In working with you we develop an individual treatment plan based upon your particular needs. What follows are brief explanations of the various methods we use to help you recover from the loss of your original self and to return to a sense of well being.
Tension and Trauma Release Exercises
The human body possesses an organic ability to heal. TRE® (most commonly known as Trauma Release Exercise) is an innovative series of positions that assist the body in releasing deep muscular patterns of stress, tension and trauma. Created by Dr. David Berceli, PhD, TRE® safely activates a natural reflex mechanism of shaking or vibrating that releases muscular tension, calming down the nervous system. When this muscular shaking/vibrating mechanism is activated in a safe and controlled environment, the body is encouraged to return back to a state of balance.
TRE® is based on the fundamental idea, backed by recent research, that stress, tension, and trauma is both psychological and physical. TRE®’s reflexive muscle vibrations generally feel pleasant and soothing. After doing TRE®, many people report feelings of peace and well-being.
TRE® emerged out of Dr. David Berceli’s work with large traumatized communities while living in Africa and the Middle East. His observation and exploration led him to understand that this natural shaking/vibrating response appears to be the body’s own built-in system for quieting down the brain and releasing muscular tension as a way of healing itself from chronic stress, tension, and trauma.
TRE is a revolutionary, body based approach that deliberately uses the body’s own innate process of involuntary shaking and tremoring in a safe and controlled way to physically release the effects of chronic stress and unresolved trauma including PTSD.
As the process uses a series of simple exercises to invoke tremors that are then able to be self-regulated; it does not require talking about or recalling past events and does not require the ongoing assistance of a therapist for the vast majority of people; meaning the process can be used on your own on an ongoing basis to support and enhance other approaches.
Benefits of TRE® Include:
- Relief of ongoing stress or tension
- Pain relief
- Release of emotional or physical trauma
- Promotes overall sense of calm and relaxation
- Increased flexibility
- Improved circulation
- Levity, laughter, joy in your body
Robert Espiau is certified in TRE through TRE International.
Brainspotting is a powerful, focused treatment method that works by identifying, processing and releasing core neurophysiological sources of emotional/body pain, trauma, dissociation and a variety of other challenging symptoms. Brainspotting is a simultaneous form of diagnosis and treatment, enhanced with Biolateral sound, which is deep, direct, and powerful yet focused and containing.
Brainspotting functions as a neurobiological tool to support the clinical healing relationship. There is no replacement for a mature, nurturing therapeutic presence and the ability to engage another suffering human in a safe and trusting relationship where they feel heard, accepted, and understood.
Brainspotting gives us a tool, within this clinical relationship, to neurobiologically locate, focus, process, and release experiences and symptoms that are typically out of reach of the conscious mind and its cognitive and language capacity.
Brainspotting works with the deep brain and the body through its direct access to the autonomic and limbic systems within the body’s central nervous system. Brainspotting is accordingly a physiological tool/treatment which has profound psychological, emotional, and physical consequences.
It is theorized that Brainspotting taps into and harnesses the body’s innate self-scanning capacity to process and release focused areas (systems) which are in a maladaptive homeostasis (frozen primitive survival modes). This may also explain the ability of Brainspotting to often reduce and eliminate body pain and tension associated with physical conditions.
Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy
Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy has over 25 years of research. The EFT program has systematically covered all the factors set out in optimal models of psychotherapy research. Couples therapy is considered by most therapists to be the most difficult form of all therapeutic processes as it requires being involved in both the intimacy and conflicts in the relationship.
EFT is a proven method that helps relationships to reconnect not focusing on the language and resolving conflicts, but rather through building on the strengths in the relationship. The therapy session is seen as a healing place where a corrective emotional experience between partners happens, and it is that process that is the method of therapeutic change. In EFT couples counseling we seek to empower the partners to find a new way of communicating with each other.
Acceptance and Comittment Therapy
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a type of psychotherapy based upon a method called mindfulness. Mindfulness is a method that helps one to separate ones awareness from critical and anxious thought patterns.
Mindfulness is a non-critical state of self-observation.; where you are observing yourself without judging or condemning what you see in yourself.
Mindfulness is simultaneously a state of concentration. You cannot be in a state of mindfulness without some effort of concentration being present.
In ACT, Mindfulness and Meditation are methods that help you accept the difficulties that come with life. One learns how to actively pay attention to one’s inner state and strives to observe moods rather than be controlled by them. This method has proven to be highly effective against chronic depression and hopelessness.
ACT, as a practical method, focuses on helping someone in 3 areas:
Accept your reactions and be present
Choose a valued direction
CIMBS- Complex Integration of Multiple Brain Systems
CIMBS stands for, “Complex Integration of Multiple Brain Systems”. CIMBS is a both a somatic and mindfulness based therapy that helps one to better tolerate and serenely be with emotions. Our brain has many complex Brain Systems (vision, hearing, coordination, the autonomic nervous system, etc). These systems enable us to live and grow in a wide variety of circumstances. In addition, there are other Brain Systems that utilize the energy and wisdom of our emotions, direct our motivations, protect us from danger and build close nourishing relationships.
