Therapies

Therapies for healing trauma. Each model has many different uses. This is important as we humans are complex and will resonate with different styles or perhaps multiple approaches in different times of our life.

IFS – Internal Family Systems

Have you ever heard yourself saying, “there is a part of me that wants this and another part that wants that?” Then you feel yourself at internal odds and stuck? IFS believes these parts are valuable sub-identities formed from life experiences that have fragmented from ourselves as a whole due to overwhelm. They have embraced roles and strategies at stressful times in our lives to prevent us from overwhelming our body and mind and help us carry through. Now, when we are passed the challenges, their behaviours are more destructive than advantageous. They are stuck and need our core Self to help them unwind and rewire towards a more harmonious way of living.

Self with a capital S is not a part. It’s our base centre of being that is embodied, calm, and connected to our environment and dreams for ourselves. Some say it’s our spiritual centre, others our connection to God or Mother Nature, and sometimes referred to as our higher selves. It is whole and fully capable of embracing everything life has to offer while maintaining its sense of strength, identity, and vision for the future.

IFS returns us to our base centre and allows our parts to become extensions of our true selves rather than fragments that get in our way.

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy

Trauma leaves the body and mind often disconnected and the nervous system needed to communicate the two, dysfunctional. SP reestablishes the connection with gentle techniques that stabilize, soothe our body and clear our mind for processing. SP teaches us how to transform both physical and psychological patterns from harmful to helpful, defusing the stuck behaviours and beliefs created by trauma.

Trauma leaves the body and mind often disconnected and the nervous system needed to communicate the two, dysfunctional. SP reestablishes the connection with gentle techniques that stabilize, soothe our body and clear our mind for processing. SP teaches us how to transform both physical and psychological patterns from harmful to helpful, defusing the stuck behaviours and beliefs created by trauma.

Purely cognitive therapies can leave the body stuck in repressed emotions, sensations, and movements. Purely somatic therapies can leave the mind confused, scared, and feeling unsafe. SP bridges the two so the body/mind can flow freely again.

Our sensorimotor rhythm is integral to our feeling whole, grounded, embodied, and present. Sensory includes our senses and motor includes our movements, both autonomic and voluntary. When the rhythm is disrupted, we are more likely to feel like we can’t connect with ourselves in a way that helps us thrive.

EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

Ever feel like your brain gets stuck on a traumatic event and you can’t focus on anything else but it? It grabs you and holds you hostage, keeping you from releasing it and moving forward. It feels like your brain short-circuits.

EMDR using bilateral stimulation (either through eye movements or sensory tappers you hold) to “un-stick” the brain. When both sides of the hemispheres can communicate with each other and with a safe support system like a therapist, the mind can let go of the hold on traumatic events. EMDR focuses on the memory of the event and transforms the way the memory is stored in the brain, which reduces the challenging symptoms.

Neurofeedback

A brains healthy state communicates well with itself. The left brain is balanced with the right. The hind brain keeps homeostasis for our organs and systems, the frontal brain can function effectively with tasks, and our mid brain handles emotions with relative ease.

Trauma disrupts these states and the brain can be left to feel disconnected, confused, heavy, and unable to perform everyday tasks in optimal capacity. NF helps our brain rewire itself.

Kind of like your muscles responding to exercise, the brain responds to NF. Placing sensors on various parts of your head, NF provides a stimulus for your brain to adapt and re-learn. Brain waves are measured (alpha, theta, beta, and delta) indicating how well you function in awake, rest, working, and sleep states. With repetitive sessions, the brain rewires itself to a more optimal state of functioning in each area.

Somatic Experiencing

Ever notice how animals in the wild deal with life and death everyday but never seem to hold on to the survival energy? They are able to get back to a baseline state of calm and continue grazing and tending to their tribes. Why is this? SE brings back our animalistic connections to release the trapped survival energy we get from trauma.

