The Skill Map to Teach Clients So They Navigate Life’s Challenge
Integrative Mind-Body-Spirit-Energy Self-Mastery
- Teach clients to self-identify as a truth that is bigger than their false self trauma. In the work, I teach clients how to self-identify as their spiritual wholeness. Some people label this their true self, I call it the Core Being. Connection to Core Being provides clients with a map to navigate trauma. This is the primary essential ingredient to overcoming PTSD or any life challenge.
There is a unique spiritual wholeness within all of us. This essence of truth – the Core Being – is available to all of us! Clients healing their deepest traumas heal quicker and deeper as they learn to embody and self-identify as their spiritual Core Being wholeness. For instance, during the time I lived in Africa, when I visited the bush, if I didn’t have a map showing me where to go, I literally risked being eaten by lions. Sending your clients into the metaphorical trauma jungle, without a trauma map, is similar; if clients don’t have the vital skill of knowing who they really are, they can re-wound in the emotional pain.
After all, they are already self-identifying as their wounded parts, therefore it is essential they discover how to self-identify as their Core Being. An essential aspect of the Trauma Map is for you to first teach clients how to self-identifying as their Core Being before you bring them into their traumatic past.
This first step creates greater agency and healing through supporting their neuro-biology to stay regulated while their subtle energy system maintains a higher level of balance.
Marcel survived being brought up in foster care, yet upon aging out of the system, she self-identified as someone that was broken inside. When she applied for work, she knew they were going to reject her because she had been rejected by people her whole life. When I met her, Marcel had given up trying to succeed.
However, overtime, she began to understand that her trauma was something that happened to her, but it wasn’t something that had to define her inner value.
After a few months of skill building, Marcel could feel her Core Being as emotional bliss and as sensations of tingles and flows in her body. Marcel’s connection to her Core Being, brought her inner comfort, self-worth and safety. So when life triggered her into trauma, she could see the trauma as something separate that she could heal, nurture and transform. The trauma no longer held the story of her being broken; it had instead become the pathway to her deep empowerment and connection with her true essence.
- The second key component of the Trauma Map is to support your clients so they can assess whether they are connected to their Core Being as opposed to their false self. Part 2 of this is to then also support your clients to differentiate and individualize from their distorted self-identity.
One of the most empowering skills you can teach a client, in addition to self-identifying as their Core Being, is to teach them how to assess what part of themselves is present, their Core Being or their false self. All of us move in and out of our Core Being countless times a day, therefore one of the first skills I teach a client is to assess, who is currently the “CEO” of their life, their wholeness or their wound. It is a basic self-awareness skill set that empowers greater conscious regulation and prevents unconscious dysregulation.
Joe often reacted defensively whenever his wife pointed out his mistakes. He yelled back with anger or separated from her by retreating to his computer. After a few sessions, Joe developed the ability to assess when he was connected to his safe and balanced Core Being, and when he would lose that connection and let his wounded, disempowered insecure attachment system react.
As Joe’s skills expanded, he eventually was able to interact during these difficult times with his wife from his Core Being, and not from the painful parts of his unhealthy defenses.
- Support your clients with the trauma map to differentiate from their traumatic experiences so their empowered Core Being is differentiated from the negative experiences.
Negative emotions, grown out of trauma are not the truth of who we are. Those painful emotions are simply the dirt, from which the seed of wholeness can manifest.
We are not our emotions, yet when experiencing past trauma it can feel as if the fear, anxiety, and pain defines us. In essence, the traumatic event can undermine clients’ internal agency, for instance, the client who’s husband cheated on her, then left her, can feel unworthy of love. This can diminish her self-esteem and dis-empower her from finding a healthy partner. In essence, trauma and negative emotions can steal our ability to feel powerful in the world, if we let them.
After the divorce, Marybeth felt unlovable. The trauma from her husband’s betrayal made her believe she was unworthy of a happy and healthy relationship. As she discovered how to differentiate her sense of self from her husband’s traumatic betrayal, her self-esteem returned stronger than before the divorce. This deeper resilience helped her embody authentic inner value and individualize from her painful past. Eventually she did find that loving partner; within 2 years, she married and they now have three children.
- Key 4 of the Trauma Map is when you can support your clients to differentiate their self-identity from their negative emotions!