CIMBS is a unique, experiential method that uses targeted therapeutic interventions to modulate the suppression, differentiation and/or activation of the different Brain Systems that have been wired together in a person’s brain by early developmental experiences or traumas.
CIMBS maximizes the mind’s ability to modify the brain’s structure known as neuroplasticity.
This approach initially focuses on gathering evidence about how the patient/client’s Brain Systems are operating in the present moment, in real time.
The next priorities are:
- Assess attachment relationship patterns
- Access, activate and differentiate the Multiple Brain Systems
- Notice and reinforce positive feelings, strengths and new adaptive neuropathways
- Shift the internal balance from avoidance to approach
- Provide ongoing successful present moment experiential learning.
CIMBS is a compassionate, fast and effective psychotherapy because the process of activation and differentiation of Multiple Brain Systems enables the client to come to a new Integration of more Complex and flexible mental functioning. This leads to a new trajectory of growth and adaptive functioning where the client achieves their best potential for the present, and freedom to continue maximizing further development in the future.
CIMBS has been shown to work very effectively with Anxiety, Attachment trauma, Religious trauma, dissociative disorders, depression and shame reduction.
Focusing - A Mindfulness Based Somatic Therapy
If we could solve our problems just by thinking about them most of us would be problem-free since we often find ourselves obsessing about them. Focusing is a body-based practice that teaches how to mindfully attend to the knowledge found in your body and relate it to your mind. This significant information is often not accessed by most of us. Focusing is initially done best in relationship with a therapist guiding the practice. However, since the wisdom is from within your own body, the process can be learned as a tool to use by yourself. Focusing relies on the understanding that your body is continually sending you information about your life. Most of us often do not know how to listen to this information or make sense of it. By listening to what is called the “felt sense” and using the practices that help communicate with it, you can gain vital information that was previously unknown to the mind about problems and difficulties you are facing.
- Clearing a space
- Felt Sense
Utilizing these steps becomes more fluid as practiced in therapy and insights begin to emerge, not through the intellectual way we usually seek them. This process can help find the keys to overcome the obstacles that we find ourselves stuck in.
Samatha and Vipassana Meditation
Meditation has become a popular method these days in order to help calm the nervous system and develop concentration. While most of the practitioners at Seattle Trauma Counseling utilize mindfulness practices in our methods, Robert Espiau offers a unique perspective on Meditation much deeper than can be found in your average American yoga studio. Robert has been teaching traditional forms of meditation for over 30 years and offers a more in-depth training for those who are interested in entering into deep states of serenity.
Samatha and Vipassana meditation are two distinct forms of meditation practice that date back at least 2500 years. They were taught by the 1st Buddha and are the foundation of Buddhist meditation systems. Anyone who has a classical meditation training from within a Buddhist monastic tradition will have training in these two methods.Almost any book on early Buddhist meditation will tell you that the Buddha taught these two types of meditation: Samatha and Vipassana.
Samatha, which means tranquility, is a method fostering strong states of absorption into the stillness and silence of the mind, called jhana. Vipassana — literally “clear-seeing,” but more often translated as insight meditation — is said to be a method that uses the foundation of tranquillity to foster a special insight into how perception functions at its root, as well as how karma forms and can be unraveled. There are many unusual applications of vipassana meditation once tranquility and concentration have been stabilized. This style of meditation can free a person from anxiety and allow them to accept the accept the painful and difficult experiences in life in a new way, thus leading the mind to release from suffering.
These two methods are taught and practiced by both Robert and Joshua Canady. Group Instruction and meditation retreats are also available.
Lucid Dreaming / Dream Work
A lucid dream is when you consciously wake up inside a dream. The word “lucid” means “clear” so it literally means “clear dreaming”. It is a result of heightened consciousness in the dream state, initiated by the realization that you are dreaming and self-aware. Most people will have one or two conscious dreams in their lifetime by accident. But with practice, you can learn how to have lucid dreams regularly and at Seattle trauma counseling we use it for personal development. When people have chronic bad dreams or nightmares, learning to take control ones dreams is the way to stop this. Lucid dreaming is learning this ability. While some children can program their dreams naturally, for most adults it requires some knowledge of lucid dreaming techniques.
In the last 30 years numerous have begun on the subject of lucid dreaming. Studies of frequencies of nightmares among adults show that one third to one half of all adults experience occasional nightmares. A study of college students found that almost three-quarters of a group of 300 had nightmares at least once a month. In another study, five percent of college freshmen reported having nightmares at least once a week.  If this rate applies to the general population, then we might find that more than ten million Americans are plagued by wholly realistic horrifying experiences every week!
Some factors that seem to contribute to nightmare frequency are: illness (especially fever), stress (caused by situations like the difficulties of adolescence, moving, hard times at school or work), troubled relationships and traumatic events, like being mugged or experiencing a serious earthquake. Traumatic events can trigger a long lasting series of recurrent nightmares.
