Your Body is Your Container
adapted from Peter Levine's book, Somatic Experiencing
The 3 D's
A common symptom of trauma are the three D's: dissociation, depersonalization, and derealization.
This can occur anytime the brain and nervous system encounter a real or imagined threat. The BODY tells the brain, "It's not safe to be me, here, right now."
After experiencing trauma, we may feel fractured or unlike ourselves. Our senses may be dulled and we may feel disconnected. Sometimes our senses are heightened, and the opposite occurs, leading to feelings of dread, anxiety, or panic.
The Self Holding Technique
The Self-Holding technique can help you feel more contained, safe, and supported. This technique engages your body and mind on both unconscious and conscious levels, and may help heal implicit somatic memories. Implicit memories often stem from very early in life, when feeling held and safe was crucial to our developing nervous system and brain. The Self Holding technique, according to Levine, "...helps us become aware of our container. The body is the container of all of our sensations and all of our feelings; it's all in the body."
Place one hand on the side of the rib cage, under the opposite arm. Try to reach as far as you can around the front of your belly, and hold onto the side of your torso.
Wrap your other hand around and across the front of your body. Place that hand on the upper part of the opposite arm or shoulder. You are holding yourself now. Close your eyes and allow all parts of you to feel supported and contained.
Notice how your breathing changes. Notice how you can feel where your begin and end and where you are in space and time. Try holding this position until you feel a shift in your internal state and awareness.