Stages of Trauma Clearing
STAGES OF TRAUMA CLEARING
I. General Dumping
II. Identifying What Trauma To Clear (I.D. find the infected wound)
III. Setting The Stage (fill out trauma clearing form . I.E. ask SUDS. Subjective Units of Distress Scale], , write down SUDS, name of trauma, list of feelings that are being felt, negative ideas about reality that come from this trauma list and positive ideas list. Write description of still photo of trauma. This is a description of what the trauma would look like if he had a picture of it in a scrapbook.)
IV. Clearing: a. Telling-Retelling, first outloud, then quietly, repeat until SUDS at 0 [get new SUDS Ratings after each retell] c. Take last healing image and merge into original 'still photo'. to get Resolution Image:
V.* ask for and write down new Emotionally Positive Words and positive Ideas about reality. Enter 'healing bubble' of protection and stay for as long as necessary for new healing to integrate. Could be several days to several weeks usually.
I. GENERAL DUMPING:
Often a person doesn't really know what trauma or scene underlies 'present feelings' of upsetness.
He/she just knows that he/she is angry or upset or ~ down, i.e. very triggered.
When this is the case, the clearing has to start with "general dumping," in which the patient "vents" for awhile totally convinced that present day stress is the cause of his /her distress. Mirror, or repeat back, any stated feelings back; watch for any strong feelings. This can take anywhere from two minutes to half an hour or so, until the triggered person (TP) begins to center in on a particular, volatile feeling, theme, etc.
For example, he/she may tell several stories which all have the theme "I was ripped
off" or have a common feeling of being very afraid. As facilitator, just let the TP talk freely until he/she uncovers any very strong feelings, then ask the question: "Is there any time in the past when you remember feeling bad this same way before?"
II. IDENTIFYING THE TRAUMA TO WORK ON:
The "infected wound" (see back of check-in). Once a theme or strong feeling has begun to emerge, ask. "When have you felt like this before?" Ift he patient gives more than one traumatic memory, list the trauma, and one by one. have him evaluate the emotional impact of each one by asking him how much relief he would get by clearing that trauma. He must get in touch with he emotions of each trauma briefly in order to approximate the emotional impact of the trauma, and thus judge how much relief he would get by being free of it. Ask, "If you cleared this, what difference would it make in your overall SUDS?" Again, The way to pick out the one, infected wound, is to look for the trauma that would afford the greatest relief, if cleared, in terms of
lowest overall SUDS rating (7 to 1, e.g.). Even if he has trouble estimating the SUDS if he cleared it, the TP may say, "If I could just clear that one, it would make a huge difference in the way I feel now." This is the kind of comment that shows you have found the right trauma to clear. Obviously, you don't want to waste 3+ hours clearing a a trauma that affords him little or no relief (no difference in overall SUDS).
RULE: Usually the earlier the trauma, the more powerful the relief you get by clearing it. These traumas are often called the "core" or original scenes. What you are looking for is the core scene in which all the later, (similar) traumas are replays of. Clearing childhood traumas usually helps the most. For a war veteran, the "core" may be an incident in Vietnam, or it may be a scene from childhood, and much less often one from the recent past.
Ideally, the identified trauma will be a distinct, clearly defined incident, with a definite beginning point and ending point, as these are the easiest traumas to bring quickly to resolution. If it is not a clear, distinct scene, the process may take longer but can definitely be done. Occasionally the patient cannot identify an earlier trauma. In this case you would allow the patient to stay in present time, telling and retelling the current trauma until it goes to zero.
RULE: You always want to choose the trauma which, if cleared, would give the greatest relief ~ as shown by the biggest reduction in overall SUDS rating.
Ill. SETTING THE STAGE:
Complete the top of the TC Form after you have identified the infected wound (handout #8). (Filling out trauma clearing form by asking patient and writing down the following: ask SUDS using Subjective Units of Distress Scale where 0 is no distress and 10 is maximum distress], , write down present time SUDS, name of trauma, list of feelings that are being felt, list of negative ideas about reality that come from this trauma, write list of positive ideas [yes, there are some, hey, you survived! That's positive!]. Write description of still photo of trauma.)
IV. CLEARING PROCESS:
A. Telling-Retelling: The clearing process is pretty simple, in that it just requires the patient telling and retelling the traumatic incident over and over until it is no longer at all upsetting. After 'setting the scene' (describing the "still photo" the TP sees when looking at the beginning of the incident), the TP is asked to relive the entire incident silently, as if he were re-experiencing the event. When finished, he/she is asked to tell the story out loud. At this point, ask what the SUDS level is.
This process of retelling the story silently and then out loud is repeated over and over until resolution. As the TP tells the story, the facilitator transcribes key ideas on the Trauma Clearing form for later use (during resolution).