The way in which your clients feel negative emotions determines IF they will rewound or reawaken to greater healing and wholeness. Therefore, support clients to experience negative emotions as subtle energy, and not as something solid, fixed and true. This is when they move from the Newtonian Physics concept that everything is solid to the Quantum Mechanics concept of everything being made up of waves and particles of energy that can change from lower vibrations to higher vibrations just as sadness can transform to joy. In the Quantum reality, negative emotions do not have to define our inner value. Instead they can be the vehicle for you to develop greater awareness, resilience, and wisdom.
For example, negative emotions held in trauma can threaten our ability to differentiate our false self from our Core Being. Often they trigger our insecure attachment system so our value and self-worth are defined by the challenging emotion. This is when feeling isn’t always healing, it is how clients feel, that determines IF they heal.
Another way of understanding this pivitol Trauma Map concept, is to understand the brain science of trauma. You see, during clinical trauma interventions, the neuro-biology of the brain and body can collude with a client’s trauma history and ego identity to cause more emotional overwhelm and dysregulation.
This is why it is paramount clients learn exactly how to feel negative emotions so they can stop self-identifying, disassociating, collapsing, or re-wounding in the flood of emotional pain.
With a little support, most clients can eventually learn how to feel the subtle energy of traumatic emotions so the pain doesn’t overwhelm them.
Kelsey experienced a string of bosses that sexually harassed her. As a result, she became flooded with negative emotions and lost her connection to her Core Being. She let fear and hopelessness define her inner value. She put on weight, and isolated because she was not strong enough to push away the depression the trauma inflicted. By teaching Kelsey to feel differentiated from the negative emotions and false self she was able to heal.
She did this by developing advanced skills so she could experience painful emotions as fluid sensations of energy that flowed in her body. For instance, her hopelessness flowed as energy through her body and no longer became a solid experience that defined her. She quickly regained her empowerment and manifested a boss that treated her with respect and admiration.
- The 5th key of the Trauma Map is when you are able to support your clients to mobilize out of the trauma response and feel empowered when experiencing negative emotions or when discussing past traumatic events.
During clinical trauma interventions, create safeguards so your clients don’t re-experience the trauma at a similar energetic frequency and emotional intensity in which the original trauma was lived.
Bessel Van der Kolk, in his book The Body Keeps the Score, indicates that simply talking about and feeling negative emotions can actually hinder recovery. Personally, I found in my own practice, that cognitive behavior therapy alone has limited effectiveness for resolving PTSD. This is why I use mindfulness, somatic and subtle energy protocols when I work with clients.
When June discussed her rape with her therapist, she re-experienced it as if it was happening again. This initiated a body-centered freeze and activated June’s PTSD symptoms. As a result, that same evening, June couldn’t sleep. If the therapist had mobilized June out of her trauma and helped her complete the action she couldn’t complete in her body and energy system when the rape happened, June could have complete a healthy somatic and energetic outcome. A new sense of internal safety and connection to her Core Being could have resulted instead of re-wounding.
It is vital to teach your clients fundamental skills around mobilizing out of trauma so they don’t become enmeshed with the negative feelings and false self. I have many techniques I use to help client’s mobilize. For example, in my office I have a tipping board, balance balls, and kick boxing equipment. If a client’s subtle energy becomes blocked by trauma, they can re-wound; so I teach practitioners to use physical movement to help clients mobilize out of the emotional overwhelm. This is a useful protocol to include in our work with clients.
- Another aspect of the Trauma Map is to support clients so they can prevent the habitual cycle of trauma from repeating.
Once a traumatic experience has taken place, a similar experience is more likely to repeat. See except from trauma expert Pat Ogden’s book, Trauma in the Body.
“Long after the original traumatic event is over, many individuals find themselves compelled to anticipate, orient to, and react to stimuli that directly or indirectly resemble the original traumatic experience or its context. These individuals unconsciously and reflexively narrow the field of consciousness to reminders of the trauma, thereby failing to perceive cues indicative of safety and inadvertently maintaining an internal sense of threat. Alternatively, they may experience hypoarousal-related interference with the innate ability to orient to cues signaling either pleasure or danger; they may report feeling “shut down,” unable to perceive their own emotions or body sensations, and fail to notice threatening stimuli (which can result in increased vulnerability to re-victimization).” (Pat Ogden, Trauma and the Body, p.65.)
