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Trauma is much talked about these days and yet very few have a clear understanding of what trauma actually is. By now, the research is clear; Trauma does not originate in an external event. Different people exposed to the same event react differently.  We often think of trauma in terms of car accidents, sexual abuse or war. But trauma is not in the event itself. Trauma is in the body. Dr. Peter Levine, founder of Somatic Experiencing, puts it this way: "Trauma arises as a response of the nervous system (...) to something that exceeds our window of tolerance." This makes clear that trauma causes a dysregulation in the autonomic nervous system. And that means our nervous system isn't doing 100% what it's supposed to. And that's a problem.

Was tun

Understanding Trauma

So, the research is clear - trauma is in the nervous system, right?  

Right. And that has implications, which Dr. Peter Levine describes as follows: "Trauma is an inner straitjacket that results when a devastating moment is frozen in time. It suppresses the unfolding of being and cuts off our attempts to put the dreadful events behind us and just get on with our lives. It separates us from self, from others, from nature and from spirit." (Dr Peter Levine)

Trauma affects us on different levels. At the brain level, trauma affects the ability to think and solve problems. It robs the neocortex (the cerebrum) of the ability to detect and contain activities in the other parts of the brain. This can lead to uncontrolled outbursts of emotion or anger, for example. Because trauma over-activates the limbic brain, it triggers the defensive—but no longer necessary—fight, flight, or freeze responses time and time again. Trauma puts the brainstem in a state of constant activation. This leads to impulsive, automatic responses that alternate between frenzy, rushing, over-exertion, and withdrawal or freeze.

In order for the trauma to dissolve, we need to work together with and integrate the neocortex again. We can achieve this by directing our conscious attention (activity at the neo-cortex level) to the internal body sensations (activity in the limbic brain and brainstem).

So what to do?


We need a holistic approach that works with both the rational part of our brain, the neocortex, and the inner body sensations and feelings, bringing together and integrating these three areas of the brain (neocortex, limbic brain and brainstem). This approach offers a new perspective on trauma. This way of working takes into account that we can only release trauma if we involve the body in the therapeutic work in an appropriate way. The approach called Somatic Experiencing uses the holistic body sensations (felt sense), which are "tracked" step by step in the body, taking into account the existing capacity of the client to "hold" certain sensations, feelings, thoughts or inner images and to stay present. In order not to unintentionally exceed the client's window of tolerance, we use titration, a word from chemistry that describes the procedure in very small steps. Because trauma is "a breach in the protective barrier against (over)stimulation that leads to an overwhelming sense of helplessness." (Freud). This perspective adds the "over" to this definition and relates it to a loss of nervous system resilience. 


So the good news is that trauma can actually be resolved. So we're not doomed to 'walk around' with it for life. Dr. Peter Levine, father of Somatic Experiencing, explains it this way: "Nature has endowed all animals, including humans, with a nervous system capable of restoring equilibrium. When this self-regulating function is blocked or disrupted, trauma symptoms develop in order to bind and suppress the non-discharged excitation or activation".

That's exactly what is needed: To restore the body's self-regulating function and then to renegotiate the dysregulation of the nervous system, thereby restoring balance in the nervous system.  

But how do we know if a person's nervous system is in balance? We see this in the following indicators:

  • The person is relaxed and serene

  • The body and all senses are relaxed but awake

  • The person is resting in their body, present on all levels of self 

  • The person's physiology responds appropriately to stimuli

  • The person's responses are fluid and flexible

  • The person is willing to make connections and is emotionally stable

  • The person feels they have choices

  • The person is able to maintain healthy relationships

Do you recognize yourself in this description? Do you find that your nervous system may be out of balance? Don't worry, there is a solution for that. Click that button below to book an appointment. And here's my offer: You only pay for your first session if you are truly satisfied. I look forward to hearing from you.

Mit der Nutzung dieses Angebots erklärst du dich damit einverstanden, eine temporäre Zugehörigkeit zum Staatsverein KRD einzugehen. Es entstehen dadurch keine weiteren Rechte oder Pflichten. Danke, dass du da bist und dich für Wachstum und Transformation interessierst.   


Warum KRD? Du findest die Antwort hier

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What to do?

There is a remedy. But not everything helps. For any form of trauma, it is important to include the body and the body's sensations. For shock trauma TRE works wonders. For childhood trauma klick below.

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