Relational & Developmental Trauma:
When we are raised in an environment where our primary caregiver and others around us are unable or unwilling to provide reliable and consistent nurturing, care, concern and co-regulation, we are immensely affected by this as we grow into adulthood. We may be unable to find a sense of safety in our nervous system through safe ‘enough’ co-regulation and adapt to seek that safety in people, places and things that provide only a temporary, often false sense of connection. This may include engaging in codependent relationships with unsupportive, unavailable, or abusive people, using excessive alcohol and drugs, and fleeing from health/self sabotage. We learned to self-regulate from a place of fear when our co-regulator/caregiver was not reliable. We found that fawning, appeasing and people pleasing was the way to survive the painful experiences of abuse, abandonment, and an overall lack of love and support in our developmental years. As an adult, we go to the strategies that caused us to survive as a child. We attempt to find safety and connection through managing the nervous system of the other person. These adaptations became our superpowers; however, it has kept us disconnected from our wants and needs, our bodies, and to others in a deep, authentic way.
The autonomic nervous system and the body hold the story of our lived experience. Somatic therapy solicits implicit body memory. Beginning to get into the body, slowly with intention, introduces us to our inner world through interoception. Interoception is the ability to sense our inner landscape and identify what we are feeling, to tap into the felt sense. This is key to self-regulation and embodiment.
The polyvagal theory invites us to begin to get to know how our nervous system has been patterned and programmed throughout life, and as we befriend and have curiosity for our own lived experience, we can increase safety, resourcing, & connection to self and start to repattern and reshape our body and nervous system. All the states of the nervous system are in service of our survival, there are no wrong states. When we have a history of adverse childhood experiences and trauma, we tend to get stuck in a dysregulated state rather than returning to homeostasis. I often work with clients who exist in a functional freeze or high freeze state. Our goal is to be able to stay anchored in safety and regulation while we respond to the various adventures and challenges life brings.
Where we look affects how we feel. Brainspotting is a body/brain method that is highly effective for processing and releasing trauma, anxiety, and other emotions, accessing the brains' intrinsic capacity to heal. Brainspotting locates a point in your visual field which helps to access unprocessed trauma in the subcortical (deep) brain. These spots are doorways into your internal system. In this work together, we may find where you are holding trauma, anxiety, and depression so the brain can process those areas, from the bottom up, and inside-out.
What you may expect when working with me:
Trauma disconnects us from self and others. Due to conditioned responses, we neurocept cues of danger and life threat much more often than cues of safety. Part of this work is to increase the ability to sense and identify cues of safety, build connection and experience ventral glimmers with the witness and support of another safe and reliable co-regulating resource. I aim to provide that resource in our work together.
In our work together, we will explore the wounds that have led to dysregulation, discontent, and pain in order to transmute those and increase your capacity for regulation, connection and safety. Often these wounds are underneath the surface & unconscious to self. Bringing curiosity, gentleness and awareness to these parts of self allows us to notice and name how and when they lead us to a state of fight, flight, freeze or shutdown and collapse. Accurate identification of our states is essential for regulation and connection. I genuinely see you as holding the wisdom you need for self healing. We will collaborate on the path that feels most supportive to you in each moment. These paths may lead us to inner child work, parts work, attachment exploration, inviting the body to join in through gentle movement with intentional breath, to name a few. All your parts are welcome and held with care.