What is Trauma Therapy?
Advanced Integrative Therapy (AIT) is an evidence-based Energy Psychology approach that gently releases the physical and emotional consequences of trauma. When we have difficult experiences, we store these ‘traumas’ in our energetic bodies. The current global fear and anxiety around COVID-19 and the potential economic disaster is one example of a ‘trauma’. Fear and anxiety settle into our bellies, our hearts, and our throats and make it hard to think and problem-solve.
“Trauma is anything that fractures human wholeness”Asha Clinton, Founder of AIT
Advanced Integrative Therapy is a gentle somatic therapy technique that allows an individual to release trauma stored in the body. We use the chakra energy centers and psychological theory to help the individual release these stored traumatic feelings and experiences. Chakra energy centers are spinning discs of energy that hold feelings, thoughts, memories and experiences and are ancient knowledge originating in India in about 1500 BC.
Interesting research suggests that a bundle of neuropeptides and biochemical substrates are concentrated at each Chakra point. That means that biologically speaking, it’s possible that these difficult emotional experiences might be coded biologically into your body. I believe that science will catch up to this approach soon.
In fact, the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study is the first study of its kind that has shown that adversity in childhood has a direct correlation to increased rates of physical illness such as autoimmune disorders, lung cancer and ischemic heart disease later in life. Now more than ever, effective trauma therapy is necessary to help people heal. There are lots of small ways trauma shows up in our lives.
Each chakra point we used in AIT correlates to a biological system, an energetic system and relates to specific emotions.
The Chakra System has been used and referenced in many forms throughout history. Each point correlates to both a physical-biological system, an energetic system, and an emotional system.
Energy/Emotional System in Trauma Recovery
Below is a diagram that details each Chakra point, and the connecting emotional and higher-level function of that energetic point. It can give us clues as to where we might store specific traumas. For example, a child of an abusive father might hold trauma in their head (crown chakra), versus an abusive mother, might be held in their pelvis (solar plexus).
Biological System and the Chakras
Each Chakra point also correlates to a set of biological functions and physical organs in the body. At every physical location of a Chakra, there are significant nerve ganglia along the spine. Comparing the biological point with the energetic one holds interesting information.
How does AIT work?
The client finds the sentence that describes their trauma experience. For example, during the pandemic, I have cleared “All the fear I feel about COVID-19”. The client then places one hand on the chakra center where they feel that ‘trauma’ most intensely. Their other hand moves through the remaining energy centers while they repeat the sentence at each place. At each new point, the client breathes and notices – sometimes they feel physical movement in the body, sometimes memories, sometimes feelings come up. Often people yawn or take involuntary deep breaths as the trauma releases.
By the end of the process, people often report incredible sensations of relief. I have seen clients who can barely get the words out at the beginning report the memory has lost all emotional charge by the end. This approach is gentle and can have an immediate and lasting impact on your life.
Advanced Integrative Therapy can be used to reduce anxiety and depression. It is also an effective way to deal with what we call ‘originating trauma’. These are the things that happened back then, that are impacting our daily life now in negative ways. Childhood abuse, neglect, emotional abandonment, or invalidation of our experience are all examples of ‘originating trauma’.
We cannot change the past. However, through this process, it is possible to release the traumatic charge that is held in the body from past experiences. In doing so, the past becomes just something that happened back then, instead of a life-defining experience.
Lissa Rankin has written about AIT in her book.