"Healing Developmental Trauma" by L. Heller and A. LaPierre

whitecoast

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Awhile back I went to a seminar given by a teacher and therapist in Somatic Experiencing. I took some notes during class and re-wrote them with a friend I attended with asked if he could have them. Since they fit well with the theme of the thread I thought I would share it, since there appears to be a lot of overlap.


Intro
The stress response is an elevated sympathetic arousal (fight or flight response) above our baseline stress level. People's baselines are set by the levels of chronic stress they experience, as well as their default baseline set by interactions with their primary caregiver. Those who can more easily return to baseline (or even lower their baseline) are said to be more resilient than others. To be resilient is to be able to naturally discharge the stress response by engaging with it in an adaptive fashion that returns our body's arousal to baseline. Few people know how to self-regulate, and as a result people do not discharge the stress they experience, and instead clamp down on it through the parasympathetic dorsal vagal system (freeze response). These people walk around in a subtly disassociated state where the fight or flight energy is still active but frozen in the body, weighing down the nervous system and reducing the resources it has available to handle more stressful and demanding tasks. Those who are easily overwhelmed are prime examples of those whose emotional cups are almost always full (of frozen, undischarged stress), and who have high baselines for stress in their nervous system. Our brains are highly neuroplastic, and we can learn to naturally discharge stress and return to baseline (and even lower our baseline) by educating ourselves and applying knowledge.

The most important skill is to learn to orient:

Look around and pay active attention to neutral features of the environment, as well as feelings or sensate from the body. Do this before and after a stressor, or whenever your mind has wandered off (i.e. disassociated) from the immediate environment. This is a dead giveaway that the freeze state is active, instead of the socially attuned state (smart vagus nerve). The smart vagus is stimulated by orienting toward neutral, non-threatening signals around and within. It is this smart vagus system that we use to control and tone down the sympathetic stress response, and to do so in a controlled, gentle fashion (instead of the emergency brake of the freeze system, also known as the dorsal or slow vagus nerve).

Resiliency consists of four factors:

Capacity
When I feel something, do I actually feel it, or do I immediately suppress it and clamp down on it? Do we have the awareness and attention to perceive our bodily sensations and feelings?

Containment
Can I feel that anger in its totality until it shifts, and stay present to it? Can I expand to contain the pressure of the emotion?

Regulation
Needed for containment to be successful. My system understands that it can go up and it can come down. It can activate and then deactivate. There are 3 parts of the nervous system: the sympathetic nervous system, the ventral parasympathetic (smart vagus), and the dorsal parasympathetic (slow vagus). Regulation is working when the 3 parts are working when they're needed and off when they're not.

Coherence
Do I have rhythm and organization and stability in my system? Is there communication between the subsystems of my body? Eg, heart and breathing rate. Heart rate variability is a measure of coherence. Optimal coherence generates a sensory-motor rhythm.


Six main things you can do to increase your resilience:

Education
Understand how our experiences and choices affect our physiology. Read "In an Unspoken Voice" by Peter Levine <3.

Get in the body
Spent even just 5 minutes day noticing the body's neutral sensations. Become familiar with the boundaries of your physical body. Whenever you encounter something stressful or painful, reorient toward something neutral. This builds islands of safety for exploring the body and measuring your capacity to endure an external stressor. When you notice something stressful in you, like a feeling or tension, and you reorient to neutral sensations or impressions (creaing islands of safety to explore the uncomfortable feelings), you condition your nervous system to come down a little in terms of stress because you're implicitly conveying that the object isn't a threat.

Self-regulation

Discomfort and stress are undone by resources. Use imagination of a neutral situation or a situation that conveys confident emotions. Pets are very resourcing. Rocking and "stimming" with active attention helps also. Self hug is another strong signal for setting boundaries and containment. Moving and exploring the sensations of leg and trunk muscles helps. Anything sensory can be soothing. Sensation in other senses like smells and touching also work (essential oils, soft fabrics). Orienting and paying closer attention to your environmental and bodily stimuli is always a good resource to stabilize the less comfortable feelings.

Put a tensor bandage on your adrenals (lol). "Ace bandage" works.

