A barrier or ‘debris’ sometimes remains - even after healing and recovery work - that can get in the way of our leading a truly fulfilling life.

The breakthroughs in brain science are providing us with an unparalleled understanding of why that is, and what we can do about it.

Why that is

During a traumatic or an abusive event,

stress chemicals surge through our body and brain to help us fight or flee.  Since those options are often not available, especially to children, the automatic and unconscious reaction would be a kind of freezing.  Besides other consequences, this can create the sense of helplessness.

At the same time,

the stress chemicals are imprinting the memory of all the feelings and emotions of the event in our amygdala, the ancient part of the brain involved in the fight/flight/freeze response.  The more intense the event, the more vivid the imprint, and the greater our reaction from that time forward when even a remotely similar stimulus triggers any element of that memory. 

Making things even more difficult

is that part of the incoming information completely bypasses our consciousness and is imprinted in the primitive amygdala while our cortex is still processing the details and deciding on possible responses.  This unconscious route means we can spend a lifetime reacting, without knowing why

If the trauma happened

when we were very young and pre-language, our memories of it might have no words attached to it, and we would therefore find it impossible to articulate.  This “rough wordless blueprint” is described beautifully by Joseph LeDoux, Ph.D. in The Synaptic Self and Daniel Goleman, Ph.D. in Emotional Intelligence.

What we can do about it:

There has been so much scientific research being done that can set us free, or at least freer.  For example, we now know how to calm the amygdala to minimize the hypervigilance and over-reactions. 

We know that new neurons are made every day in some areas of the brain.  As a matter of fact, every ten years almost our entire body is completely renewed.  The external layer of our skin is recycled every two weeks.  Our skeleton is replaced every ten years.  This means that parts of the body that were traumatized or abused have been replaced - by new and untouched cells. 

Please do follow the Metamorphosis link below the beautiful butterfly watercolor by Bonnie Fremgen on the top of this page.  When Martha Beck first told this beautiful story during my Life Coach training, I knew immediately that this was the perfect metaphor for my helping survivors of trauma and abuse. 

My coaching creates a safe environment - just like a chrysalis creates a safe environment for the caterpillar.  And just as the caterpillar dissolves almost completely inside the chrysalis to re-form into the butterfly, my empathic, compassionate, and rational coaching that combines the brain research with simple techniques can comfort and empower you to safely and respectfully dissolve the remaining barriers and live a life of peace, harmony, and achievement. 

While we cannot change the past, we do have so much influence over our brains and therefore our present reactions and our future. 



original watercolor by Bonnie Fremgen


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