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Working with trauma

Working with trauma

"One little piece at a time, because each piece adds to the others. It's like a teeny little island in this sea of trauma and overwhealm, and then you find another little island, and then another, and another, and then these islands come together to form a mass of stability, of presence in the here-and-now, even though there's this storming all around" (Peter Levine).

There are various ways to work with the parts of yourself that have been impacted.


Francine Shapiro developed EMDR and this is now more and more established method to reduce sensitivity from less pleasant events and feelings that keep haunting you. The of what happened remains and you can look at it with a certain distance and with less sensitivity. The method is based on so-called bilateral stimulation, which means that both brain halves are stimulated by moving back and forth with your eyes. Because research shows that the eye motion is more effective than sound, we use this way of working. EMDR generally raises discomfort in the body in people, because you stimulate the body quite intensively. These side effects often leave again with one or a few days. 3 to 5 sessions are needed to process trauma, depending on the content of it.

Somatic Experiencing

Peter Levine developed a different approach that mainly uses the body as a source of information that memories are stored other parts of the brain than in the thinking and reflective parts of the brain. That is important because we sometimes have no memories yet the event has been very disruptive. In those cases, experience the 'side effects' from that what we don't remember. Somatic experiencing uses this intelligence of the body. With your therapist you inquire into the information that has been stored in the body or in feelings that don’t seem to make sense. Sometimes a movement has not been made or hasn’t been finished. Sometimes you feel stuck in a strong sense in the body or strong (unexpected and uncontained) emotions. Through the enquiry, we explore what the feeling tell us and what is  needed to be able relax again. For other people, the work is to reconnect to the body and to feelings where the connection got lost.

Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) and Heart Rate Coherence

With the study of our nervous system, Stephen Porges has mapped out how a short circuit in our nervous system had led to a disconnect from ourselves. When it’s hard to relax, sleep, take a break and we are in a high state of activations most of the time. Others have shut down and lost the connection with their aliveness. It’s possible to develop self-regulation capacities and reconnect to yourself again. Breathing exercises and listening to filtered music are the tools. It is not the whole solution but makes the way free to get in relaxation states again and is the least invasive way to work on blockages. However, it is necessary that you produce the discipline to practice before and after the sessions. At heart coherence you can practice 3 times for 10 minutes daily and look at the session to the effects thereof. If you choose SSP, then we plan 5 sessions in one or two weeks and listen to music that is filtered specifically for this and we observe what you experience while listening. SSP is an auditory intervention designed to reduce stress and auditory sensitivity while enhancing social engagement and resilience.