A client once said she had been frustrated at times in therapy because she expected to come in and just ‘rip open all my trauma’. Of course that is understandable when someone has been coping with symptoms of trauma such as hyper-vigilance, intrusive thoughts, and deep buried shame for a long time. The problem with that way of thinking is that in order to truly heal, we need to change the paradigm completely. We need to slow down a bit. I don’t mean to say that therapy should last a lifetime either, but when working with fragmented parts of ourselves and a highjacked nervous system, titration is key.
In working with the mind & body from a trauma-focused, holistic approach, the way in which we approach the ‘problem’ is in fact a big part of the recovery process. We titrate, or work with pieces of memories or issues. We dip our toes in, we don’t jump in and become flooded with emotion and sensation. We get to know our minds, explore our bodily sensations, and feel our emotions. We take care of ourselves through the process, using self-care when we need nurturance, grit when we need courage to step into the vulnerability. Sometimes we are embodying ourselves for the first time. We are learning to find safe oasis’s in our bodies so that we can anchor there. We go into our pain and then we call on our resources, the aspects of ourselves that strengthen us, or the places and people in our lives that give us hope and peace. We use coping skills that nourish, we learn to be with both pain and calm. This is a gentle process and we learn to treat ourselves with a tenderness that we may never have received before.
Pacing is everything because this is how we must now be towards ourselves. We must learn to listen, honor all of the parts of us, meet our needs and do so maybe for the first time. Life is full of pain & suffering and self-compassion and kindness is the antidote. Slowing down and pacing our recovery will get us there.