“Most people think we believe our experience. This is not true; we experience what we believe”
― Sandra Ingerman
In June 2021 we wrote about how to rescue yourself from past experiences. Echoes of unpleasant or painful experiences can contaminate everything that we do in the present moment leading to a repeat of negative patterns of behaviours that sabotage our future happiness.
There are varying degrees of trauma and each of us views our own experience in a unique way. What is traumatic to one person may seem totally manageable to another. This is because we each hold a unique view of the world and every individual viewpoint is valid.
When we have not emotionally processed our trauma, it continues to affect us in many ways. If it is too painful to address, we may bury it deeply with the psyche, after which it eventually manifests as physical symptoms such as pain, fatigue or dysfunction. Alternatively, we may find ourselves continuously reliving the scenario. This may be through repeated revisitation or by attracting similar situations via our thoughts, feelings and behaviours and ultimately via what we believe to be true about ourselves, for example:
I am inadequate
I am broken
I am not loveable
Bad things always happen to me
I am not good at protecting myself
I am always ill
People always pick on me
I always make bad decisions
People always let me down
I am unlucky
Remembering our unprocessed trauma can feel like looking at a scrap book of photographs and becoming sucked right back into the traumatic event itself, re-experiencing the emotions exactly as they were at the time of the event.
When we process the trauma, we can look at the photographs without becoming consumed by them. The gravity of the event may not be diminished but it loses its hold over us and we may even be able to see ourselves as stronger and wiser as a result of the experience even though it was not of our choosing.
‘Soul Retrieval’ is a healthy way to process trauma. The phrase ‘Soul Retrieval’ has its roots in Shamanic Practice.
Within some psychotherapeutic approaches and also the Shamanic approach to trauma recovery, we explore the idea that during the experience, a part of the Self is separated from the whole and left behind within the memory of the event. We become divorced from the part of us that is traumatised because we fled from the scene in fear. When we take this concept further, we can see how a vulnerable and frightened part of the Self might call us back to the memory of the event in the hope that we will rescue it and bring it to safety. When we undergo trauma recovery, we journey to the point where we lost that aspect of Self, and nurture it home ourselves.
There are many ways in which trauma recovery can be facilitated. Most of them the follow above principles of rescue and nurture.
For Self-help, we would like to remind you of the recapitulation tool for rescuing yourself from past experiences that we shared in our previous article: How to Rescue Yourself from Past Experiences (resilientpractice.co.uk)
You can also seek professional help with trauma recovery. This can be addressed with hypnotherapy, psychotherapy or Shamanic Healing. Chrissie’s practice is in West Yorkshire and offers face-to-face and online consultations. There will be many skilled practitioners in your area. Make sure you do your research and find something that resonates with you: Hypnotherapy and Psychotherapy (belllanephysiotherapy.co.uk) Shamanic Healing and Energy Therapy (belllanephysiotherapy.co.uk)
You also can seek to process unpleasant experiences as they happen rather than resist doing so out of fear or a belief that your feelings are not valid. That way you will reduce the risk of storing them in your body only to be expressed later as an unpleasant physical or psychological symptom. Here is how to do this: Processing Emotion with C.A.L.M. (resilientpractice.co.uk)
Do not struggle with trauma alone. If you are feeling low - talk to someone. There are many organisations out there that can offer support: Reasons to Live (resilientpractice.co.uk)
For more insights and a host of tools and techniques for exploring the Self and improving your
human experience see our book: