Tuesday, January 8
A conference at Royal La Rasante with Gerald Brassine, founder of the Milton Erickson Institute of Belgium.
Trauma can be violent and accidental or be the result of a series of humiliations over time. The impact of either can be equally significant. The result is emotional scarring with negative connotations that affect a person's daily life.
People are often staggered, tetanized and paralyzed when they experience a particularly sudden and violent shock. They always feel guilty, either because they were there, or because they didn't react. In general, the conscious mind continues to function normally. The person continues to think normally and wants to move but can't. The reptilian mind takes over and controls and blocks all voluntary movement. This creates enormous negative stress (inability to unload the enormous machinery automatically engaged to respond, or rather, to react by acting).
How can this paralysis be explained given that the nervous system is equipped with a highly effective flight or fight mechanism? When the shock is too great, and unexpected, it seems that another issue, an escape route, is automatically activated to counter this type of extreme situation. This is total inaction. It seems that "Evolution" has decided that inaction can be more effective than action when a shock is too great. This behavior is found in animals who "play possum" in similar situations.
The good news though is that a single command can break the state of paralysis: screaming "Move!" to oneself. If the thought is possible, it can re-engage the fight/flight mechanism.
People who are victims of trauma can experience acute pain and nightmares. They sometimes prefer to mutilate themselves to create sensations that bring them back into the present and create the self-punishment mechanism that seems to be required to aknowledge what has happened... For example, some trauma victims mutilate themselves to replace a phantom caress whose memory has become unbearable.
A whole range of psychosomatic illnesses (asthma, polyarthritis, headaches, insomnia, depression, inflammatory problems in the genitals or rectum, memory loss, etc.) are common with emotional trauma and they reinforce the idea that the body and the (emotional) brain are one.
The idea which states that the discovery, understanding, and verbalization of emotional trauma is the best solution for digesting it is completely mistaken and can even lead to its strengthening.
The technique used by Gerald Brassine is a combination of brief incursions into the past and the modification of traumatic images to replace them with new, less dramatic or even humorous ones within a process of symbolic reframing. Gerald makes jazz...! He improvises on the images and feelings expressed and replaces them with other, more pleasant ones, or with ones that have no meaning.
The idea is to close in on the "dragon" by stealth in an emotional setting that is as comfortable as possible while moving in the same direction as the resistance the patient sometimes creates for themself to avoid contemplating the full extent of their suffering.
This "zapping" technique brings other, pleasant situations, which the patient has experienced under other circumstances to the painful zone by mixing information about the problem experienced with other experiences that have only pleasant associations. Trauma is gradually completely erased over several sessions using a technique based on 25 years of experience.
Tools like EMDR, PTR, Somatic Experiencing, etc., which are complementary to reprocessing base data, can be used depending on the personalities involved. All seek the same result, that is, to stimulate feelings in the present moment. They reprogram traumatic information truncated by the emotional zones of the period at which the accident occurred with new, positively charged, or different emotional information. These are reintegrated into the feelings of the present moment. It seems that the space available in a patient's consciousness operates a little like that available on a hard drive. When the space is overwritten, the old data are erased and automatically replaced with the new ones.This is a subtle and effective technique that takes into account the inner workings of the conscious and subconscious minds.
Interview by Stéphane Dumonceau-Krsmanovic
For more information contact Gerald Brassine at: firstname.lastname@example.org
A short introduction to the treatment of traumas and pychosomatic illnesses:
Psychological trauma is usually contracted in an instant but its effects are devastating and can last forever.
States of post-traumatic stress can result from sudden shocks and from minor repeated agression over a period of time.
Psychological trauma is most often associated with the idea of violent and sudden aggression: car accidents, attacks, rape, muggings...
But to this long list of causes must be added all "bad news" in general such as hearing that a close relative has died or is suffering from a serious illness, or that a pregnancy has to be aborted... We note the frequency of trauma that results from abortions, miscarriages, and other "problems" or accidents that can occur in the delivery room.
Less obvious and therefore more insidious is trauma that is contracted little by little, like a "Chinese water torture". This includes living with someone who constantly raises the possibility of separation or who constantly treats their partner in a degrading way..."harassment" is the perfect equivalent in the work place.
The symptoms of trauma are numerous and cumulative. They can add up in the same person. Among the most common symptoms are phobias, depression, low self-esteem, dissociation, nightmares, flashbacks, and psychosomatic illnesses.
Talking is usually helpful, but talking about trauma and its side-effects exacerbates it. This is really not recommended!
Traditional therapies that primarily use language rarely overcome trauma. In too many cases, this type of therapy can even be harmful and aggravate problems. For example, psychosomatic illnesses will tend to be amplified.
It is essential to remember that since the trauma was contracted in a state of altered consciousness another altered state of consciousness will be required to "unwrite" what has was printed on what I metaphorically call "memory's photosensitive plates".
A number of psychotherapies have existed for about twenty years now (Conversational Hypnosis, Descopem, EMDR, Cognitivism, PTR and the use of dissociative states, etc..). These usually get trauma and their symptoms under control fairly quickly (of which psychosomatic illnesses are the not the least among them).
Gerald Brassine is a psychotherapist and trainer. He founded the Milton Erickson Institute of Belgiqum after studying brief and clinical hypnosis therapies in the United States. He later specialized in the treatment of trauma through the study and use of various therapeutic tools known to be effective in the field. He will speak about the current trauma treatment methods used and will illustrate his presentation with a number of case studies.
He will also speak about possibilities for quick and effective treatment, either through individual consultation or in group therapy. Under his direct supervision, participants learn new techniques to deal with their trauma by applying them to each other.
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