If we revisit a trauma without enough skill, it can easily be retraumatizing. That’s why most of us are reluctant to revisit traumas, even for a while after we have learned and developed sufficient skills. There is a wisdom there too, since it’s often helpful to revisit traumas in smaller portions. There is a wisdom and kindness in wanting to do it slow, in hesitation, and even in resistance. Resistance can be an expression of wisdom and kindness.
In Tension and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE) we start with very short sessions, especially if we know or suspect there is a good deal of trauma in the system. (Which there is for many, or even most (?) of us.) We may shake for 1-5 minutes for the first few sessions, to see how the system responds and to get familiar with the experience and process. Then, we may expand to 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and even longer. Also, at first, we do it with just allowing and noticing, and perhaps feeling the sensations. Then, again as we get more familiar with it, we can bring something moderately stressful or traumatic to mind while trembling. And with time, even something more traumatic, as it feels comfortable. Always keeping in mind the comfort, checking to see if we are comfortable physically and emotionally, and taking a break if any discomfort feels a bit much.
With Living Inquiries, we may start with a boomerang instead of looking directly at the traumatic situation. Or we may start with something current for the first one or two sessions so the client gets familiar with the process, and then go back in time to earlier traumatic experiences. Some more experienced facilitators may also go directly to these without much warm up time.
During TRE, physical tension is gradually released out of the body, including chronic tension associated with – and fueling – trauma. There is usually no need to re-experience anything, although emotions or images may come up. Unfelt emotions come to be felt, sometimes with associated images.
In a Living Inquiry session, revisiting the trauma is made easier through looking at images, words, and sensations separately. That’s also where the healing is. We separate out the three, look at each one at a time, and perhaps ask some simple questions to easier see what’s actually there.
From the TRE perspective, we can say that revisiting trauma through talking about it often can be retraumatizing, and perhaps not so helpful. It’s easier and more effective to release the associated tension through the body, and then add the mind component later as needed.
Similarly, revisiting trauma by “looking at velcro”, which is what most talk therapies do, can be retraumatizing. Instead, in Living Inquiries, we separate out the images, words, and sensations making up the experience, and look at each one at a time, which is much gentler.
– revisiting trauma
– if do it without skill, and/or too much, then can be retraumatizing
– if done with skill + small portions, then can be very healing, release,
If do without skill or guidance, can be retraumatizing
If separate out images, words, sensations, can be very healing
Feel the sensations
Perhaps ask simple questions