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Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by RikR, Apr 4, 2013.

  1. RikR

    RikR Well known member

    In the past few days I have had the good fortune of speaking and networking with several experts in the field neurophysiology regarding neuroplasticity and the effects crated by adverse childhood experiences...and how we chronically perpetuate them . You can Google Dr. Robert Scaer, Dr. Stephen Levine, Dr. Rick Oldfield and Dr. Allen Musgrave to see their work.


    I am still processing the great volume of knowledge I have learned from speaking with these men but I wanted to share this simple wisdom:

    Trauma: “Any experience with a perceived negative consequence along with a perceived helplessness”


    The more often this happens the more neural pathways are created that cause an excitory over response. The more neural pathways this creates the higher potential for it to be expressed into the body.

    These experts state that regressions in memory reinforce these negative pathways. They say part of the treatment is to stay in present day mindfulness to discover our beliefs, behaviors and actions that reinforce these old neuro-pathways.

    Revisiting the painful emotions elicits the same biochemical reactions as the first occurrence and reinforces the old patterns.
     
  2. RikR

    RikR Well known member

    “Ordinary” Trauma

    To understand the meaning of these everyday emergency responses, and to

    transform them into opportunities for healing, we first need to rethink our

    fundamental assumptions about trauma. I propose that the sources of trauma

    are far more complex than the standard DSM-IV definitions. Under Criterion

    A, the DSM-IV defines trauma as the result of having “…experienced,

    witnessed or been confronted with…actual or threatened death or serious

    injury…to self or others.” and, importantly, responding to that event with

    “…intense fear, helplessness or horror.”

    This definition isn’t wrong; it is simply woefully incomplete. In fact,

    any

    negative life event occurring in a state of relative helplessness—a car

    accident, the sudden death of a loved one, a frightening medical procedure, a

    significant experience of rejection--can produce the same neurophysiological

    changes in the brain as combat, rape or abuse. What makes a negative life

    event traumatizing is not the literal life-threatening nature of the event, but

    rather 1) the degree of helplessness it engenders and 2) one’s history of prior

    trauma.
     
    G.R. and Leslie like this.
  3. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Have you ever read Peter Levine's work? In Healing Trauma, he touches on a similar note saying, "we become traumatized when our ability to respond to a perceived thread is in some way overwhelmed....trauma is about loss of connection - to ourselves, to our bodies, to our families, to others, and to the world around us."

    One thing that I have learned through TMS work is that an event is not intrinsically stressful or traumatic. It is our reaction and how we perceive that event that makes it traumatic. Small things such as falling off a bike or tripping in public can have an extremely traumatic effect on us. When we do happen to come upon a traumatic event, mindfulness is a great tool at calming ourselves afterward. Learning how to sooth yourself can help process the stuck emotional energy caused by the fight/flight/freeze response of our ANS, which is something else that Levine address in his books.
     
    eric watson likes this.
  4. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    It seems to me that being intellectual aware of unpleasant or traumatic events in childhood or youth doesn't mean that you have to play that emotion of helpless fear over and over again like a recording in your neural pathways, reinforcing and intensifying that old feeling so it becomes more and more programmed. If you gain an intellectual understanding of how those traumatic events shaped you and your responses, you can actually gain some distance on those emotions so they no longer affect you in the same old ways. You don't need to play the emotion over and over again like a track on a CD, only be aware of its existence in order to build some compassion for yourself and your emotional situation. Self-knowledge becomes a means of self-healing.
     
    eric watson likes this.
  5. chickenbone

    chickenbone Well known member

    I agree with you BruceMC. I have traumatic childhood memories involving a babysitter's abusive attempts to complete my toilet training. I find that I do not necessarily have to relive emotionally these traumatic memories each and every time I think about them in an intellectual fashion. However, at the wrong times, I do find them very upsetting. I have been recently using Eric Watson's method of "comforting the inner child" along with EFT (emotional freedom techniques) to successfully take the emotional sting out of a lot of these memories. That way, I can discover the inappropriate beliefs and defense mechanisms that developed from them and I can work on modifying those beliefs, so that they do not cause problems for me in the present. Mindfullness of the present helps to remind me that I am no longer that helpless child.
     
    eric watson likes this.
  6. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, Chickenbone, I see how reliving old nightmares in therapy, feeling them over again and again, only reinforces the programmed pain pathways that have developed as a result of those threatening experiences. Any healing has to take place in the here and now. Going back and scrutinizing my early childhood experiences has taught me a lot about why and how I responded in the way I did when I was developing my fundamental strategies of coping. But I don't thinking imagining myself in my bedroom alone when I was six or seven listening in fear to the rise and fall of my parents' endless arguments is really where I want to stay. That certainly won't help heal my TMS. As an adult, you can apply your mature intellect and reason to an understanding of how such frightening stuff affected you then. That's good if it strengthens your resolve to live in and enjoy the present moment. I do notice in Pathways to Pain Relief by Sherman and Anderson how the people in their case studies with TMS symptoms are still operating emotionally at a naive level of understanding and coping based on childhood experiences they have never fully integrated into adult consciousness. They're still acting, in many cases, like children in a darkened room listening to their parents fight and acting on those old fears based on their childhood relationship to an adult world that frightened and threatened them. IOWs: It's okay to know about these things if you don't keep on acting on them in a naive, infantile manner.

    I haven't got through all of it, but I see in James Alexander's book that he has a lot of say about EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) and gives quite a few practical examples and instructions for doing that kind of work. I can see where Dr Alexander and Eric Watson could have quite a productive dialog!
     
    eric watson likes this.

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