By Karen Carnabucci, LCSW, TEP
Welcome to a phrase that I've just coined -- body-informed care. The words "trauma-Informed" have become a well-used phrase when discussing the care and treatment of survivors of trauma in the the fields of health and wellness. However, I've come to believe that if we are to be trauma-informed, we must become body-informed as well.
Attention to the physical body is crucial in trauma treatment. Although we would like to think otherwise, trauma is not solely a psychological experience that affects the thinking brain. The fact is that traumatic experiences can leave a lasting impact on the body, leading to physical sensations, tension, and dysregulation, and sometimes illness and worse. By focusing on the body, trauma treatment can address the somatic aspects of trauma and promote truly holistic healing.
The practitioner is charged with rewriting the nervous system into a new pattern of safety. This challenge means that practitioners must not only be trauma-informed but also body-informed. As we learn more about the neuroscience of co-regulation -- the idea that one person's nervous system impacts another's nervous system, the practitioner must be the "more regulated" one in the session and learn and practice how to stay in his, her or their own body so they can be present when they are working with a traumatized person.
Here are some reasons why attention to the body is important in trauma treatment:
Karen Carnabucci, LCSW, TEP, is an author, trainer and psychotherapist who promotes, practices and teaches experiential methods including psychodrama, Family and Systemic Constellations, sand tray, mindfulness and Tarot imagery.
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