Trauma results when overwhelming life experiences cannot be properly integrated by the nervous system and the psyche. In the face of events that are experienced as “too big, too fast, and too soon” the intelligence of the mind/body system comes up with it’s own response, to compartmentalize, or “wall off” these kind of overwhelming experiences outside of conscious awareness in the implicit memory system of the body. Like an electrical breaker in a house, the circuit pops in response to a surge in energy, leaving one unable to assimilate or make sense of what is happening.
There are “one time” Traumatic events like car accidents, rape, and acts of violence. Big T trauma’s. And then there are the small t trauma’s, less well understood in our culture, but much more prevalent, where the overwhelming events happened over time as part of the fabric of a persons upbringing. Here the developmental needs of the young child were unable to be met resulting in a similar feeling of overwhelm that could not be tolerated. Imagine the constant stress, and lack of safety of a child growing up in an alchoholic family not knowing when the next shoe was about to drop. Or the distress of a child that comes home repeatedly from school to an environment of neglect where he/she learns that others cannot be relied upon. The intolerable events become walled off in body’s implicit memory where they continue to give of an signal frequency of stress and dis-ease outside of conscious awareness.
Trauma resolution work procceeds by first creating a relational container of care and attunement, and then by skillfully working directly with the implicit structure of memory in the body to safely release the holding patterns and activation of past trauma. With this work Trauma is carefully allowed to dissipate and find resolution while resources are established and embodied that give clients a newfound ability to hold in a healthy way what has previously been intolerable. Life can proceed, open to new possibilities without being rigidly shaped by the dictates of the past.