Tips to avoid re-traumatizing yourself

by | May 20, 2024 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

You are very likely to encounter trauma as you do this emotional work.

It’s important to know that something being “traumatic” is NOT based on how bad the event appears to be on description, but our reaction to it. Our age, capacity to cope, relationships to the people and places involved, all play a role in how our brain and nervous system treat the situation.

In other words, things that seem like “no big deal” may in fact be traumatic, and should be dealt with accordingly. 

If this were a perfect world, we would all have regular one-on-one work with a trauma informed professional that could skillfully navigate this territory.

However, this world is far from perfect. 

Here are a few tips when approaching potentially traumatic subjects, so as not to flood the nervous system and delay progress (or worse.)

1. Don’t allow yourself to be pushed or forced into territory that you have ANY inclination may be overwhelming.

2. Don’t push yourself into the most intense memories or challenging aspects related to what you are working on.

There is a lot terrible advice about this, and I’ve seen it keep people stuck… to say the least. Work on a manageable level with whatever is coming up for you, allowing yourself to build capacity.

3. Focus on the Body – If a particular subject seems to intense to make progress on despite your efforts, work with the body responses that come up as you approach the subject. For example, it’s too overwhelming to go into your divorce, but just even broaching the subject in your mind, your shoulders start to tighten, etc. Here you can tap, breathe, and work purely on the tightness in the shoulders without going into the details of the relationship. 

4. Tearless Trauma – When difficult subjects keep popping into your mind, try “tearless trauma” from EFT where you visualize that topic being placed into a safe container, buried under the ground, whatever visualizations help neutralize the intensity, and tap or process on the image of the container itself. 

Hope it helps!

Evan

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