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A Story of Relief: The Expansiveness of Integrative Trauma Therapy and How It Improves Lives of Clients

How do we expect we can move freely and joyfully in our lives with a body laden with memory, 
a mind distracted and negative, and a soul in pieces? 

We should not expect this of ourselves.

We can find relief through trauma therapy.

First, let’s remember what trauma does to our bodies, our minds, and our soul 

Our bodies retrain the trauma. The story and the experience are stored in our bodies.

Further, Our mind creates and retains limiting and devastating beliefs about ourselves and the world around us.

And Our soul becomes fragmented.

Let’s look at the story of RELIEF in the areas of body, mind, and soul

Bodies retain trauma in many ways. Patterns of tension arise and cause physical pain. Or, patterns of somaticized pain, like chronic aches, also arise. Pain without medical explanation can arise, chronic and recurring. 

Relief from Body Issues through trauma Therapy

A client with chronic pain in their upper arms came to see me at my trauma therapy in Pasadena office to work on difficult feelings and a traumatic past. No Western medical explanation could be found for her arm pain. In addition, she tried other modalities like massage, acupuncture, and physical therapy. However, all of these gave her only temporary relief. The chronic pain which she described as lifelong, was beginning to radiate into her shoulders and neck, causing headaches. Thankfully, when the massage therapist recommended she find a trauma worker, she listened! 

A Graceful Unfolding

Trauma therapy involves a graceful and emotional unfolding of held feelings and movement. Part of this client’s trauma involved her being held down forcefully as a child. She suffered for many years of her girlhood. As a young adult, she worked as a fitness coach and spent many hours in strength training. As a result, she was powerful and muscular. Furthermore, she did feel that her career choice was partly driven by the feelings of being trapped and small, unable to fight back against her childhood abuser. 

Tune Into Your Body

When we started to work on the trauma, she was able to tune into the physical pain in her upper arms and explore the emotional and mental aspects of the body pain. Slowly and carefully, she allowed her body to follow the pattern stored within the arms. As is common with this kind of abuse, her body was trying to complete a movement. Her arms wanted to fight back. However, her abuser had held her tightly by her upper arms, and her little girl muscles could not move. 

Slowly and in a very mindful state of observing, she was able to allow her arms to push back! In trauma and somatic sessions, we often use soft things like pillows so clients can very safely push or hit. As a result, with a pillow leaning against the side of a couch, she allowed herself to push. Images of her abuser arose and deep emotional pain along with it. However, she was courageous! Her muscles shook as they released years of tension. 

Feeling Radically Different After Integrative Trauma Therapy

After this stunning session, she felt radically different. Her arm pain dissipated quickly and the massage work and physical therapy helped her to regain a larger range of motion in her shoulders. Wonderfully, her headaches disappeared. 

She worked further in sessions to continue to integrate her trauma. Additionally, she felt that she had “gotten her body back.” She had not known how much the trauma had impacted her, how much of her life it had deeply impacted. 

Trauma is stored in the body. The body is where we go to help integrate trauma. 

Relief from Mind Issues through trauma Therapy

Let’s continue with this same client. Perhaps you resonate with her story. As a girl, she suffered from abuse which left her feeling helpless. Along with the feeling of helplessness come self-beliefs. As a girl, she started to believe that she was physically weak, although she was a very normal and healthy girl. This belief about her weakness led her to be very careful. When her friends would climb up large rocks, she would not follow. She was afraid. Sadly, she felt different than her peers. 

The Need to Control

She also felt the need to control. As a result, she suffered from an eating disorder as a teenager. She was controlling with her family and friends, who just thought it was a normal part of her personality. Unfortunately, as an adult, this need for control and fear of risk made it difficult for her to create a healthy and happy primary relationship. 

Create a New Relationship With Your Body

After the session described above, we worked together on her limiting self-beliefs. The physical relief of the stored trauma allowed her to create a new relationship with her body. She started to build new beliefs about her strength, remember this is a fitness trainer, there was no doubt she was physically strong. But she began to more deeply understand why she wanted to be stronger than everyone else. Further, she began to release her need for overtraining physically. She released that burden of control over her body. This allowed her to explore her need to control others and how it created friction in friendships and relationships. In addition, she recognized that her fear was quite old. She realized that as an adult she was still afraid of being overpowered and abused.

