Training for an Early Trauma Therapist

The psychotherapy field is experiencing a renaissance that will have lasting effects on consciousness and humanity.   Diane Poole Heller PhD

Therapeutic work with developmental trauma

terapijaA personal development therapy suggests all-inclusive integral approach that integrates a body oriented psychotherapy, contemporary scientific cognitions on neurological and biochemical base of an early trauma, the knowledge about somatization of a trauma, understanding of its energetic manifestation and the insight into psychological state of a person. In order to emotionally really experience and help a person through therapies, the key requirement is for a therapist to go through a several years own inner work and to trigger own traumas, as to work with own inner child.

Our therapeutic approach in work with a developmental trauma is based on Integrative body oriented psychotherapy by using tools such as the elements of gestalt, constellation, psychodrama, hypnoses, focusing, energy-therapy, dream work… constantly connecting to physiology and body anatomy, and relative to the contemporary cognitions in neuroscience. Operational mode isn’t “narrowed” just by using one method or psychotherapeutic direction, but represents the integration of diverse approaches and constant use of the contemporary (up to date) scientific cognitions that enable a continuous growth, enrichment and enhancement of the therapy as well as of the early trauma therapists in order to accelerate and improve the client’s wellbeing.

This kind of approach enables a formation of an authentic style and operational mode to a future therapist, working through a several years training and education for a therapist of a developmental trauma, accordingly to its own talents and preferences. We believe how therapeutic techniques are just the tools and by such do not make an efficient therapist. A work with a developmental trauma is primarily “a two person therapy”, where a person represents a medicine to another person, and where a therapist’s worked through of its own issues, authenticity and capacity to be present with its true and whole self, dedicated to a client, providing in such a manner progression and a client’s healing. Our goal as a Center is to educate and train therapists dedicated to even further personal development and self-consciousness, equally as to a constant improvement of personal skills in order to secure the wellbeing of the clients they work with.

Due to the fact it relies on the intra-personal trauma “engraved” into the implicit memory, which we do not have recollection of, but cannot forget it, the basis of the work relies on the Integrative body oriented psychotherapy, which enables the triggering, and passing through a trauma that usually does not exist in the explicit memory (remembering). A term “body oriented psychotherapy” indicates a therapeutic work with evolutionary older parts of the brain, which aren’t influenced by our conscious, and they:

  • Store our sub-conscious and bare our emotional memory,
  • Somatize emotions through nerves in a determined physical (muscle) state,
  • Regulate our physiology,
  • Together with the spinal cord they control our autonomic nervous system,
  • In addition, influence our immune system and our health.

These deeper parts of the brain recall the cumulative traumatic experience or an early shock trauma, which stays stored in the body. Given the operating coherence and integrity of these parts of the brain (reptile, limbic brain and paralimbic cortical part of the right prefrontal cortex) and body, early trauma represents something that affects and changes the entire body and its operation and therefore is necessary to consider and treat a severe developmental trauma by its somatization. This includes the triggering of primary emotions, which represent a mechanism of our interaction with the world, and are linked inseparably with the body that feels them. While working, it is of a huge importance to witness sometimes extremely strong and intense body expressions of suppressed emotions, which always result with a great satisfaction, a sense of lightness and happiness for a client.

Somatization of developmental trauma can be followed through the formation and function of the Vagus Nerve, which connects the mind and body through a dorsal part (heart and abdomen) and is activating statuses and sensations in the body accordingly to the actual emotional status. We know from the experience that when we live through something horrible our body starts to react on different levels of sensation (senses), from the unpleasant through painful to unbearable. When feeling the fear we usually describe unpleasant feeling and a strong pain in the abdomen, and when feeling the sorrow, the pressure and a great pain in the chest. The unbearable aren’t just the emotions but their physical sensations in the body which people tend to numb with alcohol, drugs, pills, even cutting themselves…

terapija1The basis of the behavior for which people are being condemned, sanctioned, labeled, rejected, penalized by the society… is in fact their attempt to numb the unbearable pain of the physical sensation which is following too strong emotions.

