Guided Imagery/Creative Visualization
The mind is a powerful tool, the brain is the most powerful organ in our body. Just as the mind remembers the trauma from the past and reacts as if it is happening today…it can create a new perception and, with practice and diligence, can come to know that as its new reality and truth. I might use guided imagery to aid in the process of finishing old business and/or to begin the process of creating your new desired way of being.
Ego State Work
Have you ever felt that a part of you wanted to do something while another part of you did not? Or, you really want to kick a habit of some sort but no matter what you do, it feels like some part of you won’t let you? Or, have you ever found yourself reacting to someone in a surprising way, possibly overreacting to something….just watching yourself react and not being able to stop…and feeling remorse or embarrassed afterwards?
This is not about having “multiple personalities” or “being schizophrenic” or “being crazy” – this is about having different parts of self or what I may call unresolved ego states. In the current neuroscience circles exploring how the brain and mind work, this may be called a frozen, or “stuck”, neural network. You may have heard of the term “inner-child” and doing therapeutic work with this inner child. The bottom line here is that most of us have some part, or parts, of self that act and react and, in a sense, interact within us. There is nothing inherently wrong with this…it is natural as we learn to compartmentalize our experiences and live our lives. For instance, we change our roles and how we act when we go to work versus when we are at home with our families. We act differently with a store clerk versus a loved one. These are all healthy shifts we make depending on the part of us we need at any given time or in any given situation. For the most part, these are conscious and mindful ways of being and essential to living.
Sometimes, though, these processes begin to act outside of being a conscious and/or mindful way of being. When someone cuts you off in traffic and rather than annoyance you go into a rage…that is not a conscious or mindful reaction. When your boss calls you into the office and you automatically ask, “what did I do wrong?” and begin to feel like you’re about 10 years old…that’s not conscious and mindful. When your significant other pays attention to another person and you feel like crying or withdrawing into yourself or you want to leave them to protect yourself…that is not a conscious or mindful reaction.
In all of these cases, some part of you is reacting outside of your wise, mature adult self. In the 1970’s, Thomas Harris, MD, talked about Transactional Analysis in his book, I’m OK, You’re OK, and introduced his model of ego state development. He talked about the child, the critical parent and the adult. Pia Mellody, in her book, Facing Codependence, identifies the precious child, the wounded child, the adapted adult and the mature adult as key ego states. Many have developed models of our inner process.
**What is important, and how I work, is to help you to identify how your inner processes work. Who and what and where is the wise self? How can we strengthen this part of you? Is there a wounded part of you that reacts from the child-like place? How can you learn to acknowledge, support, nurture, teach, and protect that part of you? Is there a part of you that has worked so hard and for so long to protect you, perhaps in a less than healthy way – perhaps this part is sabotaging you in the name of protection? That part of you needs to be acknowledged, supported and, yes, even thanked for the difficult job it’s been doing for you for such a long time.
While EMDR® and other trauma desensitization works to remove that which was added to your life and you no longer want or need, ego state work can help to add back into your life experience that which you may never have gotten that you should have. For instance, if a parent was unable to provide a loving, nurturing presence for the child, a healthy sense of attachment was never developed. In order to achieve and maintain healthy relationships, this needs to be taught and added into your experience…and it needs to come from within for lasting results. Ego state work can rebuild internal resources, helping you to “reparent” yourself and learn how to provide, get and receive healthy support and nurturing.
Brainspotting® is a powerful, focused treatment method that works by identifying, processing and releasing core neurophysiological sources of emotional/body pain, trauma, dissociation and a variety of other challenging symptoms. Brainspotting® is a simultaneous form of diagnosis and treatment, enhanced with Biolateral sound, which is deep, direct, and powerful yet focused and containing.
Brainspotting® gives us a tool, to neurobiologically locate, focus, process, and release experiences and symptoms that are typically out of reach of the conscious mind and its cognitive and language capacity.
Brainspotting® works with the deep brain and the body through its direct access to the autonomic and limbic systems within the body’s central nervous system.
It is theorized that Brainspotting® taps into and harnesses the body’s innate self-scanning capacity to process and release focused areas (systems) which are in a maladaptive status i.e., frozen primitive survival modes. This may also explain the ability of Brainspotting® to often reduce and eliminate body pain and tension associated with physical conditions.
