Dear Candy Q & A: Emotional Releases & Dissociation
Q: I was wondering if you had any thoughts on emotional release of trauma vs negating it and always keeping in the positive to break that loop. Also, for those who lack internal feeling, want to feel more in their bodies and not be dissociated, can you rewire this?
A: There is a time and a place to release emotions associated with traumas or losses that we have experienced. As any body practitioner will tell you, people hold trauma in the cells of their bodies. This impacts the functioning of our nervous system, keeping us in either a heightened state or in immobilization/shut down, which affects our recovery. The challenge is, when we have a limbic system impairment, how do we release the trauma without reinforcing the limbic system trauma loop?
I recommend that people initially start with solely focusing on their brain rewiring program. Give yourself the time to get some good neural pathways going, cultivate your curious observer, and build some skills at stopping the automatic negative thoughts that are running. By doing this, some of the things that you may have thought needed to be processed will naturally fall away as the limbic system function is corrected and your brain begins to take in a more balanced perspective (rather than being stuck in such a strong negativity bias). From this place you will be more accurately able to discern what truly needs a bit more support to be released.
If you find yourself perseverating on past events, consider reading "Forgive for Good" by Dr. Fred Luskin. The skillset that he teaches is invaluable in assisting people in moving forward in their lives and letting go of the past, and is very much in alignment with the principles of brain retraining. Expressive writing in short increments, where we write out our deepest thoughts and feelings, can also be extremely helpful. The key with this tool is to allow yourself to express fully during the writing, but then outside of writing times we redirect the limbic system and not allow air time for automatic negative thoughts or perseveration on the issue. This helps us to release what is needed while at the same time preventing the maladaptive pathways from being reinforced.
For deeper traumas, clinical interventions that help bring regulation into the nervous system and release the stored trauma or grief may be necessary. Please ensure you are doing this with a skilled clinician, preferably someone who understands neuroplasticity, who either works with the body or brain pathways directly to release the trauma.
Dissociation and disembodied states can also be rewired by working through the nervous system and repeatedly practicing grounding and orienting techniques. This work could be added in to support the brain rewiring work you are doing. Ideally, you'd work with someone skilled to support you in this. Again, I would recommend starting solely with the brain rewiring program to get a foundation, and see how much of that disembodiment changes as your brain changes, and then consider adding some additional tools for support.
If you've seen an increase in disembodiment through the rewiring process then certainly consider a nervous system or somatic release type of intervention to help you reconnect and reengage.
Until Next Time!
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Candy Widdifield is Registered Clinical Counsellor, Wellness Coach, and Registered Reiki Master Teacher in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. She works with people all over the world, helping them to optimize their wellbeing and thrive in their lives. Her modalities include coaching, therapy, Reiki and the Safe & Sound Protocol. More information about Candy can be found at www.candywiddifield.com