Breathing
When stressed out, don't take deep breaths. Focus on extending the exhale to lower the heart rate by making a "vooo" sound long enough to cause the body to take a spontaneous in-breath. Then immediately orient and observe the neutral environmental and bodily signals. This technique stimulates the vagus nerve and heart rate variability, leading to greater coherence.

Management
Learn to identify the ways you're using hobbies and food or chemicals to soothe. Become aware of your management patterns. The more you deal with your stress and lower your baseline, the less you will need earlier, less efficient management strategies.

Coregulation
The solution to addiction and stress is social connection (a la Gabor Mate). It is one of the best ways to engage the nervous system. Be with people who make you feel seen. People who make you feel safe. People who come and meet you where you are. Call people, do not text them. Nervous systems are always pinging and sensing the environment and the nervous systems of others. You can feel yourself atunig to other people's nervous systems up to 7 feet away. Our baseline stress level is tuned by our primary caregiver's ventral vagal tone. So neglect or even a dysregulated nervous system convey lack of safety to the infant. rhythmical, coherent attunement is necessary to improve the baseline resiliency.

The result of applying all these techniques is increased capacity, containment, resilience, and coherence. Thank you for coming and taking this time to learn about and improve your resiliency. Sessions in town and on Skype. Grab a card!!
 

Learner

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
nicklebleu said:
[...]

Unfortunately there is not more information on the website - the link given leads to a “website under construction).

That's odd, because when I did the quiz first I followed the link and came to the website, but didn't have a further look back then. And now there's just a Portugese Version available. However, I found (an archived?) version in English: _http://psicologiaessencial.com.br/2015/en

When scrolling down a bit, you find a free course called "Discovering Developmental Trauma" (which turns out to be the same to which DBZ posted the link earlier in this thread): _http://www.embodythewisdom.com/courses/discovering-developmental-trauma

The quiz is also among the contents offered in that course, and possibly created by the same person. Here's more about the author:

Fernando Aguiar is a Brazilian experienced Core Energetics and TRE Level 2 therapist with a Master degree in Clinical Psychology. He is passionate about supporting people in their life changing and transformation process; his gift is to help people deeply connect with their soul and life force.

+ Researcher who have presented in scientific conferences around the world and published in scientific journals.
+ Works with individuals and groups in body psychotherapy since 2007;
+ Facilitated workshops in Brazil, Israel, Australia, Nepal, Thailand and India in several topics.
+ More than 10 years experience with meditation and spiritual development.

My impressions from there confirmed for me that concentrating on the book discussed here would be more beneficial. Reading it is going pretty deep for me so far as well. I have made it through chapter 8 now which was pretty intense. There are no proper words in me yet to verbalize what is going on inside me, other than something deep seems to have been addressed. Last night I had a quite disturbing dream which was about impeached boundaries by a bunch of crazy liberal hipster types and then re-claiming my autonomy.

Thank you for bringing up this book and for everyone sharing your experiences with it, and for further information and tools! I am looking forward how the journey continues.
 

Cleo

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Results from test:

Connection: 23.08%
Attunement : 35.71%
Autonomy : 46.15%
Trust: 23.08%
Love-sexuality: 7.69%

Learner said:
Thank you for bringing up this book and for everyone sharing your experiences with it, and for further information and tools! I am looking forward how the journey continues.

Thank you for the above as well, everyone. The book arrived in the mail yesterday and I plan to read more of it today.

BTW, do others recommend reading the Samenow/Raine books before delving into Healing Developmental Trauma?
 

BrendaH

Jedi
mabar said:
loreta said:
Here is a transcription of an interview with Dr. Heller.
http://www.shrinkrapradio.com/382.pdf
Thanks Loreta, had not read the book, it would help in the meantime, I found a video of the Introduction to the book by Dr. Laurence Heller https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPhasHMSyas had helped to familiarized to what people are posting...

Thanks for sharing! It also helped me to better understand what is being discussed here.
 

Learner

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Cleo said:
[...]

BTW, do others recommend reading the Samenow/Raine books before delving into Healing Developmental Trauma?

Could be wrong here, but I don't think it matters in which turn those books are read. I am currently reading HDT while highlighting the most relevant stuff / taking notes, which I plan to revisit later once I started Raine and Samenow, in order to compare. The reason for putting HDT before those other books is for me, that I want to connect to a neurofeedback therapist asap, thus I am reading HDT now because I think it might fit well together with the stuff about neurofeedback. But that's just me, fwiw :)
 

Laura

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Learner said:
Cleo said:
[...]