B. SUDS (Subjective Units of Distress) RATINGS: After each silent and out loud retelling, the TP is asked to rate his/her current level ofupset-ness on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0+ not at all upset and 10= as upset as you could possibly be. This rating is verv imoortant as it lets you know whether there is movement in the experience of the trauma. Sometimes the rating will drop and then go back up as new, painful material is uncovered. It really doesn't matter which direction the rating is going in, as long as it's moving. If the rating stays at one point (e.g. 5) for several retells, that's an impasse. Usually, there is some important aspect of the trauma that the
TP isn't looking at or feeling. When this happens, you can get things moving again by asking the TP to tell it again, this time focusing on what's keeping it at a 5?" (See Handout #7) When the rating goes to 0, you are moving into the resolution phase.
Now, you ask for a body scan as one way to be sure its O. Have the TP relax and check his body for any tension. If there is any tension found, have the TP put his hands over this place in the body and ask the body what the tension is. One way to do this is to have the TP visualize that this part of the body has a mouth and can talk. He asks this part of the body "what is your message to me?" The body will tell him what feelings are causing the tension, or reveal some healing insight, etc. Always have the TP do one more silent review after he says his SUDS is O.
C. RESOLUTION STAGE: THE CLEARING ENDS ONLY WHEN THE TP IS AT "0":
FIRST, you want to make sure that the trauma is truly resolved at "0". That is, you want to be sure that there are no longer any painful feelings or negative ideas attached to the memory. One way to check this is to read back some of the negative ideas listed earlier and ask how much the TP still believes those ideas. In the same way, you can check on the painful emotions the TP listed at the very beginning. Any negative emotions which can be stirred up by your reading the negative thoughts show you that the trauma is not at "0" yet.
When the TP feels certain that the trauma is at zero, ask "What words go with it now?" Then ask the TC to look for what positive ideas are associated with it now! Ask the TP to reword negatively stated ideas, by asking "How can you say that positively?" At resolution, both emotions and ideas should be positive: E.g. Negative Positive
"It wasn't my fault" ----- " I did the best I could, " etc. "I'm not angry anymore" ----" I feel at peace (relieved) now". This will serve as a further check and also begin attaching a positive frame to the memory.
Healing Image: Finally, you ask the patient to create a healing image or positive mental picture, with which to remember the memory, the scene. Once at "0" with only positive ideas associated with the memory, it will be remarkably easy for him/her to evoke a beautiful visual picture of his new feelings. This "healing symbol" ,("healing image") visually depicts the new feelings at their most perfect. For example, one veteran imagines a "field of beautiful flowers" whenever he thinks of the new feelings and words associated with the previously traumatic event. For him, the field of flowers was a spontaneous healing image at "0", which replaced the painful "still photo" which used to come to him when he thought of that particular incident. That's how he
symbolized the peace he felt at "0".
RESOLUTION IMAGE: Ask the patient to merge together into one picture the new healing image with the old traumatic "still photo". At this point, the original trauma has been totallv transformed at everv level--emotionally, mentally, and visually.
P.E.T stands for .Picture, Emotions. and Thoughts
A memory is composed of only three elements, which are the P.E.T. Now the original picture of the memory has changed, the feelings of the memory have changed, and the thoughts about the memory are changes. Follow up studies of veterans who did a clearing show that these changes are permanent, and that each time the memory is recalled from then on, the new P.E.T. are recalled instead of the original painful ones.
[This can take up to a few hours. This presentation is a very brief
description of the process. An entire book is being written with details of
this method. If you are attempting this and have questions, please feel free
to email and ask them.]
When you are facilitating a trauma clearing for a partner who needs to do
emotional processing, first do a ten minute exercise with him/her until
he/she comes to the core feelings. Then ask the partner to list their
feelings words [negative) and to list corresponding negative statements
about the beliefs connected to these feeings.
It is good to write these down, so that if the person doing the clearing
gets stuck you can read the feeling words back. This will usually get them
going again so that they can unearth more of their feelings.
If a person is really triggered into powerful negative feelings, it is
advisable to do a negative feeling word list, then the negative ideas
associated with this list first. Negative feeling words may look like this:
overwhelmed, betrayed, angry, dissapointed, sad, blindsided, hopeless,
Negative statements: I feel overwhelmed and betrayed that this happened to
me. I feel insecure because life is full of unexpected problems. I am angry and
disappointed that every time I think things are going my way something bad
[Often the feeling word lists are up to 20 feeling words long.]
Now ask "When have you felt like this before?" The partner goes back to a
previous time when they felt the same way. Usually this goes back to a
childhood formative experience. If there are several memories, usually it is
the earliest one. A way to make sure is to ask how they would feel if they
could magically heal all the feelings connected to each memory. The one that
gets the most emphatic answer of relief is the correct memory.
Ask them to describe a mental picture of the trauma as if they had a
photograph of the event. This is called the 'still photo'.
Now the partner relives and describes the memory, saying what is happening
using feeling words and staying with the feelings as they begin to come up
This is what you tell them to do: " First tell the story silently, then
again outloud. Then you will relive the memory silently and follow that
again outloud. We will do this until the memory begins to heal."
Each time relive the memory from beginning to end. Remember that it usually
takes approximately four to ten times of living and re-living the story
before the healing image begins to emerge from the psyche.
