We have all seen how a single traumatic experience can lead to years, even decades, of depression or PTSD. I know for a fact that no one has to live with the weight of past trauma or depression. Through years of practice in emotional regulation I have had the privilege of helping many individuals overcome their depression, chronic anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder. To be completely honest, I did practically nothing; these women and men placed their pain in front of them, felt it in their bodies, surrendered to it, and regulated it.
I would be lying if I were to claim that a single emotional regulation session can fully resolve a trauma. Most of the time one traumatic experience leads to several painful emotional repercussions. A trauma survivor needs to examine his daily life and identify the past's manifestations on life today. During an emotional regulation session we always work from within the present. The traumatic event does not need to be revisited--a huge relief for many survivors of trauma. In fact, when it comes to healing old emotional wounds, we consider that working on the inciting trauma is counterproductive because the memories are too charged, too old, or distorted.
How does trauma stay stuck in us? Neuroscientists and psychologists have begun to understand why the impact of a traumatic experience is so deeply rooted, despite a multitude of subsequent positive experiences. Trauma elicits such an intense multifactorial physiological response, flooding the body with stress hormones, that the associated memories reside in the limbic system. As renowned neuroscientist Joseph Ledoux explains in his book "Anxious", from the moment the traumatic memory is created, every subsequent situation that contains elements which our “limbic system” associates with the trauma will provoke a danger signal with associated physiologic responses. This set of sensations cannot be overruled by our intellect because it isn't generated by the forebrain. That's why it is impossible to "logic our way out" of trauma and why talk therapy often fails.
How does Emotional Resolution integrate a Trauma? In their books "The body keeps the score " and “In an unspoken voice”, Van Der Kolk and Peter Levine outlined how the physical sensations felt during our emotional difficulties create a clear and direct path to the origin of our traumas. When we consciously experience the sensations present in our body during an emotion without trying to control or understand them, we allow the forebrain to reconnect to the data stored in the limbic system; data that was until then isolated. Once this reconnection happens, the result is spontaneous and permanent, meaning that the emotional pattern felt until then will end. We will have to work, step by step, regulating one emotional pattern at the time.
Once a person is ready to let go of the suffering, to release the pain of past trauma, a healing process is available. Our body is waiting for our mind to be ready to heal. If you would like more information about this work, or if you want to experience regulating difficult emotions, visit CedricBertelli.com.