Symptoms of anxiety and early trauma
If someone has high anxiety and they tell you they had to have medical intervention as a baby, although we have to keep open to what the anxiety they experience might be, this seems a likely explanation – and is why the IoPT process, grounded in a sound and developed theory of trauma, works so well.
A baby is rushed into hospital and fights, cries and is inconsolable when taken from his mother for emergency treatment. He is hypermobilised with stress. He feels helpless and overwhelmed and the whole experience is for him life-threatening. This causes a trauma and the baby goes into a hypomoblised state – limp and frozen. At this point there is literally a split in his psyche to keep himself alive – to survive. The trauma stays in the body in that frozen state. It is kept in the unconscious by the baby’s surviving strategies – his ways of gaining control.
The baby turns into a teenager who, when confronted with overwhelm and helplessness, is retriggered by the original trauma. This causes high anxiety as the unconsious feeling of being out of control that the baby experienced is repeated with an accumulative effect.
This necessary medical intervention happened before the baby’s neo-cortex had developed which means, if the anxiety has come from pre-cognitive trauma held in the body memory, you cannot treat the underlying cause with rational, cognitive methods.
What is so good with the IoPT process is that, through the somatic resonance of others or the therapist in a 1:1 session, we see the traumatised infant we were, held up to now in our unconscious. We see how we survived it by trying to keep in control, sometimes rigidly so. As we see and resonate with these infant parts, we shift in the direction of re-integration of the splits between the healthy, traumatised and surviving parts of our psyche. The reintegration of the pre-trauma state, not by thinking but by feeling. This strengthens a healthy psyche, prevents further retriggering and the debilitating anxiety that accompanies it. And, of course, by understanding this we can use our rational adult mind to explain why we had the anxiety in the first place which helps!
This is what we mean by the trauma being resolved. It is actually the psycho-synthesis.