Below I am sharing a presentation about PTSD that me and my classmates presented at our healing school.
What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
- “Post-traumatic stress is the result of a heart-stopping mix of terror, helplessness, and horror that floods the mind and freezes the body during an overwhelmingly threatening event.”
- “At the time of the actual event, its defining nature is an instantaneous and automatic takeover of intense feelings of helplessness, terror, and loss of control, and the perception of impending annihilation by overwhelming force.”
“Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal” by Belleruth Naparstek
Who does it affect?
- It can occur in those who personally experience the trauma, those who witness it, those who pick up the pieces after and even friends & family of those who went through the event.
- Greater risk for women and young children
Factors that influence risk of developing PTSD
Proximity – Duration – Extent of brutality – Betrayal – Threat of dying – Perpetrating violence – Societal context – Unpredictability – Injury – Loss – Being trapped
Different types of trauma
Type 1: Shock trauma
- Exposure to a one time, overwhelming event which our body cannot process
- Rape/assault/sexual or physical abuse
- Invasive medical procedure
- Terrorist attacks
- Natural disasters
Type 2: Strain trauma
- An incremental compounding of events over time
- “Wounds” that we experience that can be accumulated and build up in our body by being chronically exposed to them, often during childhood
- Unstable / unsafe home environment; neglect
- Domestic violence; bullying
- Abuse – emotional/mental, physical, sexual / incest
- Kidnapping / prolonged capture
Long-term, repeated exposure is a repeated “undoing” of their personhood
- The person adapts to a perpetual life of fear
- This usually results in deeper and more devastating effects
How is PSTD response different from a “normal” response?
The person re-lives the traumatic event in a involuntarily and vivid way
- Nightmares : either the event or other frightening things
- Flashbacks: acting or feeling like the event is happening again
- Frightening thoughts
- Repetitive images or sensations / can also include physical sensations as trembling and sweating, rapid breathing
- Constant negative thoughts about the experience
- They ask themselves repeatedly questions that prevent them from coming to terms with the event
Why did this event happen to me?
Could I have done something to stop it?
This can lead to feelings of guilt and shame
Avoidance and emotional numbing / constriction
Emotional numbing: when you try to deal with your feelings by not feeling anything at all. Thus people can get isolated and withdrawn: dissociation.
- They may give up activities that they used to enjoy. They feel detached from others
- They have feelings of helplessness
It is the biological response to an overwhelming threat
- People distract themselves with work or hobbies: they try to push memories out of their mind
- Trying to avoid being reminded of the traumatic event: avoiding certain persons or places
- Having trouble remembering the dangerous event/ mental blankness
- Sense of limited future: you don’t expect to get married or have a career
- Frequent crying, fear of dying, going crazy
- Things that remind a person of the event can trigger avoidance symptoms.
These symptoms may cause a person to change his/her routine
A person may avoid driving a car after a bad car accident
Hyper arousal – Feeling “on edge”
- These symptoms are usually constant, instead of being triggered by things that one remind of the traumatic event.
– Difficulties in relaxing themselves
– Anxious constantly aware of threads
– This causes constriction
– Perceptual awareness easily startled and feeling jumpy
– Being on constant ‘red alert’
– The full attention is directed toward the threat
- Feeling ‘on edge’ often leads to:
– Being irritated
– Angry outbursts
– Sleeping problems: falling or staying
– Feeling stressed
– Difficulties in concentration
PTSD in children
- Sleep problems and nightmares without recognizable content
- Fear of being separated from parent
- Losing skills like toilet traing
- Acting out the trauma in play, stories, drawings
- Irritability and aggression
- Aches and pains with no apparent cause
- Somber, compulsive play in which aspects of the trauma are repeated
- When young children are repeatedly traumatized they often adapt dissociation as a preferred mode to be in the world
Healthy cell walls are “plump” and strong
Neurons (nerve cells) may freeze or become hyper-vigilant
- They process & transmit impulses using electrical signals (voltage) across their membranes
- If voltage changes by a large amount (hyper-arousal) an all or nothing response can occur
- Is believed to be the “brain” of the cell (mem-brain) and is responsible for determining how a cell responds to its environment and how it allows for the interaction of the inner and outer environments
When under chronic stress, our adrenal gland cell membrane:
- Is deflated, has gaps (holes) in it and is generally weak/thin
Our telomeres are shorter
- They protect our DNA from damage
- The more childhood trauma a subject had experienced, the higher the risk shortened telomeres which is associated with accelerated aging
- Common with PSTD
How PTSD may look in the haric line
- In extreme cases, hara / VPC may shift backwards, away from emotions further shutting down feelings, working from will
- Hara cut off from their neck/ upper chest and the rest of their body, not having been able to process the trauma all the way through
As a Helper it is important to consider:
How is he creating safety for himself?
