Developmental trauma counselling & therapy SYDNEY
Developmental trauma presents partly because we didn't have the capacity of organisation on board in our little baby systems to move away from the danger. So our way to survive was to shut down, which is where we go just before we die. It's numbs us and conserves resources, including breath and blood pumping to our hearts. We become still and maybe even frozen in a state known as dorsal vagal shut down.
Dorsal Vagal is part of our primitive survival mechanism and wasn't intended to be used for prolonged periods of time. It's like an emergency break that is meant to prevent us from suffering. It's the first part of the parasympathetic nervous system to develop. The second is the sympathetic which provides u action and movement and the third is our ventral vagal nervous system another branch of the parasympathetic involving social engagement with another. Think of mother and infant with close eye contact during nursing
Our system has two forms of stockpiling our memories, implicit (unconscious and habit forming) and explicit (our known history and tells us why). The explicit memory, has narrative and vocab, but doesn't come online until we are around 18months of age. So our very early memory is stored as body as sensations not in words or stories. It's through this body language we can access pre verbal memories, which have become stuck in the nervous system.
At this early preverbal stage of life, blood is being pumped mainly to our primitive brain region called the brainstem. This is the area receiving the sensory information of the body. If those sensations are too threatening or overwhelming our nervous system won't learn to self-regulate towards safety. It will be forced instead to use an older more primitive method of dorsal vagal shut down.
With therapeutic support an individual can learn to tolerate activations whilst in relationship with another and be guided towards co-regulation, which may have been missing in early relationships. Our first response is to engage with another even as infants so the repair work here is significant for insecure attachment history.
For more information about developmental trauma counselling or to book a session
Please feel free to call me for a no obligation free 15 minute phone consultation to discuss your needs. For your privacy and discretion, sessions are held in professional rooms at Mona Vale (Northern Beaches Sydney) and St Leonards / Crows Nest (North Shore Sydney).