We don’t get over things, we integrate them into our story. Much of the healing process is centered around this task; creating new experiences and ways of interacting with events in the past. By expanding and re-organizing our emotional responses, we open up new possibilities for the future.
Without integration, we tend to get stuck in rigid patterns of coping. The echoes of the past come alive in the present and we are thrown into a survival stance. This then reflects and creates further distress in a cyclical pattern. The limbic system (the part of our brain involved in behavioral and emotional responses) knows no chronology; it doesn’t matter if something happened ten minutes ago or ten years ago, if it’s distressing enough, it’ll send us into fight, flight, or freeze. Having a framework for understanding our experience and the patterns that developed around it help us chart a new path forward.
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* The information provided is for self-enrichment and not intended to replace any necessary mental health treatment.
Jonathan Dixon, LMFT
Alpha Omega Team
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