Frequently Asked Questions about TRE
Q: In the past I’ve associated shaking with feeling afraid in very traumatic situations, will I feel frightened during TRE?
A: It doesn't happen very often. Unlike animals we humans have learnt to repress the ability to shake, so when it actually does happen in life it’s pretty full so it can feel frightening or be associated with a fearful situation. This is partly because it’s unfamiliar, and partly because it’s pushing to overcome our resistance during an extreme situation. Animals will just allow the shaking, and autonomic movements to happen as and when needed in daily life, if we humans did that we would know that shaking and autonomic movement doesn't need to come attached to fear. Normally during TRE clients mainly feel physical movements and sensations (such as tingling or heat moving) and often no emotions at all as the releasing tremors and movements can release underneath the emotions. We work within a safe range of feelings, learning how to regulate or stop should anything come up that is more intense, and by gentle pendulation in and out of shaking, learn to release what's held in the body/mind safely and gently.
However for those clients with more deep seated traumas, for whom fear does come up as part of the shaking, one to one work is recommended over a series of session so that you can be supported to release safely and gently, without retraumatising. The fear normally passes quite quickly, and with compassionate, professional support, you can learn to feel truly safe and alive again in your body.
Q: Will I cry?
A: As mentioned above you may well not cry or feel emotions, and many times clients arrive thinking they will have a lot of grief or tears but find that the releasing happens at a more physical level. Sometimes the physical holding IS holding onto emotions, so tears will come, but you can trust that you will be in your own space on your mat, and that I will be there to support and guide you, so that you are never swamped by a flood of feelings, but learn to self-regulate. You will be in charge of stopping and starting as much as you need to, so that you can go at your own pace, and rest out whenever you need to and I will also be making sure you allow only as much to move as you can safely integrate. This is a gentle integrative approach, not catharsis. Because this is tapping into your body/mind’s innate wisdom, it can’t take you faster than you are ready to go provided you stay within the guidelines provided by your practitioner.
Q: I’ve had a lot of trauma will this open a can of worms?
A: So, as already said you will be able to go at your own pace. I also teach regulating breathwork and grounding exercises that are vital when we start to unlock what the body is holding. You won’t meet more than you are ready to deal with. This practice is about you learning to feel safe in your body again. If you need more support or ongoing sessions to work through multiple and deeply persistent layers of complex trauma, I am able to offer that or refer you to other practitioners should that feel right. We do have to be prepared for a journey in healing complex trauma, but if you are reading this page, you've probably had enough of carrying around life debilitating trauma symptoms. But remember you survived the original traumas, so you can survive a process that allows you to integrate old trauma; you will be in very safely held space with a highly experienced practitioner. What clients often report is that they feel they are the mindful observer of old patterns that release and integrate, rather than being swamped by them; the fear of what the body holds, is normally much much bigger than the process of releasing and integrating, it's just that our ego wants to maintain the status quo. It's important to tap into the larger part of ourselves that wants to heal so that we can note the part of us that's afraid, nurture ourselves and keep going anyway, knowing we have created a safe space for this growth.
Q: Will it be OK to do TRE alongside other therapies and practices?
A: It's always sensible to make sure we aren't overdoing therapies, as it can bring up too much to be able to process without meeting overwhelm. However also trust your intuition, often we are drawn to things for a good reason.
TRE supports and enhances other healing modalities, for example psychotherapy. It gives us an empowering vehicle to keep the life from getting stuck and to re balance the nervous system and the parts of the brain that can be stuck in fight/flight mode. It also very much enhances physical modalities, such as yoga and body work (e.g. osteopathy or chiropractic treatments), because it supports the muscles and fascia to let go of tension, so these modalities become even more accessible, and treatments can go deeper. As TRE is our natural, but repressed way of letting go and restoring nervous system balance, it's actually beneficial for everyone to learn, whatever other therapies and practices are engaged in.
We do need to take greater care with some conditions, and some clients are more sensitive. For some of you TRE might not be suitable at this point, or you may need greater care, referral, or your doctor's approval; I send all clients a disclaimer in advance of session 1 to check if any of the following apply to you:
* Pregnancy - we can't recommend TRE for pregnant women who haven't experienced TRE before.
* Recent Surgery (within a few months) - wait for Doctors approval for exercise and movement.
* EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) treatment - I generally recommend at least a 2 week gap between treatments and learning TRE, so that you can process both treatments.
* High Blood Pressure (not controlled with medication)
* Cardiovascular disease including angina, previous heart attack or stroke.
* Asthma - if asthmatic, bring inhaler to the session.
* Epilepsy - TRE generally not recommended.
* Prior diagnosis of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or previous psychiatric condition.
* Hospitalisation for any psychiatric condition or emotional crisis within the last 10 years.
* Any other medical, psychiatric or physical conditions which would impair or affect your ability to engage in any activities that involve intense physical and/or emotional release.
Q: I’m a real control freak, will I be able to do TRE?
A: Yes! I’ve worked with many people who consider themselves control freaks, (and consider myself a recovering control freak!) the beauty of TRE, is that it bypasses the controlling mind, and your body can just get on with what it needs to do, even if your mind stays busy. For many though the mind naturally quietens during TRE as it is working via the deeper more animal parts of our brain. This is our innate way to let go, so once we reconnect with it, there is a sense in which the body recognises it again, and it can feel incredibly liberating and embodying. Very occasionally clients may need some one to one work and perseverance, to feel safe enough to allow themselves to shake, but since beginning working with people in 2015, this has only happened once. From my own experience I deeply understand that we hold on because we don't feel safe enough to let go - it's an important survival strategy - so my priority when working with clients is to support you to feel safe enough to let go as much or as little as you feel ready for, and to hold you safely whilst honouring all the parts of you that might not want to let go. In this way we integrate, embrace all of who you are in any given moment. Many control freaks have come and found their tremor with ease, come and join us and give your inner control freak a bit of well deserved time off and welcome in even the possibility of feeling safe and let go.
Note from Deborah
TRE is our innate way to release and re-balance the nervous system. So there’s nothing to fear because deep down your body knows how to do it. Also remember you can take it as gently as you need to and because you will be taught how to stop the shaking whenever you need to rest out, and I teach you how to slow your process down by applying specific neural exercises to help you self regulate. I have worked with all kinds of people with a variety of issues, and will be there to guide you to manage the practice in the best way for you.
However what most people find is that they LOVE the sensations of let go and surrender; it’s the opposite of what modern life creates, and is such a relief. Many have described it as feeling like a young child again, free in their bodies.