The Nervous System Response That Gets Overlooked in Trauma Work

It is important to look out for nervous system responses. But is that just about fight or flight?

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Article: The Nervous System Response That Gets Overlooked In Trauma Work

Today, I want to delve into a fascinating topic that recently came up during a live Q&A session in The Trauma Removal Club. As therapists and coaches, it’s crucial to pay attention to the nervous system when addressing trauma or other kinds of psychological block. You see, trauma resides in our bodies.

When we experience trauma, our nervous system reacts in various ways. It’s like a gatekeeper that connects our present experiences to past events, triggering a range of responses. We may feel our hearts race, have panic attacks, or even get butterflies in our stomachs. This physical manifestation of trauma highlights the vital role the nervous system plays in our healing journey.

Involuntary

Understanding the autonomic nature of the nervous system is key. It operates involuntarily, meaning it functions independently from our conscious control. As therapists and coaches, it’s essential to be attuned to the signals our clients’ nervous systems send us. By being aware of their bodily responses, we gain valuable insights into their healing progress. It’s not about relying on willpower; it’s about recognizing the involuntary actions of the nervous system and rewriting them.

Overlooked

Now, let’s explore an often-overlooked nervous system response. Imagine a simple diagram with two states. In the green zone, we feel safe, calm, and comfortable making eye contact. However, when we don’t feel safe, the nervous system spikes, preparing us for fight or flight. This response is more obvious and commonly discussed.

But there’s another response that goes under the radar: shutdown. In this state, everything slows down, and we may feel a sense of freeze or withdrawal. It’s not as apparent as the spike in fight or flight, but it’s still a significant nervous system response. Unfortunately, this muted response is often mistaken for an absence of reaction when, in reality, it’s a different kind of activation.

Crucial

Recognizing shutdown is crucial for both therapists and clients. It signifies a departure from the sense of safety that the nervous system seeks. Acknowledging this response helps us better understand the client’s experience and aids in tailoring the healing process accordingly. In The Trauma Removal Club, we employ an approach designed to trigger something called memory reconsolidation. By activating different responses and providing contrasting experiences, we help rewire the brain’s associations with trauma.

Verifying

When verifying the success of our work, we should examine whether their state is one of neutrality or numbing. Numbing indicates that the client still feels unsafe, whereas neutrality suggests a restored sense of safety.

The Trauma Removal Club

If you’re curious about this topic, I invite you to join us in The Trauma Removal Club. We have regular live Q&A sessions, on-demand training and ongoing coaching to support your journey. The club is super affordable so as many therapists and coaches as possible can get this transformational knowledge. I’d love to see you there.

Take care, and remember, understanding our nervous system is key to unlocking the path towards healing and overcoming trauma.

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