Engaging the Critical Factor: What we can learn from trauma research

Should we bypass or engage the critical factor? Research is showing that a lack of integrative connections between sensory memories is key to the disabling symptoms of PTSD. Is integration key to the resolution of mini-traumas as well? Can we reduce the power of triggers in our client’s life by bringing the conscious mind to bear on hurtful memories?

Loretta Rippee discussed the importance of quieting emotional areas of the brain in order to allow the conscious mind to do its integrative work with troublesome, symptom-causing memories. Emphasizing bodily immobility in her work has helped her clients let go of a focus on their busy mind, which in the end allows the mind to become more alert and focused. Based on an understanding of natural animal and primate defense patterns, new treatment techniques are providing relief for severely traumatized patients. Much of that knowledge can be useful in our work with the “everyday problems of everyday people.”