A developmental trauma therapist takes into consideration the speech, body talk, client’s energy, own intuition… looks for answers when, or in what way the client’s system has “stopped” its development, which conditions were lacking, what types of trauma happened, what types of defense systems have developed and for which type of work is the client ready at the moment.

A developmental trauma therapy often represents a severe experiential psychotherapy, which enables entering into the suppressed, blocked or forbidden emotions and allows unblocking of authentic impulses that are being blocked by our subconscious using a great amount of energy.

terapija 1Through therapeutic individual and group work, a developmental trauma therapy enables the triggering of painful experiences, discharging wrong subconscious beliefs about oneself and those of the world, the change in unconscious behavioral patterns which are sabotaging our life, dismantling of wrong perceptions and experiences of the world, ourselves and others, developing of self-esteem and a true feeling of self, developing a capacity of self-understanding, and taking responsibility of own emotional expressions.

The therapy is conducted in atmosphere of the therapist’s presence, dedication and a sincere interest for a client. In order to gain the client’s attachment to emotions and own inner state, the therapist uses adequate techniques, adapted for the client and the situation (constellations, regression, dream work, body work, energy therapy, hypnosis, focusing, associations). The scope is to get the client attached to its inner suffering child, while the therapist is primarily following the real processes in the client, directing the client gently if needed towards the core of emotions, while the whole time “saves the space” for true authentic emotional process. Operates as a “catalyzer” and enables the formation, expression, and in the end the integration of the emotional experience itself.  This kind of work, after sufficient amount of time develops a permanent capacity for a client to have a constant awareness about own inner state (mindfulness). This leads us to acquire the capacity of making responsible choices of our own reactions, to be better in understanding other people and their behavior as even of our conscious influence on our emotional moods.

In therapy it is very common to work with powerful emotions, high energy charges and strong expressions which are leading to the charges relies through the body (commonly for the first time in life) after which a person senses a huge amount of yet unexperienced relief and a sense of fulfillment. This process is always conducted in the atmosphere of a strong support and emotional regulation led by a therapist and / or a group.

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The developmental trauma therapy represents the work with inner suffering child where with time inevitably comes the point of triggering and reliving the strong suppressed emotions which were influencing our experiences of the world and of ourselves up to this point and were determining our behavior. The most common sentence that I can hear in my work: “Just a second before all these came out of me (emotion, impulse…) I was sure I didn’t have it in me and I would never be able to do it.”

In the healing process, it is crucial to get to the point of satisfaction by getting these experiences of support, trust and security, as those of, recognition and acceptance, for which our subconscious is yearning its whole life. While in the process, one comes to the point of a deep inner shifting which clients usually describe as a change in the body or mind after which they feel as being different, that is, more complete and a true self. Basically what occurs is the realization of the primary needs satisfaction for a necessary state or relationship that a system needs in order to continue the formation and further growth.

Picture 11The developmental-relational trauma therapy is especially efficient when approaching emotional problems and troubled partners relationship because the majority of these problems in emotional relations come as a consequence of a badly “arranged” so called love maps which our emotional brain forms through experiences in our first years that we do not remember, though exactly they have defined us. The introspection of subconscious functioning in a relation and of inner working models of both partners allows a completely new perception of the issue, by releasing the wrong patterns, realization of a deeper self-cognition and of the partner, as well as establishing a more intimate and conscious relationship with oneself as even with people around us.

Purpose of the therapy


The target of the Developmental trauma therapy is to find, process, heal and integrate traumatic experiences from the early period, as to continue the inner formational processes which were interrupted due to insufficient necessary conditions in the early period. It refers to emotional growth, to establish capacity for regulating an affect, to emerging and affirmation of an authentic personality, to develop a self-respect (self-conscious) as even to establish the contact with the deepest inner part of a self beneath the level of ego, in the space of spiritual work or transpersonal psychology. Regarding the fact it changes how the brain operates, due to the fact of slower neuro-plasticity all these processes last longer in adulthood, even for several years, and are representing a true and real work on oneself that changes a person and could be seen as a physical change in the brain’s wiring. Through this kind of work we truly realize the potential, respectively we become more ourselves, more complete, real and authentic, relatively the way we were supposed to be if there weren’t any early traumas and we have had the necessary formational and growing conditions.