Each time you finish, go back to the beginning and remember it all the way
through to the end, taking careful note of new impressions that emerge each
time. Spend as much time in silent processing between sentences as you need.
DO NOT INTERRUPT LONG SILENCES, OR FAR AWAY LOOKS....IT IS DURING THESE
TIMES THAT IMPORTANT INSIGHTS ARE OCCURING.
As in a dream, allow new information to present itself with each
remembering. If at any point you wish that you had, or could, say or do
something different in the memory, allow yourself to do so in your
imagination. This is a part of the healing image developing........"
At first, the emotions can be difficult and painful and it is important to
STAY WITH THE FEELINGS as they come up. As the telling and retelling process
continues, the emotions change and finally there are less and less painful
feelings left that are attached to the trauma. By this time healing
insights about the trauma have occured. Positive feelings are growing.
As this is happening a new picture of the memory develops which is called
the healing image. This image develops from the positive emotions that are
Allow the healing images to mature up and develop. Eventually there will be
a final strong healing image.
Now the partner is asked to merge the still photo with the final healing
image. Imagine pushing the old previous painful picture of the memory into
the new healed picture.
The resulting image is called the resolution image. When the resolution
image is obtained, allow plenty of time for it to be integrated into the
psyche. DO NOT INTERRUPT THE PERSON CLEARING THE TRAUMA, THIS IS A RICH
AND IMPORTANT TIME IN THE HEALING PROCESS.
The trauma is cleared.
The person clearing will know this because they feel a permanent weight
lifted from their shoulders. Allow as long as they need to let the emotions
integrate and re-align themselves. They are very sensitive and vulnerable at
this time and it is necessary to be alone and in harmonious surroundings.
Sometimes it takes anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for the psyche to
integrate the change. During this time the person who has cleared is very
sensitive and vulnerable. Like scar tissue, the newly healed subconscious
needs time to firm up. Respect their space and let them stay in a "healing
bubble" for as long as they need to. During this time, do not bring up
loaded subjects or make demands.
Note: If the emotions are too difficult to handle and do not respond to this
method, it often means that there was an earlier wounding and traumatic
memory that should have been processed instead of the one chosen. To avoid
this, be sure to take time in the beginning to make the negative feeling
word list carefully, and use this "constellation" of negative feelings as a
map to help the person doing the clearing to remember previous times when
they felt this way before.
Usually it is the earliest memory. When you ask them how it would feel to
clear each of the previous memories listed, the one that needs to be cleared
will be the memory that will bring the most relief to be cleared. Often the
person will say, when asked how it would feel to clear the right memory,"
Oh my God! If I could clear the feelings associated with that event it
would be a miracle!"
HERE IS ANOTHER DESCRIPTION Of THE TRAUMA CLEARING METHOD THAT MIGHT BE EASIER TO UNDERSTAND.....
To get into your heart try this with a partner:
[This is what Michael and I would do .....It's an adaptation of a shamanic technique...]
Your partner, let's call him Wayne, asks you,
"What feelings are up for YOU now? what are you feeling?"
Use feeling words.
If you can, just list them. But you may need to vent first.
You may need to vent for quite a while . In venting, use feeling words with
an " I " statement as much as possible. Such as, "I am fed up to here with
being over responsible for other people's problems when I need to be
protecting my psychic space in order to heal." or "I am angry that I have to
keep on giving out energy when I'm tired, just when I thought relief was in
While all of this is going on, Wayne writes down the key feeling words in a
Possible feeling words:
Frustrated, out of sorts, hasseled, worried, fed up, angry, had it, don't
want to do it anymore, tired, angry [again], unhappy, drained, out of
balance, hopeless, powerless, etc etc.
When you feel like you have expressed every single feeling, have your
facilitator read the list of feeling words back to you. A few more may pop
up as you are listening to him.. Add those to the list. This list is a
CONSTELLATION OF FEELINGS.
When the list is done, have him read it back to you one more time. As he is
doing it try to remember when you have felt that way before. When have you
felt this particular CONSTELLATION OF FEELINGS before?
Were there earlier events in your life that felt like this? Take your time.
You may remember many. Find the earliest and most painful memory.
Don't worry if you don't remember it very well. Take what you do remember,
even a brief picture, and describe it out loud while Wayne writes down what
you are saying. Go back and relive this 'infected' memory a number of times
from beginning to end, allowing it to change as it wants to with each
reliving. Use eye movement when necessary. Alternate remembering it quietly
to yourself with saying it outloud to Wayne so that he can write it
down.Treat your remembering as a lucid dream, and intervene whenever you
feel prompted to: things such as praying, invoking, communicating, etc. Stay
with the process until you feel the memory heal.
When the memory has finally completely changed and healed, describe what
happened to Wayne and let him write it down. Finally, take a mental picture,
a snapshot, of this finished healed version of the memory and merge it with
the first mental picture of the original wounded memory. Describe to Wayne
what happens when you do this so he can write it down. This is called the
resolution image. How does your heart feel now?