A “Brainspot” is the eye position which is related to the energetic/emotional activation of a traumatic/emotionally charged issue within the brain. Located by eye position, paired with externally observed and internally experienced reflexive responses, a Brainspot is actually a physiological area that is holding emotional experience in memory form.
When a Brainspot is stimulated, the deep brain reflexively signals the therapist that an area of significance has been located. The Brainspot can then be accessed and stimulated by holding the eye position while focused on the somatic/sensory experience of the symptom or problem being addressed in the therapy.
The maintenance of that eye position/Brainspot within the focus on the body’s “felt sense” of that issue or trauma stimulates a deep integrating and healing process within the brain. Brainspotting® appears to stimulate, focus, and activate the body’s inherent capacity to heal itself from trauma.
Brainspotting® processes down to the reflexive core. The reflexive core is in the deep, unconscious body brain. It is as out of our awareness as respiration, circulation, and digestion. Brainspotting® dismantles the trauma, symptom, somatic distress and dysfunctional beliefs at the reflexive core.
Brainspotting® is most powerful and effective when done with the enhancement of BioLateral Sound CDs. Biolateral sound enhances the brain’s processing abilities by alternately stimulating each cerebral hemisphere. The healing sound directly enters the brain through the auditory nerves while the eardrums are vibrated bilaterally.
Brainspotting® is a physiological therapeutic tool which can be integrated into a wide range of healing modalities, including psychological as well as somatic approaches to treatment.
Brainspotting® provides a neurobiological tool for accessing, diagnosing, and treating a wide range of somatic and emotionally-based conditions. It can be an effective and efficient treatment tool for:
- Physical and emotional trauma
- Recovery from injury and accident trauma
- Trauma resulting from medical interventions and treatment
- Stress and trauma-related medical illness
- Performance issues, including sexual dysfunction
- Fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions
- Addictions (especially cravings)
- Environmental Illness and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Preparation and recovery from surgery
- Trauma resulting from war and natural disasters
- Anger and rage problems
- Anxiety and panic
David Grand, Ph.D. is the developer and trainer of Brainspotting®, For more information on Dr. Grand and Brainspotting® visit his website:www.biolateral.com/brainspotting.htm or check out David’s new book that fully explains the process and how it works.
Somatic/Body Awareness – Mindfulness
Peter Levine, in his book, Waking the Tiger, discusses how we react to trauma and how it impacts our bodies. One example he gives is of a bear being chased by a predator (a human being). The bear reacts from its fight or fight system and tries to escape the danger. All the energy and adrenalin kicks into gear and the bear reacts as it should. In this example case, the bear is overcome by the predator (who brings it down with a tranquilizing dart gun) and it goes down. What is observed is that even after the bear has lost consciousness, its body continues to move as if it’s running. The body’s natural, innate processes are working off the excess energy and adrenalin to bring it back to its balanced starting place.
You have within you this natural, healthy, protective system to deal with traumatic events. However, unlike this bear, often this process is interrupted or shut down. This could be by some outside influence (such as a parent, our friends or cultural or societal pressures) or it could be internal to us, most likely that we’ve never been shown, taught or modeled how to handle the more difficult or traumatic events of life…including, in many cases, our own emotions. So, when they are not fully processed and come to some resolution, they get stuck. They can then show up in our lives in the form of ego state or behavioral patterns as discussed above or they may show up in our bodies. This may then show up as anxiety (such as panic attacks or general anxiousness) or depression or illness or body structure weaknesses.
This work, usually combined with the other modalities, helps to increase awareness of how you express yourself through your body and to release those unfinished processes that are possibly harming your body…and mind and self.
Within this realm, I will sometimes utilize what are called the energy therapies to help release both the physical and mental/emotional stuckness in the body. I might use Thought Field Therapy (TFT) or Emotional Freedom Techniques. Both of these are similar and they teach techniques that can be used at home and are particularly helpful for use between sessions.
The “tapping” therapies are based on the eastern teachings about the energy meridians within the body… the subtle energies. These can get stuck or inhibited when the human system gets overwhelmed. These techniques work to get that energy moving again through these energy pathways, another way of clearing the way for the innate healing process to do its job.
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