• Gemma McCabe

Ice Preserves....



Trauma can often feel like you are frozen. Unable to move. Unable to move forward. Unable to heal. The felt sense of trauma can often be cold, shivers, ice, numbness, nothingness. Or having no sensation whatsoever. Our eyes can look frozen in time, as we tell our story, of how the trauma occurred. As if our eyes are transported back to the shock of the event or time. We can look frozen after we have been traumatised. We behave frozen, not really flowing or free. Suspended.


In therapy, as we circle in on our trauma that has been held in the body, stored in the body, we can notice this frozen experience. Not always experienced as this, it can often be experienced as numbness and nothingness too. But I always notice the frozen look, the frozen body. As we progress in therapy, feeling safe and held, the presence of our focus and compassion, and of the Therapist's focus and compassion help to release the ice, and allow the person inside to become free.


It can often feel like a small child who is inside the frozen moment. Or a teenager. And if we have been traumatised as an adult, our younger adult self lies in wait. Silently waiting to be discovered and freed, within the ice.


We now know as Therapists that talking alone, is not sufficient to melt the ice. To release the trauma energy form the body. It is done, artfully, through a combination of focus, body movement and feeling into the body deeply, as the body releases the P.T.S.D hold. It always seems to happen in waves. A wave of release. Then a pause. Another wave of release. Another pause. Our bodies release the frozen trauma gently, as we feel into it and breathe. The ice melts.


Yoga, Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi (and of course Psychotherapy) have been shown to help greatly in the release of PTSD. I think the combination of movement, and deep focus needed, is what is happening in these art forms, that make them so effective at integrating PTSD. Also proven helpful is the meditation Yoga Nidra, as it turns off the Trauma response, as we heal.


But what is so interesting, is what is discovered inside the ice. A fully preserved person. The ice preserved. When we are done thawing and integrating and done releasing the frozen body, the part of us, or all of us, is there waiting. Perfectly intact. This always excites me in my work, and is why I love my job so much. How epic it is, to know, that, no matter what we go through, we are there, somewhere, perfectly intact. Waiting to live. Ready to fly.


We can be terrified to tackle our trauma. We believe it is 'who' we are. Unfixable. Sure how could talking help what we went through. And yes, words are extremely limited. They have their place though. How intimate and beautiful to share with another, our most private and delicate moments, frozen somewhere inside of us. Frozen in pain. In fear. How absolutely beautiful to share this. It's like bringing that trusted other into our moment, and letting them experience it with us. The deep compassion, love and focus of the therapist, transforms our past memory. Like somehow the memory is changed now, because of the witnessing of the therapist of our trauma. Add in the thawing effects of the PTSD release form our frozen body, and well, we are like new. Re-born. Back. Ready to start over.


So if you are terrified of tackling your trauma, or if you feel the 'old you' stands no chance of return, long since dead and buried, know that inside your frozen pain, lies a perfectly preserved you. Waiting.

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