Irene Lyon - 'Nervous System Expert'


FOTCM Member
The core of her work is releasing stored trauma and learning how to properly self-regulate and live in the here and now. Peter Levine is one of the original pioneers of somatic experiencing, which is a relatively new field that was further expanded by Healing Developmental Trauma and the NARM model that went into further details about this. That trapped trauma and sensations, whether it's early developmental trauma, shock trauma, stress and even past-life trauma's (which she discusses in some of her videos) that are unresolved, becomes 'stored' in a person's body, cells and organs as survival stress which takes up a lot of bandwidth and that the process of releasing the stored survival and stress responses and energies naturally causes shifts in a person's overall being.

One of the big takeaways from HDT and Peter Levine, is that to do this kind of work, you need a trained therapist who can help guide you through what might come up to the surface. She found that with her clients, they would see these insights, improvements and release of trauma experiences while in session, but when they went back out into the world, the old defensive patterns of shut down and hypervigilance would resurface. They struggled to take what they learned into daily life. So she went about developing courses that combines the work of mainly Peter Levine, Kathy Kain and Moshe Feldenkrais that shows people how to work through stored trauma, release it and integrate and internalize certain practices and principles to develop capacity, resilience and self-regulation, in particular for people who were never taught this 'language' growing up.

This was the first video I came across that piqued my interest and deals with self-sabotage from the perspective of the nervous system and unhealed trauma. But it also gives a broad overview of what her practices are about . There's an emphasis on both education and practical application as being necessary, so I did sign up for one of her courses and have found it's been worth it.

Functional Freeze

In fact, a lot of people are 'shut down' but this doesn't always look like lethargy, 'crashing' and dissociate states, numbness, although that can be the end result of what she coined Functional Freeze. That one adaptive mechanism is you shut down your own awareness to your inner experiences in relation to outside events that are overwhelming and instead run on survival stress to navigate through life. This can be like having one foot on the gas pedal and another on the brake, not reacting to or responding appropriately to situations and events. Being out of touch and disconnected in general. In certain situations this is probably essential and can save your life, but afterwards if there's an inability to feel, process and release the events from your nervous system and psyche, then it taxes the system.


This is probably the foundational principle and practice that the rest of this kind of nervous system healing work branches out from. Learning to connect with the environment while also, over time, connecting to felt sensation, breathe and experience. This can act like a bridge between the inner and outer world and encourages more embodiment and awareness.


This is talked about more extensively in one of her SBSM course that I'm taking, but once you start coming out of a functional freeze state and developing the awareness of your own physiology and nervous system responses, you start coming into contact with your true capacity, which is often a lot less than previously thought and takes time and release of already stored survival energy before you are able to increase your capacity and resilience. She has used the swimming pool and beach ball analogy. If you were to see your entire system as a swimming pool, trauma events that were never resolved are akin to beach balls that take up space in the pool. The more you release and let go of each ball, the more capacity, flow and order is brought into the system.

There are a number of free resources in the descriptions of the videos linked in this post, and her main body of work is something you do have to pay for, but from my subjective experience so far, this kind of 'Work' came at the right time and knew this was something that I needed to delve more into. In the month's since I've started incorporating her practices - and I'm taking my time and going slowly with it - have noticed progress in several areas of my life. FWIW.
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