Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Robert Scaer has some really fantastic material on his website http://www.traumasoma.com His book, The Body Bears the Burden: Trauma, Dissociation, and Disease is also a fantastic read. This is an excerpt of an article from his website:


In his book, Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self, Allen Schore has outlined in exquisite detail the psychobiology of early childhood development involving maturation of orbitofrontal and limbic structures based on reciprocal experiences with the care giver. (14). Dysfunctional associations in this dyadic relationship result in permanent physicochemical and anatomical changes which have implications for personality development as well as for a wide variety of clinical manifestations. An intimate relationship may exist, with negative child/care giver interaction leading to a state of persisting hypertonicity of the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems that may profoundly affect the arousal state of the developing child. Sustained hyperarousal in these children may markedly affect behavioral and characterological development.

This phenomenon has its correlation in the adult traumatic experience and its effect on the autonomic nervous system. Although this effect has been described extensively in Viet Nam veterans and other groups of traumatized individuals, one of the more fascinating models of the physiology of the traumatic experience had been developed by Peter Levine, PhD., (7,8) based on the ethological model of the fight/flight/freeze response seen in animals in response to life-threatening experiences. In the wild, the preyed-upon animal will flee or attempt to fight, but if trapped, will enter a freeze response where it assumes a state of immobility while physiologically still manifesting high levels of activity of both parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. If the animal survives the attack, it will go through a period of discharge of this high level automatic arousal through the motor system involving trembling, running movements, shaking, diaphoresis and deep breathing. Following this, the animal will return to its prior state of calm alertness. Interestingly, game keepers in Africa interviewed by Levine who capture animals for examination or tagging routinely note that if the animal does not go through the shaking/breathing response after release, they will inevitably die in the wild, possibly due to the inability to initiate appropriate self- protective behavior. Read on

Traumatic reactions occur when action is of no avail ~ Judith Herman

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The importance of a 'relational home'

We need others, we need to be loved and we need to feel connected. This is especially true when we've been traumatised, in fact it's essential, we can't do without it at the best of times, never mind the worst.

Robert Stolorow in his book, Trauma and Human Existence, calls this a 'relational home' and I really really get what he means. Probably because I haven't always had it and I really appreciate it when I do have it. It's someone (including ourself) we can say the 'unsayable' to, the things we're ashamed of, feel guilty about, feel we're bad people for feeling/thinking them. How we truly feel deep deep down without having to dress it up, sugar coat it, or indeed, to make others feel better.

When we can give this to ourselves, we can give it to another. Even if you don't have someone to open up to or connect with, open up to yourself, give yourself what you need. Take your own feelings seriously, validate your own experiences. Respect who you are, where you've come from and where you are now.

I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship ~ Brené Brown

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Taking your power back

In the book Infinite Love and Gratitude, Darren Weissman talks about what is essential for healing. Besides clean water, good food and exercise one of them is: taking your power back.

This can be difficult, especially if we have issues such as learned helplessness, freezing on the spot for no `apparent' reason, wanting/needing to be liked or approved of. But there are few things more important than taking your power back and standing in your own strength.

Try tapping on the following sentences:

Even though It's hard to stand up for myself because ... I love and accept that part of myself

Even though I'm too afraid to be myself, because ... I accept how I feel right now

Even though my power feels ... I accept how I feel about that

Even though being powerful feels ... I accept myself anyway

Try listing all your associations with power and see if any of them have an emotional charge for you and start tapping on them.

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any ~ Alice Walker