In my reading lately about Trauma and our responses to it, I’ve been drawn to noticing the fawn response, which is not talked about so much as fight, flight and freeze. When we are feeling fear, we might respond by becoming very focused and alert, or we may experience our flight response, and run away from threat or towards safety. However, vigilance or flight might not always be options, and sometimes a route to coping with ongoing relational trauma is to escape harm by lea
“Trauma represents a profound compression of “survival” energy, energy that has not been able to complete its meaningful course of action.” Peter Levine We think of trauma responses as a problem, a dysfunction, an indication that something has gone wrong. I love this quote from Peter Levine, which so effectively captures the truth that the trauma response was an attempt at defence, a way to survive and to maintain our integrity as a living being. Getting rid of or pushing a
When we think of being in danger, the fight/flight response is perhaps the response that most readily comes to mind. Our sympathetic nervous system is activated and we spring into action, neutralising the threat and restoring safety. You may also have heard of the freeze, or immobilisation response, a more ancient reaction in evolutionary terms. This dorsal-vagal response causes us to shut down and feel frozen, it’s a response to perceptions of extreme danger. What is less s
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and trauma responses, are often thought of as being dramatic and invasive. We most often think of people having intense intrusions, flash-backs, anger and panic, of responses clinicians describe as hyper-arousal. Hyper-arousal occurs when a person's body suddenly kicks into high alert as a result of thinking about their trauma. Even though real danger may not be present here and now, their body acts as if it is, causing lasting stress after t
I first consciously came across the phenomenon of my body moving without my deliberate control when I trained in Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Being invited into an altered state of consciousness would often result in tremors, shakes, and movements that were frankly a bit odd, but also hugely relieving and meaningful. I came to value and enjoy them. Peter Levine’s eloquently explains the important role of shaking, quivering and trembling in releasing trauma from our bodies.
When we are traumatised, it is usual to believe we are damaged, broken, and even beyond repair. Ana Gomez has a lovely re-frame for this, inviting clients to know: “There's nothing wrong with me...there are just stories that need to be integrated into my mind.” It’s a metaphor that really does it for me. Inside us, an experience has got stuck, and we have an internal ‘story-teller’ who holds this old narrative. It is replayed again and again in the here and now, inviting h
Did you know that your brain reacts to stimuli in 50 milliseconds, but that it may take up to 500 milliseconds for conscious awareness to occur? It’s fascinating, we have this myth that we are in conscious control of so many things that we simply are not.
In any given situation, it is quite possible that you may both feel safe, and in danger. We are complex and multi-faceted beings, we are not consistent, we can often hold contradictory experiences within in. Ana Gomez cal