BTW, do others recommend reading the Samenow/Raine books before delving into Healing Developmental Trauma?

Could be wrong here, but I don't think it matters in which turn those books are read. I am currently reading HDT while highlighting the most relevant stuff / taking notes, which I plan to revisit later once I started Raine and Samenow, in order to compare. The reason for putting HDT before those other books is for me, that I want to connect to a neurofeedback therapist asap, thus I am reading HDT now because I think it might fit well together with the stuff about neurofeedback. But that's just me, fwiw :)

Yes. That is reasonable. And the HDT methods are helpful. But, the Samenow methods are also good for "Top Down" work.
 

Cleo

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Laura said:
Learner said:
Cleo said:
[...]

BTW, do others recommend reading the Samenow/Raine books before delving into Healing Developmental Trauma?

Could be wrong here, but I don't think it matters in which turn those books are read. I am currently reading HDT while highlighting the most relevant stuff / taking notes, which I plan to revisit later once I started Raine and Samenow, in order to compare. The reason for putting HDT before those other books is for me, that I want to connect to a neurofeedback therapist asap, thus I am reading HDT now because I think it might fit well together with the stuff about neurofeedback. But that's just me, fwiw :)

Yes. That is reasonable. And the HDT methods are helpful. But, the Samenow methods are also good for "Top Down" work.

Ok, thank you. I'll continue reading Healing Developmental Trauma. I have a tendency to read more than one book at one time and I may continue to do so in this case.
 

logos5x5

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Laura said:
Learner said:
Could be wrong here, but I don't think it matters in which turn those books are read. I am currently reading HDT while highlighting the most relevant stuff / taking notes, which I plan to revisit later once I started Raine and Samenow, in order to compare. The reason for putting HDT before those other books is for me, that I want to connect to a neurofeedback therapist asap, thus I am reading HDT now because I think it might fit well together with the stuff about neurofeedback. But that's just me, fwiw :)

Yes. That is reasonable. And the HDT methods are helpful. But, the Samenow methods are also good for "Top Down" work.

That's exactly what I have been thinking while reading the HDT book. Taking it that way, the books are really complementary, and that could be taken into account for the planned manual.

BTW, I found this book:

Neurofeedback in the Treatment of Developmental Trauma: Calming the Fear-Driven Brain

It seems interesting and in line with what we have been discussing lately.

It's on my list now as I haven't finished this one yet.
 

Gaby

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Luis said:
BTW, I found this book:

Neurofeedback in the Treatment of Developmental Trauma: Calming the Fear-Driven Brain

It seems interesting and in line with what we have been discussing lately.

It's on my list now as I haven't finished this one yet.

This book is discussed on the Neurofeedback thread:

https://cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php/topic,33124.msg745506.html#msg745506

I read the entire book carefully and it was very insightful. However, as I wrote in the NF thread:

Even though it is highly insightful, the book did bring more concerns for me about targeted protocols and how difficult it is to determine what works for each person or not. Fisher is practically not recommending anyone with less than 10 years of clinical training to do targeted neurofeedback on patients.
 

Keit

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Laura said:
I think assessing yourself via the information in the book is much better than the online test which seems to be rather ambiguous and possibly a little misleading.

Just wanted to reiterate this point after progressing further in the book. It's possible that the online questioner still helpful as an introduction to the survival styles, but the descriptions in the book are much more accurate, so my percentages are probably very different from the ones in the questioner. fwiw.
 

adam7117

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
Yes, I have started going through this material as well. It's not easy but I am very happy that this book was suggested. Thank you!

At the moment, I am listening to it via the Audible app as it helps me focus better. Plus I can listen before going to bed or on the way to work. Eventually, I'll end up purchasing the text as some sections are important to re-read. It's already making a difference.

I think I have major issues with Connection but suspect it is layered with a mix of some of the others, too. Something to explore for sure. That's the kind of Work that's long overdue in my life... sigh.
 

Ant22

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Keit said:
Laura said:
I think assessing yourself via the information in the book is much better than the online test which seems to be rather ambiguous and possibly a little misleading.

