chapter  7
9 Pages

Re-membering, re-experiencing, re-processing, re-orienting, re-consolidating and re-newing

Effective trauma psychotherapy engages the intrinsic healing properties of the brain’s complex systems for emotional homeostasis. These are the capacities that have been inhibited by the traumatic experience to the extent that affective-somatic-memory complexes intrude as clinical symptoms and syndromes. Effective trauma psychotherapy that promotes fundamental healing relies on the facilitation of the systems developed over the course of the evolution of the human brain to learn from adversity without being destroyed by it. The 84 billion neurons of the typical human brain (Herculano-Houzel, 2012) have evolved to support the engagement of the cerebral cortex and cerebellum in activities made possible by the use of fi re for cooking meat and other foods to speed up the delivery of calorifi c nutrients; this allows the brain to use 20% of the body’s energy although it constitutes only 2% of the mass. Evolutionary pressures have somehow made possible, in the extraordinary complexity of human brain systems, a capacity for healing from emotionally traumatic experiences, though it is clear that this can be blocked for a proportion of those exposed to trauma. CRM does not impose a prescribed pathway to healing but instead attempts to make optimal the conditions through which recovery may occur. This is an important distinction as those new to the model may think there is an unnecessary abundance of interventions within CRM – grids, breathing styles, attachment resources and so on. The reality is that CRM protocols help to establish the safe environment in which the blocks to healing can be dispersed, allowing the endogenous healing process to fl ow to its spontaneous conclusion. All CRM resources, starting with the attuned presence of the therapist, are ways of fostering the conditions in which the trauma memories can break from the rigid shackles imposed by the overwhelming nature of the original traumatic experiences. Crucially, the nested CRM resources provide the optimal conditions for spontaneous healing with very little intervention needed from the therapist once the neurobiological scaffolding is in place. The therapist typically allows silence, room and space in order for the healing to unfold naturally, unfettered by unnecessary interventions.