Trauma Therapy That Applies to Eating Disorders

Studies have proven that 75% of struggling with eating disorders admit to experiencing trauma, while 50% have a history of PTSD.” Therefore, trauma release therapy should be one of the first types of therapies that are practiced. 

What are the therapies involved?, how do they work, how long do they take and what is the result?

So, let’s break this down so that you can understand the different modalities that psychologists use to treat trauma. Trauma is based on an event that becomes a memory. The energy of the event is then stored in the body.  Trauma is not in the conscious mind, yet cognitive behavioural therapy and dialectical behavioural therapy are two conscious mind therapies that are currently being used quite popularly with clients. Typically for dialectical behavioural therapy to work it takes 4 to 6 months of 1 hour sessions. There is a definite correlation to the length and success of the therapy with the portion of the mind that is focussed upon. If trauma is a memory, then the therapy that one undergoes should be focussed on the place where memories are stored, which is the subconscious mind or 90 to 99% of the mind, instead of the conscious mind.

“The energy of the trauma is stored in our bodies’ tissues (primarily muscles and fascia) until it can be released. This stored trauma typically leads to pain and progressively erodes a body’s health. Emotions are the vehicles the body relies on to find balance after a trauma.”,progressively%20erodes%20a%20body’s%20health.&text=Emotions%20are%20the%20vehicles%20the,find%20balance%20after%20a%20trauma.

Because the energy of the trauma is stored in the body, therapies that are applied to the body, such as massage, yoga, physical activity, running, body dynamics, all help in releasing the energy. They don’t help in explaining and removing the trauma, but they help in letting out the steam or a safety valve for the effects of the trauma. 

Again, where are emotions stored? They are stored in the subconscious. Therefore, therapy that focuses on the location of the emotions will be more successful. However, current therapies are predominantly in the area of the conscious mind, which some psychologists have determined as less than 1% of the mind.

The other equally important question that you should be made aware of is the fact that the majority of current conscious mind therapies utilize retraumatization and dissociation as a treatment for trauma. There is no need to be retraumatized in order to heal from trauma.

Should one undergo retraumatization in order to heal from trauma? Currently, there are a number of conscious mind therapies, or CBT therapies that are being used where retraumatization and dissociation is practiced to remove trauma. They are “Exposure Trauma Therapy”, “In-vivo Exposure Therapy”, and “Imaginal Exposure Therapy”. Furthermore, EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization and Receptivity is a hybrid conscious/subconscious mind therapy that focuses on retraumatizing the client to their trauma so that they can process the event of their trauma. These therapies take multiple sessions and sometimes the therapist might do 3 or more sessions for the client to process one trauma event. If there are multiple trauma events for the client, the client’s therapy becomes a roller coaster of emotions, dissociations and retraumatization. 

Also, we have an unconscious mind therapy called polyvagal that involves retraumatization, and multiple sessions where the focus is on changing the animal instinct of the client to the traumatic event. The unconscious mind which deals with the flight and fight instincts, the breathing, hormonal areas, is a limited portion of the mind, therefore, it’s not the best area to focus therapy on.

So, what are the therapies available in the subconscious mind? As a hypnotherapist practising in the subconscious, I would use “Regression to Cause” therapy while making sure that the client can view or dissociate from their experience in the current time line. This therapy, depending upon the event, would take 1 to 3 sessions to process, there would be no retraumatization, there would be an emotional release, and the memory of the trauma would stay, however, the trauma would be processed. These sessions were quite intensive both for the client as well as for myself. However, I was always looking for new and better methods to process trauma therapy. That is how I came upon spiritual regression hypnotherapy. 

So, if you don’t want to be retraumatized and you want to heal, what are the therapies that you should choose? “ Numerous studies have reported the positive effects of spiritual practices on physiological markers of PTSD including brain wave patterns, heart rate and rhythms, and heart rate variability”  (Steinhubl et al. 2015, Chalmers et al.2014, Sammito et al. 2015).

Carl Jung believed that the shock of trauma would cause the soul to fracture (Vickers 2018) Therefore if this is the case, then the trauma one could argue would be in the spiritual energetic realm. To process and release this trauma one can use regression therapy to process the memory and the effects of this trauma. By doing it in the spiritual realm it can be done with no retraumatization or ill effects upon the client. Lanius (2004) reported that MRI findings show that when trauma clients relate their trauma narratives, they replay these memories through the imaging functions of the brain’s right hemisphere.

The MRI studies also strengthened the findings of Levine (2005) and Pugh (2004) who noted that by offering the nervous system right hemisphere options, such as imagery, you invite the possibility of the transformation of wounding into healing. Furthermore, hypnotherapy is based and liberally use of imagery, metaphors and insights to provide a greater understanding for the client. 

“The above studies all support the re-examination of the interface between the recovery of fractured-off soul parts through regression therapy proposed by Jung, and the soul recovery approach following trauma used by Shamanic healers who for generations relied on experiences that more readily engaged the brain’s right hemisphere than the left and included the reliance on spiritual traditions and practices.” Retrieving a Soul Part that Fractured During Trauma. Jane Simington and Joan I. J. Wagner

Shamanic healers would bang drums or instruments and use their voices to put people into a trance state, or into their subconscious state, in order to access the spiritual realms where the trauma resides. 

Through my activity of treating trauma in the spiritual realms, I have found that there is no need to retraumatize the clients or dissociate them. Removing trauma can be done with little ill effects for the clients. That is why when working with anorexic and bulimic clients, we need to focus on new modalities where number of sessions, amount of trauma in each session should be considered as parts of the treatment. It is encouraging to note that MRI studies have been done finding soul healing or spiritual therapies helpful. The only way to get the system to change, is for parents and clients to be aware of the different modalities and start asking these questions from their therapists. Lastly, it’s up to professionals in this industry to look at learning new skills that address the subconscious mind in their therapy for their client’s success.

Taras Machula, M.A., CH.T.


Some other helpful Articles for you: