There is an excellent book called ‘Waking the Tiger’ by Peter Levine that talks about healing trauma:
Most people have some level of trauma – it is a pervasive fact. And when we are traumatized, there is an eventual disruption in the way that we process information....Traumatic symptoms are not caused by the ‘triggering’ event itself – they stem from the frozen residue of energy that has not been resolved and discharged; this residue remains trapped in the nervous system where it can wreak havoc on our bodies and spirits.
Humans suffer when we are unable to discharge the energy that is locked in by the freezing response. Rather than moving through the freezing response, as animals do routinely, humans often begin a downward spiral characterized by an increasingly debilitating constellation of symptoms.
We must pay attention to our animal nature to find the instinctive strategies needed to release us from trauma’s debilitating effects. In response to threat, the organism can fight, flee or freeze. When fight and flight responses are thwarted, the organism instinctively constricts as it moves towards the last option – the freezing response. As it constricts, the energy that would have been discharged by executing the fight or flight strategies is amplified and bound up in the nervous system.
What happens with humans is that the intense, frozen energy, instead of discharging, gets bound up with the overwhelming highly activated, emotional states of terror, rage, and helplessness. Why don’t we move in and out of the different responses as naturally as animals do? It’s because our highly evolved neo-cortex (rational brain) easily overrides our instinctual responses of discharging this energy.
The drive to complete the freezing response remains active no matter how long it has been in place! The drive to complete and heal trauma is as powerful and tenacious as the symptoms it creates. The urge to resolve trauma through re-enactment can be severe and compulsive – we are inextricably drawn into situations that replicate the original trauma in both obvious and unobvious ways.
Re-enactment represents the organism’s attempt to complete the natural cycle of activation and deactivation that accompanies the response to threat in the wild. In the wild, activation is often discharged by running or fighting. Conscious awareness accessed through the felt sense provides us with a gentle energetic discharge just as effective as that which the animal accesses through action.
Craniosacral therapy is one of the ways we can release ourselves from this endless cycle.
Craniosacral sessions are available with Ri in Bristol, Cirencester and Cherington.