Clients can loop in an endless habituated negative cycle reliving the past in the present and feeling victimized by their past trauma. They fail to integrate the lessons and wisdom the painful challenge could bring to them because they are unable to differentiate and feel the emotions in an empowering way.
As a result of not gaining the wisdom from the last trauma, their orienting responses remain focused on the trauma, and can eventually invite a similar trauma to repeat the cycle over and over!
For instance, we all know of clients that pick a partner who holds the same unsafe characteristics of their previous partner. This cycle doesn’t break until we learn the lesson and heal the trauma response through making choices from Core Being and not from our wound.
Again, tip 6 of the Trauma Map is to support your clients to understand that when they react from dysregulation they foster negative habituated cycles and maladaptive coping strategies.
For example, if they respond from their Core Being and not their wounded parts, they are more likely to create a reality without those same negative cycles. Clients can learn to:
- gain the lesson from the negative experience,
- heal their dysregulation, and false sense of self, and
- live from a higher level of self-awareness, and connection to Core Being.
- Support your clients to develop the ability to assess the subtle energy patterns that keep them stuck in old unsupportive dynamics.
Subtle energy is the foundation that fosters all healing and all trauma, because energy is consciousness and the tangible medium that connects the mind with the body. Just as changing a blueprint will also change the design and the shape of a house, changing the frequency of a person’s subtle energy field will either intensify trauma or heal it.
Or as Eckhart Tolle explains in his best seller, the Power of Now, the formless becomes the form. When you teach your client how to assess the subtle energy of the traumatic block holding them back, you can also eventually support them to transform their perceived pain to power. This is the deepest form of trauma healing because it works with the foundational structures in which the trauma initially formed.
For example, as a client’s skills advance, the most sophisticated part of the Trauma Map is when clients learn to transform the subtle energy of negative emotions so the difficulty becomes a vehicle to create a deeper anchor into their Core Being. Or as I like to say, they become empowered to transform pain to power! This is when clients can shift the frequency of sadness to joy and anger to personal power.
Anthony’s boss didn’t like him. He called him names and looked for opportunities to shame him in front of his co-workers. Eventually, despite this high performance numbers, his boss fired him. Anthony felt enraged at the injustices he suffered from his employer and became overwhelmed with emotions. He wanted to freeze and collapse into the negativity that seemed to fill every cell of his body. Yet, within a few sessions, he learned how to feel the blocks of energy that held him in emotional pain and, as a result, Anthony was able to transform the negative energy of the emotions into a renewed optimism. For instance, as he was able to sense the negative energy patterns that held him in a job where he wasn’t appreciated. As he shifted those negative patterns, he soon found a new position where he was appreciated for his gifts and contributions.
You see, life happens for us, not too us. This is why it is vital clients learn to feel the subtle energy of their negative challenges in a manner that can bring in more self-awareness, and the wisdom of a deeper connection to their Core Being.
- The last tip of the Trauma Map is to understand that ignoring one system – the mind, the body or the energy field – can hold your clients back. Help them work multi-dimensionally – mind- body-spirit-energy – so no part of them is left behind.
Recent body-centered approaches such as Hakomi or Somatic Experiencing have documented the success in helping clients heal from traumatic events by working with clients somatically. Mindfulness practices have also been credited with substantial benefits in working with an array of mental health disorders. Yet, what is the medium that connects the mind with the body? As discussed earlier, subtle energy is the foundation that connects the mind with the body systems.
As you work in an integrative manner, and include subtle energy, you can also work at the deepest foundational causes of trauma. As a result, clients become so skilled that they can transform the energy of anxiety into safety, depression into aliveness, and anger into empowered manifestation.
Becky, an incest survivor, had taken anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication for most of her life. After 6 months working all 3 mind, energy and body systems together, she had the skill-set to feel these difficult emotions so they transformed into a deep connection to her Core Being. As a result of self-identifying as Core Being, Becky was able to remove herself from all medications within 9 months. And when her false self, and painful emotions show up in her life, she is able to transform them and reconnect to her Core Being. Becky explained that Transformational Life-Skills Coaching gave her self-mastery and the ability to face life’s most difficult challenges.
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