Disconnection from self in the context of traumatic experience is a survival strategy that allows victims to disown what is happening and disown the parts that are victimized. The cost of dissociation as an instinctive mental survival response is often lifelong internal conflicts, shame and self-loathing, difficulty self-soothing, and complications in relationships with others. Without internal coherence or compassion, these individuals are vulnerable to suicidality and self-harm or substance abuse, often marginalized by the label of “borderline.”
Despite the feeling of being irretrievably damaged, all humans have a brain capable of visualizing or imagining experiences of acceptance, closeness, and comfort that evoke the same somatic sensations associated with early secure attachment. Helping clients discover their split-off younger selves and imaginatively bring them “home” spontaneously leads to an internal sense of warmth and safety they have never known. In this presentation, we will explore the therapeutic power of using somatic experience to foster internal attachment to clients’ most deeply disowned younger selves.
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