Fortunately, HSPs have a number of resources we can turn to for relief from subtle trauma. Here are six of them.
Many sensitive people experience subtle trauma. If you’ve recognized it in yourself, what is the next step? This is territory that can be very intimidating, like standing on the edge of a cliff peering down into the foggy unknown.
To help you sense your “right next step,” I’ve made a 12-minute video in which I share my personal experiences with six trauma-treatment modalities. With the exception of Focusing, I don’t have a professional affiliation with any of these: I’m sharing them with you as a fellow consumer.
I recommend you watch the video first, then use the links below to research any of these six options that resonate with you:
1. EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) was developed by Gary Craig. It uses tapping on acupuncture points of the body to release intense emotions and energy in the moment. You can do it by yourself.
2. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) was developed by Francine Shapiro and is now a mainstream treatment for trauma, practiced by many therapists. The two sides of the brain are stimulated alternately to help release trauma from the body.
3. Somatic Experiencing (SE), was developed by Dr. Peter Levine. It is described as “a body-oriented approach to the healing of trauma and other stress disorders” that “releases traumatic shock, which is key to transforming PTSD and and the wounds of emotional and early developmental attachment trauma.”
4. Associative Awareness Techniques (AAT) “teaches your brain to be less physically reactive to stress.” The work is done 1:1. The technique I’ve experienced is called Reflex Relaxation and is part of AAT Level 1. If there is no practitioner in your area, the website has DVD’s you can purchase if you have a partner or friend willing to learn the technique in order to practice it on you. (I haven’t seen the video so I can’t vouch for it personally.)
5. Emotionally Focused Therapy (the “other EFT”) is the model of couples therapy developed by Dr. Sue Johnson and widely publicized in her book, Hold Me Tight. Based on the study of adult attachment, EFT is backed up by substantial research which has shown that “70 to 75% of couples move from distress to recovery and 90% show significant improvements,” including couples suffering from PTSD, depression, and chronic illness. These figures outstrip any other couples therapy modality by a wide margin. Having personally experienced other less effective methods, I have a great appreciation for the difference.
6. Focusing can be a very effective intervention for subtle trauma if you are able to retain enough presence to stay with the traumatized part of you. Click here to read a striking story about how I used focusing to stay present with and successfully work through the strong panic reaction triggered by an MRI machine.
Note: As of 2020, I’ve added a seventh modality for trauma relief: coherent breathing. In fact, I would put this at the top of my recommended list, because it is virtually free to learn, and powerfully effective, and safe. A regular practice of coherent breathing helps re-balance your nervous system over time, giving you relief from the symptoms of chronic hypervigilance. For a detailed description of the benefits of coherent breathing and instructions how to do it, click here.
*Thanks to Kaitlyn (email@example.com) for another great photo.