phase 4 is about ‘compassion’ as well as ‘detachment’ and the ability of being moved by the universe. (Mindell, 2017).
Although Mindell does not directly relate these phases to trauma, there are many parallels; they create a greater awareness and meaning to the fluidity and flow of relationships, tension and struggle. Mindell extends the meaning of processes to be either still or moving. The flow as well as the process is powerful and finds deeper meaning to why trauma or abuse has occurred. (Mindell,1985).
In these sessions, my main focus is constructing a safe framework between myself and the client and creating a place where the client will feel held, where their boundaries will be respected and they will be listened to. When they have experienced trauma, the story itself may be very difficult to disclose. As the story unfolds, feelings may appear for the first time. A ‘spontaneous unfolding’ throughout this deeply difficult stage will appear. Step by step, I help my client to reconnect with themselves and we work on increasing awareness and capacity to grow and thrive.