- Third eye may be wide open constantly monitoring the room / energy of the room to create sense of safety
- Second chakra may be very open constantly monitoring the feelings of others (empath), on guard for negative emotions or motives (especially in cases of abuse)
- They may keep reprocessing it mentally with a feeling of terror to allow it in their bodies
- Possibly a feeling that their body keeps betraying them with these misunderstood and unpredictable responses
- Therefore, they may be hyper-vigilant to the environment AND guard against the symptoms erupting
- Take into account the clients pattern of hyper arousal
(degree & how extreme)
- Look at:
– 1st and 3rd chakras for trauma
– 2nd and 4th levels for lifeless dull energy
- Look for feelings of confusion in their field which can make them feel trapped even further
- Contributes to the feelings of pushing from will to keep going when feeling trapped
- Adrenals extremely fatigued (as stated earlier)
- Back muscles tense/breath is tight
- Torso moves less, relative to body
- Feelings: “protect my back”, “grow eyes in the back of my head”
If you layer all of this over their specific situation you may also find specific signs, such as:
- If they were bound in any way, energetically their wrists and ankles may feel “cut off”
- If sexually abused, this area maybe stagnant, almost dead – there may be a history of cancer or other signs such as frequent miscarriages
- If they suffered trauma in war, their whole field is “watching”, they may suffer from insomnia, night terrors
- If they were forced to eat adult sized portions as a child, their throat may be clogged
What can we do? What treatments are available? At a cellular level?
We can take them gently through “Thawing” or “Somatic Experiencing” to immobilize frozen parts of the cells
- This can be done at a cellular level of deep contact & presence which allows the frozen layers to peel off – like removing layers off an onion.
- My experience with working with trauma at a cellular level is that a deep level of listening and contact is required to connect with the consciousness at the cellular level.
- I have found by doing this that the trauma is allowed to be sequenced in waves then released without the client having to re-experience the traumatic event at a cognitive level (similar to clearing past life time capsules from the energy field)
- It takes intention and hara, compression of awareness inward with focus, then relaxation and connection
- The ability to use WAE to allow the experience of their physiological processes to unfold, being fully deeply present
- By being present at the cell membranes level, one can affect interaction of what is held there and the relationship of its expression to the outer world (the rest of the body).
- The person is not usually aware of what is held at a cellular level (disconnected thoughts and actions) so this technique allows integration into their system
- The consciousness of the cells mimic the consciousness of the individuals expression in the world
(Best ones are non cognitive body therapies)
– Brennan Healing Science
– TFT/EFT EMDR
– Somatic Experiencing
– Guided Imagery www.healthjourneys.com
- Psoas muscle release followed by Hypothalamus/ Pituitary/Adrenal Balancing
Psoas Muscle Release
The psoas muscle is the main muscle that raises your leg toward your body. One of the largest and thickest muscles of the body and the major walking muscle. The psoas maintains the pelvis in a dynamically neutral orientation that can move easily and retain structural integrity. The psoas acts as a shelf to support the organs and nerve ganglia and sits just below the kidneys. The nerves for the lower digestive system, the reproductive organs, bladder, and thigh go over, through or under the psoas muscle; their function is intrinsically dependant on the psoas.
The psoas is behind the three lower chakras responsible for power, sexual energy and survival. In Chinese medicine the psoas is connected to the kidneys that are the original source of chi or life energy. Fear.
The psoas is a primary muscle in flight, fight, freeze or fear responses to danger.
