Interview with Dr Bessel Van der Kohl on healing trauma

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      This interview with Dr Bessel is packed with wisdom on healing from trauma and regaining both ownership of, knowing of and enjoyment of one’s own body, sensations and instincts.

      Here’s a wee snippet but I strongly recommend reading the whole thing and better still getting his book “The Body Keeps the Score”.

      “Our brains are meant to be in sync, and the big challenge often in traumatic stress is the question of how you create a brain that can be back in sync with other people. In order to do that, you need to first of all notice yourself. As long as you don’t notice yourself, you are like a chicken with his head cut off. You just run around like an automatic animal that responds and gets enraged. But when you know what’s going on with you, you start to get some choices like “Maybe I should not react to this” or “Maybe I should not touch her.” You need to have a quiet mind in order to get ownership of yourself, and therefore the cultivation of mindfulness and self-observance is absolutely critical. This is easier done if there is somebody out there who could help you with it. Someone who can see you, who can notice what goes on with you, who can help you to name things, who can help you say, “This is what’s happening to me.” You don’t need someone to name how screwed up you are, how you need to be fixed. You need to just notice yourself, just notice, just notice without judgment.

      The latest piece of research that came out after my book was finished is that the issue is not mindfulness alone, it’s rather mindfulness with self-compassion. See that angry part of yourself and acknowledge what that anger has done for you to survive. See that the anger has been a way of managing yourself. Thank that anger for having helped you. Then say to that anger, “Can you please step back a little bit so I can be back in charge of myself?” It is compassionately negotiating those inner parts of you.

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