Despite being a therapist, I’m here to dispel some of the significant efficacy gaps when it comes to talk therapy. Although talking is an important thread in the healing process, it’s not the sum of the recovery parts. Just a piece of the pie.
The funny thing about trauma work is that despite it being popularized on @instagram @facebookapp and now @meta we’ve been at this for a LONG time.
And although @gabormatemd and @bessel_van have made HUGE strides in what we now do in the trauma field, way back in the 80s and 90s a woman named Judith Herman made a significant mark in understanding trauma, complex trauma, and the recovery process.
Her tri-phasic approach to healing included these three essential phases:
- Safety and stabilization
- Remembrance and mourning
- Meaning and reconnection
Here’s the thing about that first pin though…
Our nervous systems are primitive. It is a system that integrates mammalian and reptilian brain and body responses at the suggestion of threat. The modus operandi of this system is better safe than sorry… and it requires nary an iota of a word or conversation to operationalize, and/or shut down. I mean, I don’t know about you but when my hens, peacock, or dogs are in fight flight, not a whole lotta talking is going to facilitate a shift.
What does, however, is repositioning my body juxtaposed to theirs, mindfully shifting my breath response, and engaging or disengaging in certain behaviors case-dependent.
There is no feelings chart on the walls of their coop. And there isn’t on the walls of my office either.
What there are are questions at work about where do you notice activation in the body… techniques like EMDR that take a person deeper into the folds of the subconscious. And a LOT of encouragement around exercise, movement, food and drug interactions or lack thereof all to help restore the body and the nervous system. Adding to that list is the VERY exciting world of psychedelics.
Once those processes are established, talking becomes a more effective tool, helping cortical structures (human brain systems) reintegrate with the helping system of the stress response in order to better understand one another.