For your benefit, ConneXion -Body Mind Soul- Consulting Inc. in Lloydminster, AB answers some of the most common questions about neurobiological treatments and mental health.
How is Self Regulation Therapy (SRT) different from other conventional therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?
SRT works with the part of the brain where trauma is stored: in the Limbic System, which is at the base of the skull on the back of the head. CBT works with the frontal lobes on the top-front of the brain, where we do our thinking. To heal from trauma and return to your “old, regulated self,” you have to work with the part of the brain where trauma and stress are stored.
How do you “heal” rather than just manage symptoms?
In essence, “comfort is what heals us.” When doing SRT, clients are guided in building the “healing side of the nervous system,” so that their body gets the message that it is safe (right down to the cellular level). Only when the body knows it is safe will it release built-up adrenalin (like all other mammals), restoring better regulation and balance to the nervous system.
The therapy actually puts the body and mind into a state where it can naturally heal. Also, the therapy uses concepts from psychoneuroimmunology.
Nerve cells that have been damaged in the past heal and inflammation is reduced, bringing a reduction in pain symptoms and chronic pain. The process also alleviates the physical and mental symptoms of having too much stress or adrenalin in the body.
Do you only use SRT?
If symptoms are related to trauma and stress or adrenalin, I use SRT. If the symptoms are due to cognitive distortions, which are negative ways of thinking that build our depressive and anxious symptoms even more, then I use CBT. I usually use a mix of SRT, CBT, and Solution-Focused Techniques. Crisis Theory is also used for situations where various types of abuse are being experienced.
Is SRT ever contraindicated?
Safety must be established first. With clients who are in abusive situations, a case management approach is used first until the situation is stabilized. SRT is rarely contraindicated, however, some people have very little body awareness, usually because of very early trauma, and may find it difficult to participate in SRT. Body awareness can be learned, and SRT can be a possibility for these individuals. In cases of extreme stress or trauma, where clients are extremely dissociative, therapy and healing are possible, however, these clients will need a longer commitment to the therapy process.
What can I expect after a session of SRT?
Generally, a sense of well-being, relief, and even joy can be expected after a session as your nervous system regulates itself after discharging adrenalin. Typically, an increased sense of coping is experienced. Occasionally, there can be an increase in pain, though this does not last very long because your nervous system gets used to releasing built-up adrenalin.
How long will it take before I am feeling better?
You will likely feel better from the start. How “full” your nervous system is with adrenalin is a better predictor of how long the therapy will take. Different types of trauma fill up the nervous system faster than others, which means the type of trauma will also affect how long the therapy will be.
What are the different types of trauma?
High-Impact Trauma – includes motor vehicle accidents, crashes, tumbles and falls, where broken bones, whiplash, or stitches may have resulted
Medical/Dental Trauma – includes surgeries, intubation, scopes, dental extractions, and root canals
Inescapable Attack Trauma – includes physical abuse, emotional and verbal abuse, sexual abuse, bullying, kidnapping, being held hostage, possibly incarceration, and living in war zones or emotionally toxic environments
Globally Activating Trauma – includes electrocutions, suffocations, near-drownings, poisonings, birth trauma, drug interactions, bad drug trips, near death experiences, and psychosis
What successes have you witnessed from using SRT?
I have seen clients with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and even Borderline Personality Disorder improve. I have also seen individuals who have suffered more than 20 years of chronic pain seek full-time employment after 2 to 3 months of therapy. Some clients improved to the point where they no longer required back surgery.
Other conditions treated successfully include Conversion Disorder, ADHD, and Tourette’s Syndrome. With SRT, I have seen Diabetic Neuropathy improve, as well as blood sugars and blood pressure decrease. In addition, I have witnessed Migraines disappear. SRT can also be used to shrink tumours. By releasing built-up adrenalin or stress from the nervous system that dysregulates us and makes us symptomatic, better regulation results and symptoms decrease. Damage from stress or trauma, and the diseases that it triggers and unleashes are very treatable when you work with the part of the brain where the stress, trauma, and regulatory processes are stored.