I trust your intuition. You may have arrived here during a difficult time. Our relationship is one of the strongest tools.
Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Walnut Creek, CA
Supervised by Michelle Hider, LMFT
Relaxation is a skill, and it is even harder for individuals with post traumatic stress who have difficulty self-soothing and being in the body. Developmental trauma in childhood vastly increases our risk of developing PTSD, and we learn very useful ways to survive, which often linger long after the events are over. The body and the nervous system are a machine, which remember everything before the brain. Trauma often splits an event into another part of the psyche, which certain events trigger.
Dissociation is a healthy phenomenon to a degree, but also a hallmark of trauma. Dissociation symbolizes difficulty integrating aspects of perception, memory, identity, and consciousness. This can make it difficult to know what we are thanking or feeling, and distances us from our experience. This can compartmentalize different parts of the self that are in conflict with one another. Working with different parts of the self to connect with each other in a way that is just safe enough.
Emotional regulation and distress tolerance may help individuals who feel overwhelmed in their emotional mind, and turn to self-harm. When safety and containment is not familiar, it can be easy to unconsciously re-enact or re-play out harmful experiences. Inflicting pain can also be a way to feel, and a way to attain intimacy with others.