In last week’s session Mark went to the core of his own trauma. All this arose through engaging in counselling to sort out his marriage. And the relationship to his son. Mark has a way to go, but he wants to heal from what he now knows is trauma that has affected how he lives his life. He is beginning to tap into his own power of life.

Trauma spreads through our system

The car crash at the age of 17 that lead to the death of a friend left Mark with an intrinsic fear of losing control and, especially, of feeling profoundly helpless and trapped. He is now beginning to understand how much his brain has learnt to alert him to every situation that could lead him to lose control. Thus, the impact of the trauma spreads into his relationships and his work life.

Loss of control and the impact on the body

Mark begins to understand that the loss of inner control has led to an attempt to control the world and the people around him – an endeavour that is bound to fail. Over time he becomes more attuned to the activation of his over-alert warning system. He notices the tension building in his jaw, the heat rising up his face or the narrowing of his eyes. He notices how his breathing changes and is amazed to realise how often his hands begin to curl into fists when he feels tense. So much of his life power is trapped in this process.

Discharging the activated energy

Over the coming weeks and months, Mark continues to grow this awareness. He begins to allow his body to guide him to what needs to happen to release the tension. At home, he moves through the slow-motion exercise a few more times. Over time he notices how he becomes more confident in allowing his body to tell him what it needs. Each time Mark completes the gesture of bracing and pushing back, he feels the release of the paralysing fear more clearly. Eventually this impulse dies away.

His family remarks on the increased peacefulness in him. He is less reactive, more at ease with the stresses of every day life and smiles more often.

Healing through the body

Mark sometimes goes back to thinking about the accident. As it becomes easier to remember the events of the past, Mark talks about them in sessions. And one day, he finally comes to the fundamental insight that there was nothing he could have done to prevent this disaster from happening.

This moment is a fundamental change for Mark: the burden of guilt and helplessness seems to have shifted as he allows a profound sense of acceptance to sweep over him.

In the week following this insight, the incident comes up in a dinner conversation with newly met friends. Mark is amazed to find he can talk about the experience without breaking into a sweat. He doesn’t feel the need to move over it quickly and change the topic. He also registers the lack of the familiar feelings of shame and guilt.

The freedom to build stronger connections

Having liberated so much energy will help Mark to now build healthier and more deeply connected relationships in the present. More pain will arise over time as the grief over the loss of his friend becomes apparent. But for the time being, Mark is ready to embrace the opportunities of his present life more fully.

If you want to move beyond the paralysing forces of trauma, get in touch and book a free 45-minute check-in-session with Mattie now to find out how trauma-informed counselling can help you.