Trauma has become a much more talked about and studied subject in recent years resulting in more light being shed on our personal and collective traumas while simultaneously giving us more tools to navigate them. Where trauma is less an event and more about the human reaction to something significantly stressful, it is important to realize that trauma is highly personal and relevant to each individual. Where one person may go through significant and horrific loss and tragedy while be only lightly affected, another person may have an experience, that looks and feels to most of us as a mildly stressful, and be affected so highly they feel as if they will come undone at the seams. Trauma can be the reactions to something BIG, we call those ‘big T’s’, and they can also be a series of small events that erode us over time, we call those ‘little t’s’. One thing is for certain whether we are experiencing a 'big T' or a 'little t', the reaction from stress and distress is a primal impulse that we cannot voluntarily control, it is the reaction of our nervous system. Our nervous system is smart! It senses danger, be it physical, emotional, or psychological, and it figures out a way to get us safe. Our nervous system reactions might provide us the mobility to run and flee, fight, or stand up for ourselves. And when we can’t do any of those, the nervous system finds a path for getting still, small, or quiet and “erasing” ourselves from the situation. These are all involuntary biological instincts of the human body in place to manage danger and distress.
Where our reactions to trauma are healthy and necessary in the moment of danger, the challenges come when our bodies and minds become stuck in these reactions and reads smaller stressors as big dangers. This might look like startling readily at loud noises, shutting down verbally when in a disagreement, or becoming combative or argumentative quickly and easily. Constantly feeling trapped in residual trauma reactions in our daily lives is exhausting, challenging and straining on our relationships with ourselves and our loved ones.
Trauma-resolution is not achieved by simply talking about the horrific incidences or loss, rather the path to unraveling trauma is through the body. The body is where these nervous system patterns are housed and when we work with the body gently guiding it back to a more settled nervous system state we start to build renewed resiliency.
Michelle works primarily with complex trauma (repeated traumas over a lifetime) that include traumas from childhood, developmental traumas, and relational trauma. Michelle is also able to work with incidental trauma such as single event traumas like a car accident, fall, surgery, natural disaster, etc. Michelle’s guidance and training in working with trauma has been informed by her studies in her Master’s program focused on Somatic-based Counseling Psychology, Somatic Experiencing Training at the Advanced Level, and Trauma-Informed Yoga training for use of yoga in supporting clinical trauma-resolution protocols.
Trauma is a fact of life, it does not however, have to be a life sentence.
–Dr. Peter Levine, Founder and Developer of Somatic Experiencing