Friday, 12 September 2014

Polyvagal theory and Trauma formation. How unresolved emotion can cause the freeze response

Am currently finalising my presentation for the Chrysalis Effect Practitioner Forum on Monday evening; my presentation is on Trauma formation and the Freeze Response (based on the work of Peter Levine) which I see as key to why people get stuck with conditions such as chronic pain and fatigue, CFS, ME, etc. I will be outlining:

*Role of the subconscious (limbic system) in dictating behaviour. The evolutionary triune brain.

*Trauma and unresolved emotion as 'landscapers' of the brain via the limbic system

*Beyond fight and flight; Polyvagal theory and the freeze response*

*Solutions to unlocking the freeze response; the psychosensory therapies; EFT, EMDR and havening

*POTS – Postural Tachycardia Syndrome - a red herring?

The event will be recorded so will be available on my website as soon as I have it. I will be sending out a newsletter with the link to my mailing list - subscribe now for my free e-book while you wait!
And if you want to know what you can do about this then see my other blogs on EMDR
and EFT.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

A letter to Jenni Murray (BBC presenter of Woman's Hour)

Dear Jenni

I read in the Daily Mail that you have decided to have a gastric band fitted to combat the weight gain you have incurred over many years and which now threatens your health. Notwithstanding all the vitriol that you have received for this decision (motivated in part by fear of other women that if you can't manage it without surgery what hope for them?) But I was just saddened. That you have been forced down this road by well-meaning doctors and surgeons who claim it will cut your risk of diabetes, heart disease and the like. Well, in the short term that maybe true but no-one knows the long term risks of these procedures.. The surgery is going to have major implications for your health as you will no longer be able to absorb nutrients like you used to. This could increase your risk for cancer and other immune problems.

But the point of my letter is not to pour scorn on your decision but to tell you that there is another way that you haven't considered (at least not from your article anyway). You talked about having tried all the diets out there and they haven't worked. Of course not. Very few people manage to keep the weight off that way and in any case it requires constant vigilance and willpower. Wouldn't it be great if you could 'eat normally' and still lose weight? Well if you approach the psychological drivers of weight gain and treat them, you would be able to. Most people don't appreciate the huge part that subconscious processes play in our behaviour as they are, well, so unconscious. We eat to assuage a deep longing/need - for comfort, for protection, for freedom from boredom or because it's a quick fix that makes us feel temporarily better.  Our psyche tell us we are 'not right/good enough/loveable and we eat to contain that uncomfortable feeling. What I am talking about here is the role of emotions in unconscious eating. We all suffer from this to some degree but, depending on your background, and experiences when growing up, some of us have a more faulty self-image which no amount of diets or surgery is ever going to cure.

So, if the problem isn't 'physical' then why should the solution be? You need to look at using one of the new techniques that are just being developed under the term 'energy psychology'. In fact what they are is using electrical stimulation to change the neural programming in the emotional brain (limbic system). The one I would particularly recommend for eating problems is EFT or Emotional Freedom Technique. A book I would suggest to get you started would be 'Tapping for Weight loss' by Jessica Ortner who has used the technique herself to rid over 3 stone - without diets or restriction. and the benefits go beyond weight loss - they affect every part of your self-image so increasing your self-esteem and healing many old wounds and erroneous beliefs about yourself.

I don't know your story Jenni, but I know most of us have childhood trauma of one sort or another. Although we think we have 'dealt with it' we find that in fact it exists as a deeply embedded memory and belief structure that continues to affect us today. With a skilled therapist to augment the book you may be able to uncover these and deal with them but even without paying more than the cost of the book you can get great results. And it will certainly be cheaper and less dangerous than the surgery you are contemplating. I know that this is the best method I've ever come across - second only to hypnotherapy which also deals with subconscious process -  check out the hypno gastric band - that's another potential solution where you make your body self-limit it's own intake with feelings of fullness but without the surgery.. This is a subconscious problem and it needs a subconscious solution.

One day medicine will be unified- it will stop seeing things in terms of physical vs. mental and realise we are mind and body and one affects the other in profound ways. We will stop looking for the magic bullet of chemical medicine and look to supporting the body's innate healing powers instead. I hope that this new medicine will use some of the advances in modern medicine but doing so in a more intelligent, integrated way with knowledge from psychology and spirituality. These aren't flaky ideas. They are being proven  time and time again in myriad ways in labs and therapy clinics across the world. Don't be persuaded to give up your body to the knife until you've explored this. If I could intervene for you I would, but perhaps that's best left to you. I have learnt through hard experience that trying to persuade someone before they are ready is pointless. I just hope I'm not too late.

Best wishes
Patricia Worby

p.s orginal Daily Mail article is here