What gives nightmares their special terror? In dreams, anything is possible. This limitlessness can be wonderful, since it allows us to experience delights of fantasy and pleasure unachievable in waking life. However, turn over the stone, and anything you can imagine that you would not like to experience, however unlikely in waking, can happen as well.
In nightmares we are alone. The terrifying worlds we create in our minds are populated with our fears. We may dream that we are accompanied by friends, but if we doubt them they can just as easily turn into fiends. If we run from an axe- wielding maniac, he can find us no matter where we hide. If we stab a devil with a knife, he may not even notice, or the knife may turn to rubber. Our thoughts betray us; if we think, I only hope he doesn’t have a gun—lo! he has a gun. It is no wonder we are grateful to return from nightmares to the relative sanity and peace of the waking world.
Thus, it is understandable that people in the midst of nightmares who realize they must be dreaming frequently choose to wake up. However, if you become fully lucid in a nightmare, you realize that the nightmare can’t really hurt you, and you don’t need to “escape” it by awakening. You can learn to understand why you are having the nightmare and change it within the experience itself. This requires a special training.
Traditional psychotherapy addresses the cognitive and emotional elements of trauma, but lacks techniques that work directly with the physiological elements, despite the fact that trauma profoundly affects the body and many symptoms of traumatized individuals are somatically based. The way that cognitive, emotional, and sensorimotor (body) levels of information are processed is found to be implicated in trauma symptoms. Sensorimotor Psychotherapy developed by Dr. Pat Ogden is a method that integrates sensorimotor processing with cognitive and emotional processing in the treatment of trauma. Unassimilated body based responses evoked in trauma involving both arousal and defensive responses are shown to contribute to many PTSD symptoms and to be critical elements in the use of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy. By using the body, (rather than cognition or emotion) as a primary entry point in processing trauma, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy directly treats the effects of trauma on the body, which in turn facilitates emotional and cognitive processing. This method is especially helpful to clients struggling with dissociation, emotional reactivity or managing day to day emotions, living in a hypervigilant state or other PTSD symptoms.
Sensorimotor Psychotherapy® draws from somatic therapies, neuroscience, attachment theory, and cognitive approaches, as well as from the Hakomi Method.
Jungian Depth Psychology and Psychodynamic Theory
Jungian Depth Psychology refers to approaches to therapy that are open to the exploration of the subtle, unconscious, and transpersonal aspects of human experience. A depth psychology approach may include therapeutic traditions and techniques that explore the unconscious and involves the study and exploration of dreams, complexes, and archetypes. Depth psychology is non-pathologizing and strength affirming. Through the study of dreams, images, symptoms, slips of the tongue, spontaneous humor, meaningful coincidences as well as interpersonal engagements, depth psychologists attempt to understand the language and the dynamics of the unconscious as it manifests in their work with clients and in the world. Depth psychological approaches to psychological suffering attempt to help individuals become aware of what has been cast out of consciousness or not yet able to be known. Healing is associated with allowing what has been repressed, rejected, denied or ignored to come forward so that the person can understand, explore its significance and integrate it, allowing for a transformation in consciousness. Depth Psychology also attends to the way unconscious processes express themselves in society and culture, and how culture affects the psyche.
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” ― C.G. Jung
In most all of our approaches, we work with the psychodynamic approach in that we help you to come to an understanding of the underlying events in your life that are the causes of compulsive behaviors. This is important in order to help the bring into awareness the unconscious events that are triggers for anxiety. Panic attacks or relapse into addictions, for example, although it is not necessary to retell your story to work through trauma.
For more info on psychodynamic theory:
Intensives provide focused, uninterrupted therapeutic blocks of time to concentrate on therapeutic goals and healing without the constraints of a typical therapy session. Intensives last one to three days, six to eight hours daily with nightly homework.
Intensives are designed to help individuals or couples who are in crisis, as well as those who want to break through barriers that keep them stuck in old problems and patterns. It provides a blueprint for those who feel they need a jump start on traditional therapy. Intensives are designed to identify the problem, explore the core, and provide therapy and experiential experiences to heal and change lives.
Traditional therapy provides direction, guidance and growth. The usual fifty-minute session allows for about thirty minutes of therapy since the beginning and ending of each session takes time. This means that working through trauma or any issues can be a very slow process.
When a person is in crisis or wants more intense therapy than just one or two sessions per week, an Intensive is a great alternative. Intensives provide uninterrupted therapy that allows for greater, more expansive exploration and healing. Intensives combine talk therapy with experiential activities that include art therapy, guided imagery, recurrent theme exploration through timelines and other modalities, parts work, and somatic experiencing to name a few. The concentration of time, along with diverse therapeutic interventions, provides a more comprehensive healing experience.
Clients schedule an Intensive by deciding on the goals of therapy with Robert Espiau and then planning the amount of time needed to address the objectives of therapy. The client then makes plans to come to Washington for the Intensive. Travel arrangements and hotel accommodations are made by the client. Recommendations will be given, if needed. To inquire about or schedule an Intensive go to the contact section.
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