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

When Good Resources Go Bad

  • Calm Place
    • Why We Don’t Encourage Other People in Calm/Safe Place
    • When Calm Place Without Someone Specific is Triggering
    • The Problems of Trying to “Borrow Good Memories from a Bad Developmental Era”
    • Calm Place Will Go Bad… And When It Does…
  • Some Completely Expected Reasons Why Resourcing May Go Bad
  • Resources Going Bad Are Rarely the Therapist “Fault”
  • Container as a Powerful Resource for Working with Complex Trauma
  • The Importance of Visualizing or Drawing from Somatic Memory
    • Drive Through Bank Teller as Helpful and Accessible Container
    • Building the Container Larger and Stronger than Needed
    • Photoshop Metaphor for Container
    • Don’t Test the Container with Real Trauma Containered in the Limbic Brain

Developing and Using Attachment Figures in Attachment Wounding

  • Problems Communicating Between/Connecting Parts Across the Lifespan
  • The AIP Model and Attachment Wounding
  • Judgements of the Child State in the “Adaptive Self”
  • When the Right Now Selves Isn’t Healthy Enough
  • The Whale Metaphor and Attachment Wounding
  • Attachment Wounds “Sound” Small, but they are Existentially Awful
  • Existential Loneliness
  • Attachment Figures are for the Child State in the Memory
  • Attachment Resources as a Very Powerful Pair of Scissors to Disconnect from the Whale
  • Creating an Attachment Resource
  • Client Obstacles to Creating an Attachment Resource
  • Putting the Attachment Figure in the Neighborhood
  • Attachment Figures are Not Identical to Actual People in Childhood
  • Borrowing Qualities
  • Keeping Difficult Stuff Out
  • Deciding on a Relational Slot
  • Adding Qualities to the Attachment Figures: Food, Presence, Nurture, Reading, Attending, Protection, Guidance
  • Expect that Grief May Appear When You Imagine Getting What Didn’t Happen
  • Using the Somatic Memory of Rocking One of Your Own Children or Grandchildren
  • Leveraging the Capacity to Imagine
  • Naming the Attachment Figure
  • Avoiding Relational Slots that are the Same Slot as an Abuser
  • How to Use an Attachment Resource Between Sessions
  • This is a Resource for Living, Not Just in Session
  • Assessing for Attachment Wounding
  • When You Can and Can’t Borrow Qualities from a Deceased Person

Complex Trauma Modifications Overview: Phases One – Four

This episode is a quick overview of some of the core skills that we will cover in more detail. When I suggest a modification to standard protocol, I try to explain the reasons for the modifications as clearly as possible.

Skills Covered:
  • Additional Questions to Consider in Phase One, Including Assessing for Complex Trauma
  • Conducting a Trauma Sensitive Phase One that Avoids a Detailed or Chronological Trauma Timeline
  • Starting the Process of Developing Attachment Resources for Attachment Wounding
  • Metaphor: Difference Between Walking Across Ohio and Riding in Bus Across Ohio
  • Metaphor: Don’t Tackle Mount Everest First with Clients With Complex Trauma
  • Events Have a Beginning, Middle, and End… Attachment Wounds are About Everything
  • Using the Videotape Approach with Complex Trauma