Highly sensitive people come into the world very attuned to the sensory world.
We perceive so much from inside ourselves and from observing and sensing others.
When we encounter intense pain or even trauma, that same gift of sensing can overwhelm us with too much sensation and information.
Our system can shut down to protect us from this “too muchness”.
Counter intuitively, returning to sensing in our bodies can also be the path back to wholeness and health.
The Necessity Of Pain Processing
“Most importantly, I learned that as much as I wanted to, I can’t simply “turn off” the hurt, and move on to the next chapter without fully processing and experiencing the associated pain. Truly feeling my emotions and acknowledging physical responses to stress and pain has been hugely beneficial to me.”- L. H. on healing from a painful divorce.
Working with the body can help facilitate emotional healing. Trauma and pain are stored in the body – we remove our conscious awareness from certain parts of our body in order to stop feeling the pain or trauma. Often we first experienced this pain or trauma when alone. It overwhelmed our singular energy system and so we shut it off. Healing can come when we put our conscious awareness back into that part of our body where it was shut down. Then we can allow the process to unfold at a pace that we can manage (and not be overwhelmed) until a natural resolve is reached and we authentically move on.
How Being Highly Sensitive Helps Healing
Being highly sensitive can assist with this process as returning to simple body sensations is the most effective way to re-open the shut off area. Going directly into emotion can quickly return the original overwhelm, whereas re-entering through awareness of body sensations can return awareness step by step and begin to open the shut off area without overwhelm.
Careful attention to the unfolding sensations will bring vital energy back into the area, and movement and growth will resume in the most microscopic, manageable way. Underlying physiological processes that were cut short can resume and be allowed to resolve.
The Importance Of A Healing Partner
Having another person involved helps as then there are two energy systems to contain the energy. Then it is not as overwhelming. The other person can also monitor the unfolding process and stop it or slow it down when it becomes too intense and we risk re-traumatizing ourselves. Re-traumatization occurs when the energy opened up is more than we can stay present for. Therefore their system closes down once again with a sense of helplessness and overwhelm.
When consciousness returns to the blocked off area, the helping person watches for signs of “too much” – for example, heart rate elevation, rapid breathing, eyes not able to focus – and stops or slows down the process when these signs emerge. Slowing down the process can be achieved by returning to purely physical sensations, letting go of the emotional reactions to those sensations and allowing more distance and open space around the sensations.
The task when the process is stopped is to comfort the pain and distress that has arisen and return the person to a grounded, balanced place in the present moment. In working to heal trauma, sometimes safe places are established as body memories during one of the early sessions. Then they are returned to when the pain and distress has arisen, as a place of comfort and restoration.
Healing Helps You Regain Your Power
The overall task of healing is to be present to small, manageable size pieces of the pain or trauma, in a number of sessions over time, until there is a natural resolution. It is also important to allow the body to cycle through and complete any physiological processes that were begun, so that physiological balance is restored and the body moves on naturally.
Doing this work uses the natural gifts of your sensitivity. The work may be natural as you already are tuned in to sensations. Emotional healing through the body can be very rewarding as you restore your own presence, awareness and vitality in your body. New energy and awareness can help you to truly come into your own power.