Monday 13th September 2021
Dr Jim Byrne
The stored experiences of trauma in the human body-brain-mind; and how to dig them up and process them
Most people are unaware of the trauma they carry in their body-brain-mind. Why? Because our earliest experiences seem to us to be “normal”, no matter how awful or ghastly they may objectively be. We think of our parents as normal; and ourselves as normal; and the experiences we have (including abuse and neglect), as normal.
So we cannot construct a narrative of trauma; because we lack any significant distinctions that we could use for that purpose.
To discover our own trauma, we have first to be reflected back to ourselves by somebody who came from a “more truly normal” background – or somebody who has healed their body-brain-mind of their traumatic experiences.
The world needs more “mirrors” of this kind. Some of the outstanding “mirrors of trauma” in the world today include: Bessel van der Kolk; Allan Schore; Judith Herman. But my all-time hero in this field was, of course John Bowlby. And let us not forget that he was castigated and outlawed by the British psychoanalytic movement for decades before attachment theory began to make breakthroughs because of its usefulness in the field of developmental psychology.
Today, are stand on the threshold of a more humane world; if only the “mirrors of trauma” can keep on shining; and are not “blacked out” by the forces of evil on this fragile, endangered planet.
Over a period of almost 25 years, I have “picked up the pieces” of some horrible childhood histories.
I have a special capacity – skill, ability – to deal with these problems, most likely because I came from a traumatizing background, and I’ve spent many years resolving my own developmental trauma (using a wide range of therapeutic strategies; and fortuitous relationships), and learning to live a full and happy life.
Now I have written up the kinds of processes that I have used with my own clients over those years, in a form which is usable by self-help enthusiasts. And it could also be a good learning resource for new counsellors and psychotherapists who are moving into the field of trauma work.
These processes can be summarized in three forms – which are addressed once the reader has achieved some degree of safety and security in their life. Those forms are:
– Re-framing (re-interpreting, or re-storying) of traumatic experiences (starting with low level upsets; and proceeding upwards with caution);
– Confronting and completing (in body-mind forms) medium range traumatic experiences;
– And, finally, digesting higher intensity traumatic symptoms; through processes including: writing therapy, combined with re-framing and completion; and with bodily sensations and breath-work; and several other whole body-brain-mind strategies.
Some key outcomes achieved
The benefits to be derived from this kind of work are enormous:
Sleep is improved; digestion and breathing become normal; anxiety and depression are cleared up; social relationships become less stressful; physical and mental health improve; and so on.
To find out more about this revolutionary new psychotherapeutic strategy, please take a look at: How to Resolve Childhood Developmental Trauma.
Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling