When it comes to healing trauma, psychology isn’t unimportant, however, when we work with a body-up approach, we can reset the overactive triggers in our threat detection systems. When the body is calm and we’ve quieted its protective reflexes, we can make more space to talk.
Traumatic events, as well as the stresses of our day-to-day lives, have a powerful physiological impact. Our bodies can get stuck in protective, survival gestures; we speed up to survive, we fight or we flee, we collapse, disappear or dissociate.
When these old parts of our nervous system are stuck in these survival gestures, we don’t think clearly, emote clearly, or remember clearly.
Soothing our inner guard dog
We all have an inner guard dog, and when our guard dog is activated it either barks all the time or cowers in the shed. It’s very hard to talk to this inner guard dog – it likes to run, jump, fight or shut down. Having a long conversation with your guard dog won’t do much good!
However, you can train your inner guard dog, stroke your guard dog, and nourish your guard dog, so that instead of barking or cowering in the shed, it can play with the kids and only bark in the middle of the night if it needs too.
When we’re in ‘guard dog’ mode, we get stuck in the quick, primitive reflexes that are underneath our cognitive abilities – we can’t think clearly.
When this happens, we need to help our physiology shift out of its stuck, protective reflexes first.
This is an amazing thing to offer to people in trauma.
Instead of talking about the trauma, the essential thing is helping our bodies to feel free in the present moment and find safety in the present moment.
We’ve worked with a lot of people all over the world – over 2 million people have tried TRE in the last 15-20 years. Some people with incredibly complex developmental trauma, many people who have been in war zones, or who have been attacked. We’re confident that it’s a tool that can be used even with complex and difficult needs.
For many people, not having to talk about their trauma, being relatively anonymous in a group setting and doing something that’s purely about finding agency and strength in your body is key to working with trauma in a positive and generative way.
What is TRE?
TRE is a set of seven exercises created by Dr David Bercelli that set up a natural shaking reflex. Shaking is an old, ancient reflex in our nervous system. When the shaking happens it releases tension from the body and generates new signals of joy and connection.
David Bercelli has an amazing line: “You don’t need to understand and you don’t need to remember”.
When a dog shakes after a thunderstorm or fireworks, it is releasing all the adrenalin, and muscle tension that was part of the fear response, in a natural, spontaneous way.
Humans have the same response, and when we cultivate it, shaking leads our body to let go of old patterns that are stuck in our physiology. It helps us find connection, wake things up that have been hidden inside us, and supports us to let go of protective patterns that we don’t need anymore.
Release tension, wake your body up, find more joy and connection
The essence of TRE is shaking to release tension, and shaking to wake our body up. In our trainings, I’ll teach you a simple set of ritual exercises, and guide you to start a natural, involuntary shaking reflex. I’ll teach you how to turn on the shaking and how to turn it off the shaking.
If you’d like to join me for one of my upcoming TRE intro days, or trainings, you can find out more or register here.
Want to learn a simple, self-help tool for tension and trauma? Try TRE
TRE IN-PERSON Certification Training: *New dates*
Module 1: 23-24 April, London
Module 2: 25-26 June, London
Module 3: 17-18 Sep, London
TRE ONLINE Certification Training:
Module 1 Online: 21-22 June
Module 2 Online: 29-30 March