Over the past ten years, I’ve worked with thousands of clients suffering from trauma and a question that I’ve been constantly asked is, “I’ve been to trauma therapy before, but somehow my symptoms keep coming back. How do I get complete resolution?”
The answer is that you need a map that includes all of the territory that you must cross in order to heal, not just a small segment of the problem.
In Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, the form of trauma therapy that I practice, we have a comprehensive map that we use to describe how we process information that we experience in consciousness. This allows my clients to get the most out of their healing journey. The map has three levels of information: cognitive, emotional, and body levels of processing. Understanding each of these levels will help you see their importance in overcoming trauma.
Using a Map Helps You Understand the Territory
Let’s talk about the three levels and how each of them can help bring about complete healing.
The mental or cognitive processing level relates to your capacity to make decisions, reason and make meaning out of your experience. It’s what allows you to take stock of what’s going on within you and around you. It allows you to put thoughts together in a way that’s grounded in a realistic assessment of life and think things all the way through.
The emotional processing level is the level of your experience that gives you the possibility to feel and express a full range of feelings. Your feelings are what add color to the other levels of information, whether that relates to your thoughts or your sensations.
The third level is the body or sensorimotor processing level. This relates to your ability to process information through your body. So, let’s talk about some examples of how you might experience this third level. It can be see in things like your physical impulses to get out of the way of oncoming traffic. You might notice it through changes in your posture when you’re feeling bad about yourself. Or perhaps if you are in the forest and you hear a threatening sound, your body automatically orients in a way to try and help you figure out which direction the sound is coming from.
The thing about the body level of processing is that many of the action patterns your body uses are fixed in your nervous system. This includes things like the famous fight or flight response, which is outside of your conscious control. It’s these types of action patterns that can become dominant when we experience trauma. It’s our body’s way of trying to protect us.
Lasting Change Requires Mind, Heart and Body
The reason it’s important to know these three levels of processing is because clients get better results with trauma treatment when they make use of all three levels in order to heal. Traditional forms of trauma therapy often tended to overemphasize the cognitive level of information processing.
We now know that clients experience more complete resolution of trauma when they make use of all three levels. It only makes sense: the more aspects of your experience that you include, the more completely you will achieve your goals. You can get relief mentally, emotionally and physically. For instance, relief from negative thoughts, from distressing emotions like anxiety and depression and relief from physical symptoms, such as a racing heartbeat or physical pain.
Our being is kind of like an engine that needs to be able to run smoothly at each of these three levels of information. When you’ve experienced trauma, it can create hiccups, or maybe even massive tsunamis in your thoughts, feelings, and your body.
Don’t Suffer Alone
If you suffering from trauma and don’t have a therapist to walk you every step of the way to help you get free from the pain and fear of the past, let’s connect on the phone and see how I can help you create a peaceful, satisfying life much faster.
You can call me at the number below or leave me your name and email below.
Looking forward to speaking with you soon.
If you are interested in scheduling a free 30 minute consultation with me, click here.
For more information about Sensorimotor Psychotherapy for the treatment of trauma, click here.
To learn more about trauma therapy with me, click here.