Again, she was courageous in her self-exploration and allowed herself to look into the depths of her psyche. She created new beliefs about herself and began to practice living with those beliefs. 

In the end, she felt she had “gotten herself back” which indeed, she had.

Relief from Soul Fragmentation through Trauma

Let’s continue with our brave fitness instructor on another level of healing which involves shamanic interventions. 

There is no separation between body, mind, and spirit or soul.

Trauma impacts us on all levels of our being.

When the soul is better cared for, the body and mind revel in a joyful connection.

Trauma creates a fragmentation of the self

Soul Fragmentation is a bit like parts theory, which helps us understand the parts of our personality or self. However, soul fragmentation is a deeper issue. When our fitness instructor was a girl she was held down by force and she stored energy in her body, memory in her muscles and she stored something else as well. 

Dissociation Occurs in Order to Protect Ourselves

When she was being held down, she was not present in her body. After trying to physically escape, she essentially left her body. In psychological terms, she dissociated. Or, in shamanic terms, she let her body and hid or froze part of herself. Usually, it is the most vulnerable part that becomes hidden or frozen in time. For her, it was part of her that believed she was valuable, and that the world was a safe place. You can see how these parts would be ushered out, they are precious and require safe-keeping. She was resilient, which all of us are, and she survived the abuse, but she was still missing the necessary influence of the missing parts of herself. 

This work is rather difficult to describe. It is non-traditional and many people are unaccustomed to the realm of shamanic work. Yet, many people are drawn to experience it. 

Soul Retrieval

In sessions, we worked on what is called soul fragment retrieval. Sometimes it is called soul retrieval, but what usually is being retrieved is a fragment, a frozen or hidden part of the self. It is ushered out during trauma. Furthermore, it can remain out for decades or even a lifetime. But it also is always longing to be integrated back into consciousness, into the soul.

A Mindful and Deep State

I will offer some details of the process. The fitness instructor was guided gently into a mindful and deep state. A memory arose of an abusive incident. She could see her girl self in the memory and much detail of where the incident took place. Additionally, she saw more detail in the memory than she ever had before. 

There are many ways of conducting a retrieval, each is gentle and honors the client and the part or parts being retrieved. Sometimes parts are ready to return, sometimes they need a little help and time to believe it is safe to return. Remember, they are stuck in time and sometimes very young. 

The Reconnection of the Soul Fragment to the Present

This client found her part ready to return. Through one of the processes I was given by my teachers, we brought the part home. By that I mean, into the present, into the body, and snug into the soul. It is an emotional process, and the body feels the return of the fragment. This client was sobbing with the love she felt for the part, the sadness about the abuse, and the joy of freeing this part from that frozen place. She was joyfully reintegrating this part.

Trauma therapy Creates a Profound and Often Unexpected Change

This is the kind of work that creates profound and unexpected change. When she opened her eyes, she felt her vision had altered. She noticed things in the room she had not seen before. In fact, she felt different in her body, light and flexible. She felt open and emotional. Now, she was not afraid to feel that way.

In future sessions, she reported feeling less struggle to find happiness. No set boundaries for her energy. Less cramped within her body, and more freedom of self-expression.

Know that Trauma Therapy is Life Changing

Trauma Therapy is Expansive and Leads to Deep Healin

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Begin Trauma Therapy in Pasadena Today

1. Reach Out

Click the Make an Appointment button and schedule your session today.

2. Let the healing begin

By combining somatic therapy, trauma therapy, counseling, mindfulness and neuroscience, you will be out of the powerful grip of trauma  

3. Live Your Beautiful Life!

With trauma now in the past, you are free to live, love and enjoy everything life has to offer. 

Other Services Counseling Services Offered by Andrea-Marie Stark in Pasadena, CA

In addition to Trauma Therapy, Andrea-Marie offers a wide variety of holistic and spiritually driven services. These include Depth Psychology, Somatic Therapy, Intuitive Counseling, Shamanic Healing, Reiki, and Mindfulness. If you are stuck and in need of a supportive, compassionate and nonjudgmental place to rediscover yourself, reach out today