Trauma is primarily physiological, it’s something that happens to our bodies first, and then its effects spread to our mind, emotions, spirits. As we resolve our traumas we discover missing parts of our beings, those that make us feel whole and complete.
– Peter Levine
What happens when we meet something that we perceive as stressful, scary or threatening?
Every time something happens that we perceive as stressful, scary or threatening – either physical (e.g. a car accident, a fall, surgery) or psychological (e.g. challenging relationships, bullying, abuse) – our body automatically activates what is known as the stress response, which is intended to mobilise us to meet the danger or stressful situation successfully. Our heart rate increases, our breathing speeds up and the blood is directed towards our arms and legs preparing us to fight or flight for survival, while other bodily functions like the digestive system temporarily slow down. Once the stress or danger is removed or successfully met, ideally the body returns back to a state of balance, where all the normal processes that keep us healthy can continue.
What if our body is not able to return to a state of balance?
There are situations in which our body may not be able to return back to a state of balance, such as:
- when the stress is repetitive, prolonged or chronic
- if the threatening incident was overwhelming and could not be processed at the time, i.e. it was experienced as traumatic, and we went into shock (freeze response).
In this case we may continue to cycle the stress response even after the danger has passed and our body may become stuck in this state for an indefinite period of time.
What are the consequences of trauma?
Short term you may start developing symptoms like headaches, digestive problems, anxiety, being restless, difficulty sleeping.
Long term this may lead to both physiological and psychological dysfunctions, including depression, panic attacks, dissociative states, sleeping disorders, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, immune deficiency, autoimmune states.
Trauma is also about loss of connection
Trauma is also about loss of connection to ourselves, to others, to our bodies, to our families, to the world around us. Our choices become limited as we avoid certain feelings, people, situations and places. The result of this gradual constriction of freedom is the loss of vitality and potential for the fulfillment of our life and dreams.
Heal Trauma with Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
– Victor E. Frankl
Re-connect to yourself, your body and others
In a craniosacral therapy session first you can experience a safe relational field and let yourself come into connection with the practitioner who is there to see and receive you in a loving non judgmental way.
This helps you gradually reconnect to yourself, your body and the people around you.
Have more available energy
As you settle in this safe space, you can then access a felt sense of what is present in your body that may be an expression of the cycling stress response (e.g. tightness in your chest, tension in your legs, difficulty breathing, sensations of numbness in some parts of your body). During the session you can begin to discharge the instinctive energy that could not be used at the time of the threatening event and was frozen in your body when you got overwhelmed, and gradually let go of the shock. This discharge may be expressed as shaking, trembling, heat/cold, and is always held within a resourced space in present time so that you are not re-traumatised.
Freeing up all the energy that had been locked inside your body for a period of time will leave you feel more relaxed, with more available energy and a sense of a more embodied self.
Access more resources inside yourself
In a craniosacral session you will be encouraged to connect with the parts of your body that in present time, in the midst of everything, feel a sense of comfort, relaxation or are simply neutral. From this sense of resource you will then gently bring attention to the places of discomfort and release what is held there. (This is what Peter Levine calls ‘pendulation’).
As you learn to access more resources inside you, you become more capable of responding to stressful life events with more fluidity and flexibility and learn how to down-regulate the stress response limiting the possibility of developing long term symptoms.
Contact Me for More Information or to Book a Session
Federica Olivero, RCST BCST | Bristol, UK
T: 07791 649636 – E: firstname.lastname@example.org