“As a species, humans are encoded with the ability to protect themselves. When survival is at stake, the psoas propels the body to hit the ground running. When startled, it ignites preparation of the extensor muscles to reach out (grab hold) or run. When standing one’s ground, the psoas provides a person with powerful core leg and arm kicks – a dynamic force in the face of the enemy.”
The psoas is “an essential part of the instinctive fear reflex.” It flexes the spine into a fetal position to protect the vulnerable organs of the body from a deadly blow or fall. If we are overwhelmed or the danger is chronic, the psoas can help us to freeze or play dead until the danger is removed.
If the client is able to release the psoas in a healing session, there can be significant results.
(Liz Koch, Psoas Health: Trauma Recovery Protocol. Massage and Bodywork.
©20 10 Barbara Brennan, Inc. A&P II, Class #4 Handout/Page 7 of 1 1 SP:HG:6/10
PSOAS MUSCLE RELEASE METHOD
1. The Constructive Rest Position (CRP)Have your client lie on the table with knees bent and feet flat on the table 12-16 inches away from the buttocks, heels aligned with hip sockets. Arms rest to the sides of the body or comfortably on top of the pelvis. In this passive position, the client is simply resting. The healer uses HSP to gather information during this resting phase. The force of gravity begins to release the psoas.
2. Ask the client to relax legs and lay flat on his/her back so the healer comfortably work with the client’s feet and legs. Healer prepares by grounding. The legs can be quite heavy so healer needs to brace themselves to hold the weight.
3. Gently rock and shake each leg. With legs extended, hold one foot at a time and gently begin flexing and extending the foot. Then gently shake and rock the whole leg. Support the weight of client’s relaxed leg, then continue to jiggle the leg as you follow the natural movement pattern of the joints. Release andgently shake the_leg. Move to the other leg and begin again.
(Pay attention on unwinding in the body)
4. Gentle energetic release of the psoas. With client’s permission, healer’s place left hand on the right side of client’s trunk. The heel of the hand rests medially to the crest of the pelvic bone while the fingertips are pointed toward the middle of the rib cage. Healer places their right hand on the client’s right leg just above the knee. Focus on and perceive the right psoas muscle. Allow energy to be directed in and around the muscle without pushing.
Let the wave build, notice the client’s bodily response: color, sweating, breathing.
If appropriate, encourage the client with quiet words of support: “there is no agenda”, “you can have all your feelings”, “notice what’s here now” etc. or confirm client’s perceptions with: “right”, “yes”, “I hear you” etc.
As the wave builds, the healer gently shakes and rolls the leg, letting the leg rest as the wave slows. Stay with the client, allow the energy to be present with the muscle.
After a period of quiet, let the client know you are going to stop running energy and will be removing your hands, then gently disconnect.
– Important that they know what you are doing to create safety
– Close with HPA axis + healthy state for this body
Hold this axis with intention of it to be healthy for that body
HPA Axis – complex set of direct influences and feedback interactions among the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland and the adrenal glands, controls reactions to stress. Pathway of activation
As deep and traumatic this condition is, there is much hope and many “gifts” for people who recover
– Learn adult skills with more intention and focus
– Deepened intuitive abilities, not for safety but as life tools
– In touch with powerful human and spiritual dimensions
– Deep capacity for compassion and empathy
– Adrenaline state shifts to deeper experiences of joy, more aliveness
– Heightened creativity and artistic expression
Video: Diagnosed with PTSD and getting a PHD here
Perlmutter, David, MD, F.A.C.N, Villoldo, Alberto, PhD., Power Up Your Brain, The Neuroscience of Enlightenment, Hay House Inc, 2011
Brennan, Barbara, AP II, Class #4 Handout, Barbara Brennan Inc., 2010
Levine, Peter A, Waking the Tiger, North Atlantic Books, 1997
Brennan, Barbara, AP IV, Class #2 and #3 Handout, Barbara Brennan Inc., 2005
Peter Levine Unspoken Voice
(Liz Koch, Psoas Health: Trauma Recovery Protocol. Massage and Bodywork.
A&P II, Class #4 Handout/Barbara Brennan School of Healing
Della Reside, BIP
Marijo Puleo, BIP
Marie Van Den Kieboom, BIP
Susan Burgoon, BIP
Salome Torres, BIP