Dissociation

Some people find it very difficult to be in touch with their bodies. People with a history of trauma have often learnt to dissociate from their physical feelings in order to cope with difficult emotions. Working with a trauma-informed therapist like myself can help you to slowly learn how to get back in touch with your body.  Disconnection from the body is also very common with people who have been taught from an early age that feeling a certain emotion is bad, anger is a good example of this, it is very British to be told to ‘keep calm and …

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Develop your felt sense of safety with Emotional Processing

When dealing with the brain you have a left and a right side – rational and emotional. When the alarm bell of the emotional brain goes off to signal you are in danger, no amount of insight or reason will silence it. The reason for this is our survival drive is stronger than our personal sense of willpower.  It’s not enough for your rational brain to tell you you’re safe, you need to FEEL safe. Hence the importance of developing a felt sense of safety. This is an important foundation of Emotional Processing. Life experiences which involve emotional distress, survival …

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Learn to listen to your body 

Being more connected with your body can be described as being ‘embodied’. This is a way of being that can be worked on and improved over time, with very simple exercises. Mindfulness can be a good starting place, taking time to notice what you are feeling and where you feel it in the body. Engaging in more physical practices is helpful for some, such as yoga, pilates, dance or any other movement practice where you can find your flow and focus on the movement of your body and your breath.

Self Limiting Beliefs and Pain

I’ve been doing this work for a long time, helping people in pain, with fascia informed bodywork and more recently, trauma informed coaching and emotional processing. It is very apparent that stress makes pain worse. There are lots of reasons for this which I won’t go into here, but the more I learn, through working with clients, doing courses and doing my own uncomfortable work of unravelling the layers of myself, I’m seeing so much pain and stress caused, not necessarily caused by lack of work / life balance, what I’m seeing is chronic internal stress caused by our own …

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Survival Response

Fight / Flight / Freeze – they are all survival responses. These survival responses are not a conscious choice, each is an automatic nervous system response to circumstances in which we find ourselves. Those circumstances may be you being chased by a lion, or they may be you being shouted at by someone or any other number of circumstances that YOUR nervous system perceives to be threatening. You can’t override your survival instincts with willpower (if you’ve ever tried holding your breath you’ll know your body always takes over to keep you alive!) However, you can work WITH your survival …

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Our brains keeps us safe

It is hard to feel, let alone find a healthy and safe way to express your feelings, if they feel painful or unsafe to even acknowledge.  Often, where this is the case, your subconscious mind will ‘protect you’ from those unsafe feelings by repressing them, so you may not even know they are there. Another way your brain may try to protect you is by distracting you from those unsafe feelings, cue chronic pain.  This is a very normal nervous system response to stress and trauma. The problem with your brain ‘protecting’ you in this way, protecting you from the …

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Does ‘Psychosomatic’ mean it’s all in my head?

Absolutely not. Psychosomatic illness has a stigma which I’m keen to dispel. SOMATIC means IN THE BODY. So if something is psychosomatic it means it is in the mind AND in the body. Whether the symptom and / or the approach is PsychoSomatic / MindBody / BodyMind, it’s the same thing, it means the whole nervous system – which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and a complex network of nerves throughout the body – which send messages to and receive messages from the brain. If you have read my previous posts you will know when the brain …

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Self Talk and Stress

Remember ‘stressors”? They are things that activate the stress / trauma response in the nervous system because the brain interprets them as a ‘threat’. What if I told vou stressor aren’t just obvious current life stressors like bills, family,  work, pace of life.  What if I told you our conditioned personality traits and beliefs can become internal stressors, the things we say to ourselves – or indeed the things we don’t say – can be interpreted by the brain as threat’. In a previous post I touched on the conflict between attachment and authenticity.  As children, we are at a …

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Adverse Childhood Experiences affect the developing brain and body which impacts health across a lifetime

In the first seven years of our lives the plethora of neural connections we are born with get trimmed back as we learn how to exist in the world. Those neural pathways deemed unnecessary are trimmed and the pathways we are left with get carried through to adulthood. This is fine except if, as a child, you learned the world is unsafe, or any other number of limiting beliefs about yourself or the world. As a child, connection with your caregiver was the no.1 priority because that meant survival. If you’ve read my previous posts you will know the brain …

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Long term exposure to stress changes our physiology

Let’s separate your stressors from your stress. Stressors are the things that activate the stress response (bills, family, work etc). Stress is a response to those stressors which is activated in your brain and body. The sensitivity of your stress response is unique to you and your lived experience. Stress is an evolutionarily adaptive mechanism that allows you to respond to perceived threats. Or it was evolutionarily adaptive, back when our stressors had claws and teeth and chased us for dinner. These days we are almost never chased for dinner, but still our body’s response to, say, a toxic relationship …

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