What the Somatic and Trauma Fields are Missing

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In the somatic, trauma and nervous system regulation field, practitioners are taught that fight, flight and freeze are the three fundamental, hardwired human stress responses. Fight and flight are sympathetic and movement-oriented, self-protective motor programs designed to do things and get us places. Parasympathetic freeze causes stillness, hiding, waiting, disappearing, contracting, dissociating and collapsing.

A UCLA study by Taylor, et al, published in 2000 by the American Psychological Association, argues for an additional stress response, called “tend-and-befriend.” The authors “propose this theory as a biobehavioral alternative to the fight-or-flight response…which has dominated…


How Dropping Beliefs Has Connected Me More

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For many years, I was obsessed with spirituality, and for many years, I was a devoted Buddhist in a Mahayana tradition. This path taught and grew me tremendously, but it was also fully entangled with a belief I had that there was something fundamentally wrong with myself and the world. It was inextricably linked with my developmental trauma and my (anxious) attachment style. Shout out to Buddhism for being perhaps the least fundamentalist religion around, and to the axiom: “Buddhism is a system of methods, not truths.”

I concede that there may be…


Support in Switching Gears

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This is an empowerment note for those stuck in low-to-medium chronic distress.

A nervous system-based boop in a new direction… for the fridge-riding, doom-scrolling, cannabis-smoking, drinking a bit extra-ing, tv-binging, over-exercising, drama-seeking, workaholic, stressing lot of us.

In the OI model, we think of the nervous system as adversely impacted by three mechanisms/tendencies/patterns, that happen autonomically and in the moment:

  • Too much inhibition
  • Too little inhibition
  • Incomplete rest period

These refer to physical patterns that maintain a nervous system’s state. They keep us stable, and they help us avoid further traumatization. However, they also maintain the status quo, which can…


How to Get Going, for Chronic Freezers

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Momentum is defined as “the quantity of motion of a moving body.”

Ugh! It’s that whole, “in order to feel better you need to exercise, but in order to will yourself to exercise, you need to feel better” scenario. If you aren’t familiar with the freeze response, you may want to read about it here before moving on. If you have never been depressed and do not relate to the first sentence (“Buck up! I exercise when I don’t feel like it all the time!”), I don’t think this piece will serve you.


What is the freeze response, and how might we relate to it and ourselves during the highly stressful experience of global pandemic

Just a note: “Somatic” means “of the body”, and in this case refers broadly to study, practice and guidance towards embodiment, trauma resolution, nervous system resiliency, and trauma-safe mindfulness. There are somatically-oriented coaches and counselors, therapists and bodyworkers, and professionals from many fields (medicine, activism, spirituality, midwifery) who train in somatics to add another dimension to their work.

In somatic practice, we track cycles of arousal and “dearousal” in the nervous system. Think of a sine wave! Activation…

Maggie Truelove, SEP

Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, Coach in trauma-safe mindfulness, Organic Intelligence. Feminism, healing, creativity. www.maggietruelove.com

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