Understanding “Deep Breathing Doesn’t Work for Me” and Other Problems of Resourcing with Complex Trauma

“Deep Breathing Doesn’t Work for Me”
  • Understanding that Pervasively Traumatized Nervous Systems are Different than Non-Traumatized Nervous Systems
  • Don’t Tell Clients What they Will or Should Feel in Resourcing, Think of it as an Opportunity to Get Helpful Information
  • Car with a Cinder Block on the Gas Petal Metaphor
  • Pairing Body Scan and Resources
  • The Importance of Asking Permission and How Long Resource will Last
  • Modeling a Single Breath and Using that Information Select a Breath that May be More Tolerable
  • With Some Clients, the Goal is to Find a Resource that Isn’t Actively Triggering
  • Using Body Scans without Much of an Agenda
  • Understanding What a Resource “Working” Looks Like… If it Calms You, It May Only Calm You for a Moment
  • Noticing the Body is Also a Crucial Phase Two Resource
  • Body Scanning is a Good Strategy to Promote Embodiment, So Clients Can be Imbodied Enough to Notice
  • Homework: Practice Resources During the Times of the Day When Anxiety Isn’t Going Straight Up, Noticing the Layer Below is a Good Way to Lower Baseline Anxiety in the Short Term and Prepare for Reprocessing

Understanding the AIP Model: The Whale Metaphor and the Mount Everest Metaphor

The AIP Model

  • The Difficult Stuff Connects to Right Now/Existing Adaptive Information
  • Enough Adaptive Information Must Be Present
  • You Can’t Easily Connect Maladaptive Information to Maladaptive Information
  • What’s Complex About Complex Trauma Related to the AIP Model?
    • A Different Way of Thinking About Complex Trauma
    • Mountain Ranges of Adaptive Information vs Mountain Ranges of Maladaptive Information

The Mount Everest Metaphor

  • You Cannot Metabolize a Trauma the Size of Mount Everest into Adaptive Information the Size of a Walnut—You Can’t
  • Where to Start with Complex Trauma?
    • Where Not to Start
    • Types of Targets that Make Good Early Targets with Complex Trauma

The Whale Metaphor

  • What are the Whales?
  • What is the Size of the Client’s Boat?
  • You Cannot Land a Whale into a Canoe
  • Helping the Client Build a Bigger Boat
  • What Clients Learn when Working with “Smaller” Wounds First
    • Test the Gear
    • Learn How to Notice Effectively
    • They Learn that the Can Heal
    • Healing Builds Adaptive Information/Makes the Boat Bigger
  • If the Client in a Canoe Connects to a Whale we Need a Strong Pair of Scissors to Safely Disconnect

Intro to “Dip Your Toe In” Metaphor

Dip Your Toe In Metaphor

  • Understanding Traumatized Nervous Systems
    • Bodies Can be Triggering
    • Inside Can be Triggering
    • Noticing Can be Triggering
    • Calming or Slowing Down Can be Triggering
    • Paying Attention to the Body Before an Audience Can be Triggering
    • Performance Anxiety Related to All of This Can be Triggering
    • Resistance Not a Useful Concept
  • Dip Your Toe In Provides Needed Information
  • Beware Agendas
    • Beware Informing Clients What the Should Feel or What Mindfulness Will Do
    • Therapist Agendas: Back to How we Teach Mindfulness, and the Cinderblock on the Gas Pedal
    • Many Clients with Complex Trauma Believe that they have Failed Trauma (and are about to Fail EMDR Therapy)
    • Aspirin for a Headache Metaphor