Trapped trauma is our body not completing the response that our wild animals friends easily do after a threatening event. We get stuck in hyper-arousal, shutdown, or both. SE teaches us how to complete that wave of survival rush so our bodies can resume homeostasis. Without homeostasis, our bodies decline into chronic illnesses that manifest in the physical, emotional, and mental level.

Craniosacral Therapy

A gentle, touch based therapy that creates movement in a body that feels stuck. With a soft pressure no more than a weight of a nickel, the therapist releases constrictions in the central nervous system and other body systems. Parts that feel rigid are mobile again and parts that feel frantic stabilize.

CST perks up the body’s own healing capacity. It helps us develop resilience to stress, pain, dysfunction, and illness by boosting our internal reserves to prevent and heal adversities.

Somato-Emotional-Release (SER) builds on craniosacral therapy to aid the mind/body process and release trauma. It allows us to connect our mental, emotional, and physical bodies in a safe container so we can feel our trauma move through us. The therapist provides the container with safe touch and guidance. We move it with thoughts, emotions, and sensations that arise and fall throughout the session.

Brainspotting

“Where you look affects how you feel.”

Our eyes are deeply connected to the sub cortical parts of our brain where trauma is stored. By moving our eyes slowly, we can access points where pain and suffering is stuck in our system. Following a guided hand moving in our field of vision and using bilateral sound stimulation, we can shift the stickiness of the trauma, letting it flow in and out of our body and mind.

Integrating our sub conscious mind helps us focus and transform our emotional and physical dysfunctions. BSP utilizes our natural ability to scan for danger and safety, rewiring it towards strength and capacity to deal with challenges we have faced. Brainspotting also communicates with the amygdala, a powerful part of our brain’s fight or flight nervous system. Working with this area can bring the intensity of our experiences down to a level where we can process it instead of be frozen by it.

Safe and Sound Protocol

The Safe and Sound Protocol is the application of the Polyvagal Theory.

Stimulating the rest and relax portion of the vagus nerve shifts us from a fight/flight/freeze reaction to a state of calm, presence, and ability to socialize. SSP uses specifically designed music with a frequency of the human voice. Listening helps us develop resilience to stress and reduction of auditory sensitivity.

The old saying, “rest and digest,” is a perfect example of healthy vagus nerve activity. When we are in a state of calm, our bodies are open to bonding with others, learning, digestion, and cell repair. The rest and digest state is a healing state, including traumatic experiences.

Hakomi

“Therapy is first about discovering. It’s about who you are and about what your deepest emotional attitudes are. It’s not just about who you think you are. It’s not opinion. It’s not something you can know with the intellect. It’s about who you are in the very heart of yourself. That’s the flavour of psychotherapy, discovering yourself, discovering your real attitudes toward the most important pieces of your life.” – —Ron Kurtz, Hakomi Founder.

The Hakomi method is one of wholeness, bringing in our entire selves: physiology, psychology, and spirituality. It’s a blend of scientific education from psychomotor practices and mindfulness from Buddism and Taoism. Safety, compassion, gentleness, and non-violence are core tenants of the practice.

Hakomi transforms our “core material” from limiting beliefs and behaviours to strengths of attitude, perceptions, and action. This occurs when we mindfully turn towards our felt experiences and bring them to conscious awareness. From here, we can transform the restrictions we hold by implementing new experiences and perceptions into them. We “re-organize” our core beliefs about them.

NARM – NeuroAffective Relational Model

Our childhood environment affects our biology, our personality, and our ability to relate to others. An environment that has too little “good enough” parenting and too much of neglect, abuse, or over-parenting will cause dysfunctions in how we live with ourselves and others.

NARM works with these people who typically have CPTSD (Complex PTSD). NARM addresses attachment, relational, and developmental trauma by shifting unconscious patterns of disconnection.

NARM’s core principles include: integrating our nervous systems with our relationships, somatic mindfulness to bring self regulation, linking the mind with the body, and introspection with deep identities that are not self -serving.