For people who want to take a quick look at how to release trauma from our body, I am putting together few youtube videos to help explaining this process.
The first stage of any trauma recovery is “stabilization” – regaining control so we can feel a sense of safety. Even for people who are still living with a lot of stress! A good worrier knows when to rest and when to fight.
My learning is mainly from Sensorimotor Psychotherapy created by Dr. Pat Ogden, so, I would like to introduce her video first. In this brief 3-minute video, she gave an example of helping one client to re-connect to the strength from her legs in one counseling session. (You can stop after minute 3, the link to watch free video is no longer there).
For other ways of restoring body resources, Dr. Peter Levine did a beautiful job in this thin book (only 112 pages with large font size, and an audio CD instruction for people who can’t read through the book): “Healing Trauma: A Pioneering Program for Restoring the Wisdom of Your Body.” Dr. Levine gave 12-step exercises in this book, not every one can do all of them, but the first few exercises are helpful in building a sense of body boundary and safety.
Also, Dr. Levine is a good story-teller, below is a link to his famous story (about 6.5 minutes). In 1969, he accidentally helped one patient to complete the body defense, which is the second-stage of trauma recovery – Trauma Reprocessing (releasing).
(original video is no longer available)
In Dr. Levine’s video, he briefly talked about the importance of “feeling” our body during completing the body defense. This is called dual-awareness in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy. Without the first-stage of stabilization, it’s hard for us to have a clear mind to observe and connect to body’a successful execution of defense.
Dr. Levine didn’t finish the whole story in the above video. After running away from the Tiger, “Nancy” experienced body trembling. This shaking and trembling is a core part of the innate process that reset our nerve system.
Dr. David Berceli singled out this shaking and trembling process and developed his own technique, which I have not fully experienced it my self, so I can’t comment on whether it worked or not. But, from the theoretical point, his exercise makes sense. From what I understand, Dr. Berceli taught people various movement (like yoga or qikong) before they start going into the trembling stage. I included the link to his explanation of body trembling in the end of this blog post.
IMPORTANT MESSAGE before you watch the video: If you click on other TRE youtube links, you may see some dramatic body trembling. The body tremor could range from very tiny vibration to larger muscle contraction; it depends on where the stocked trauma energy being stored in the body. I have witnessed different level of tremor in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy sessions.
The body tremor could happen automatically during trauma and trauma recovery. Especially for children or for people who have not “being civilized” to over-control our bodies. In another interview, Dr. Berceli shared how he witnessed the automatic body tremor in children who were hiding bombing in the war zone. Or, for people who re-trained themselves to tune in with the body, they could reconnect to this body’s innate self-protection process. Dr. Levine told another good story of how he coped with his own car accident trauma in his book: In an Unspoken Voice.
However, for most of us who need extra help, body tremor is a second-stage of trauma recovery that only happens when our body/mind master the stabilization resources and clearly knows that we are in a safe environment, supported by safe people.
Note: This website does not intend to provide any specific individually-tailored psychological advice/services to replace any medical and/or psychological treatment. If the readers are in need of medical or psychological attention, please seek appropriate services in your area.
Copyright © 2018 Chia-Chi (Alicia) Hu; 版權所有：胡嘉琪