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Trauma Work
& the Nervous System

Bottom-up vs top-down therapy

Therapy is directional. Some kinds of therapy approach healing from the top-down, focusing first on our heads– on reframing our thoughts and beliefs with the expectation that shifting cognitions will ultimately trickle down and have positive impacts on the rest of our system and functioning. Other therapies focus first on the embodied experience, allowing any cognitive shifting to organically take place as a natural byproduct of the body-focused work. This approach is considered bottom-up therapy. 

Trauma-work necessitates a bottom-up approach. Part of the work involves learning how the nervous system responds to present-day cues that trigger trauma responses. Although the impulse may be to retell traumatic experiences in therapy and analyze them from a cognitive approach, this practice does little for actually moving through the trauma and at worst runs a high-risk of retraumatization.


The goal instead, is to slowly digest the traumatic experience, paying very close attention to nervous system activation and actively using strategies to regulate simultaneously. Sometimes we play with distance from the embodied experience, titrating between a place of activation and a place of resource. 


Each experience of moving through trauma is unique, and co-created between client and clinician.


In our work, you will learn to pay attention to what is happening in your nervous system, resource and ground in your body and environment, discover which parts of yourself hold trauma and have internalized problematic beliefs because of it, facilitate conversation and healing between your parts, and update limiting beliefs to more adaptive narratives.

Existing outside of the normative culture can be a traumatic experience

Therapy can help

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