Top Three Interventions That Help Resolve Past Trauma
Written by Kianna Morgan, a therapist in training and MSW student. Kianna is passionate about trauma-informed practices and enjoys writing as a way to share empowering information with people suffering from trauma and chronic stress.
How does trauma impact my body and health?
Trauma and stress live in the body. They affect tissue tone, chemical and hormonal balance, digestive activity, and respiration and heart rate.
While these adaptive physiological responses are important and useful when the trauma/stressor is occurring, humans have the unique capacity to get stuck in these states. This is due, in part, to the chronic nature of stressors that many of us experience. In the long term, living in these initially adaptive states, negatively impacts our internal systems and chips away at our resilience to new stressors.
This can manifest as chronic fatigue and pain, challenged sleep, agitation, irritable bowel syndrome, compromised immunity, and more. According to Dr. Jack Shonkoff, a pediatrician and expert in Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES), accumulating ACEs and toxic stress increase the likelihood of illnesses such as cardiovascular disease.
Fortunately, there are treatments available that can empower you to move through your healing process. The long-term effects of trauma are not determinate, we can reduce our suffering and support our overall health and well-being through trauma informed therapies.
How does trauma influence my relationships?
One way that trauma can affect people is that they may experience a disconnection to their body. The signals our body sends to our brain is key to our capacity for self-regulation. If you can notice the beginning signs of stress (like a change in breath or tension in your belly), you can make changes or set boundaries in the moment to support yourself. However, if you don’t feel those initial signals you may find yourself blindsided by overwhelm that can retrigger trauma symptoms that reinforce the dissociative pattern.
Over time, this uncertainty around one’s window of tolerance, leads to boundaries being crossed repeatedly furthering the disconnect. This cycle can result in boundaries that are either too porous or too rigid.
Porous boundaries create relationship dynamics where invisible boundaries are crossed regularly. We may feel betrayed by ourselves or our loved ones who may also be uncertain about what’s safe vs overwhelming for our system. This then continues the suffering that the individual endured during past traumatic events.
On the flip side, rigid boundaries may feel safe, but require intense vigilance to maintain. Additionally, avoiding healthy risks limits the possibility for connection, growth and compassion. To truly connect with another human, we must be able to be vulnerable. Without that, we will find ourselves keeping everyone at an arm's length and potentially feeling cut off from the healing connection that humans thrive on.
Connecting to our body and listening to its needs, such as respect and connection, empowers us to flourish in relationships. In connecting to our body we can learn to love ourselves enough to communicate our needs. Through connecting with your body you can learn how to create stable boundaries that support you and allow for love.
How can a trauma informed somatic practitioner help me develop boundaries and self love?
Our trauma informed somatic therapists wholeheartedly believe that you are the expert on yourself and your experience. So, we empower you with choices and invite collaboration during sessions. We are curious about your needs and create a safe environment that helps you step into agency and explore safe risks that lead to growth.
By working with your therapist to practice interoception (listening to your body) and self-regulation within each session, you will build the foundation for a grounded and resilient experience of yourself out of session. Additionally, the respectful and empowering relationship you have with your therapist may become a blueprint for future relationships. Ultimately, you are planting the seeds for the healthy and warm relationships to come.
How can I regulate myself when I have a trauma history?
Learning to track sensations in your body when triggered is the first step in developing self-regulation. Once you are in tune with your body you can start to sensitize yourself to the early more subtle signs of stress and then actively engage in practices that support regulation.
Sighing is an example of a practice that can help settle the nervous system. Knowing when to engage with a sighing breath is a skill you can start to develop while working with a somatic therapist. The bonus that comes from building your capacity for self-regulation is that it also enhances your resilience to stressors. The triggers become less triggering!
How can nervous system regulation help others?
What body-based interventions can help me heal from my trauma?
Red Beard Somatic Therapy has a team of trauma informed therapists that specialize in applying interventions that help you heal from trauma and chronic illness.
At Red Beard Somatic Therapy we create a safe holding space for you to connect with your body and release trauma. Our team is dedicated to empowering you so that you can live your life to the fullest. We will teach you tools to calm your nervous system and connect with others on a deeper level. Our trauma informed somatic therapists would be honored to support you. Book with us now to begin your healing journey.