Just wanted to reiterate this point after progressing further in the book. It's possible that the online questioner still helpful as an introduction to the survival styles, but the descriptions in the book are much more accurate, so my percentages are probably very different from the ones in the questioner. fwiw.


Having read over half of the book now I agree with the above point. My percentages in the online test were almost equal for Connection, Attunement and Trust and I just don't see how this could be correct. The shame based part of the Connection type sticks out BIG time for me and I'd give it at least 50%. A much higher percentage isn't unlikely but I don't want to make definite statements until I've finished the entire book.

I can see where those issues could have come from as I spoke with my Mom about the early months of my life last weekend. Apart form tons of serious issues involved in the family situation, I was in hospital when I was 3 months old - for a month. I was locked in an incubator with hardly any human contact and with needles sticking out of my body. This reminded me of Gabor Mate: he attributed some of his own difficulties to being separated from his mother for 3 weeks when he was an infant during the war time.

As for other types, there seems to have been a cushion that prevented those issues to manifest to such a large degree but this assessment might change once I've gotten to the end of the book.

The book says that Connection issues open the door to difficulties in other categories and I can see myself in the remaining styles too - just not that much. In the case of the Autonomy style I don't see much of myself there so the percentage in the online test could have been accurate.
 

RyanAM

Padawan Learner
Thanks for the introduction to this great and disturbing book. I see why fear things such as writing on the forum.

Connection 61.54 attunement 50.0 autonomy 0
Trust 23.08 love-sexuality 23.08
 

Konstantin

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Gaby said:
Jones said:
I know that physical work can hurt physically until you get fit but now I'm wondering if that intense physical work over 6-8 hours provided for such an intense connection to my body that I was also in touch with emotional hurt that wasn't shifting. Or didn't allow for pendulation so I was just bracing against it - so there was extra energy being burned in suppression.

It could be. I think your body also has the awareness of when too much is too much and in a sense, you don't end up feeling more than you can handle right now.

A few years ago, I opted for physical activity as a means to not fall in parasympathetic "frozen" mode and facilitate body coordination. Due to my environment and also due to personal preference, I opted for a discipline in Martial Arts, also knowing that I can get very angry. Even when I tended to suppress anger for most of my life, a sudden relesase of energy could amount to a "super volcano" waking up. My thinking was that the Martial Arts would balance things up a bit. Sometimes I would go depressed to the training and get out totally fine. Although it helped, I didn't connect with myself. In fact, I was just noticing recently how I seemed to be doing all my exercises as if walking on a cloud. That is, I don't exactly have my feet on the ground (lack of "grounding").


.
.
.
.

Today I started the book. I first read this thread and now I am on the book.

I quoted the above text in bold from Gaby's post because that is the exact how I feel last time. Since my daily job is sedentary I decided many years ago that i will go to the gym to stretch my body a little, to make my blood circulate through my body after a whole day of seating in one place. And it was going very good.

But in the recent time, i feel that I don't even feel the exercises that I am doing, it is like walking on a cloud , exactly like you described in your post. Like I`m not doing the exercises like I am disconnected from that activity.
It is hard to explain with words.

I am starting with the book today.
Also, i did that test and these are my results:

Connection - 23.08%
Attunement - 21.43%
Autonomy - 38.46%
Trust - 38.46
Love-sexuality - 30.77%
 

Konstantin

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Keit said:
Laura said:
I think assessing yourself via the information in the book is much better than the online test which seems to be rather ambiguous and possibly a little misleading.

Just wanted to reiterate this point after progressing further in the book. It's possible that the online questioner still helpful as an introduction to the survival styles, but the descriptions in the book are much more accurate, so my percentages are probably very different from the ones in the questioner. fwiw.

I can agree with that also. I read about a quarter of the book until now and I think that trying to analyze yourself following the book descriptions is very different from the questioner. The book is better.

In the same time, it is very hard to accept how wrong or how distorted is our perception and our thinking and our behavior and how much psychological dysregulation we have. I found more or fewer survival characteristics of me in almost every survival category. In some more then in the other. What a mess. :(
I must finish the book and try to be more aware of myself and how to correct all these survival characteristics or at least be fully aware of them.
 
Top Bottom