(Photo: Tadeusz Lakota)
In honour of National Anti-Bullying Day (December 17), we focus on the connection between healing early imprints, and coping with or stopping bullying.
We know children who do not have a strong sense of self, of belonging, who feel and express anxiety – are more at risk for being bullied. They may also have a difficult time coping with bullying. Unhealed early trauma or grief can create vulnerability in children, making them susceptible to bullying. Experiencing bullying is destructive to a sense of belonging in the world, or classroom, or group, as it deeply affects our confidence and hearts.
There are so many ways we can support children and adults with healing early traumatic imprinting, for strengthening a better sense of belonging and self-trust, voice, and a felt sense of power in the body. This month we mention the work of Dr. Annie Brook of the Brook Institute.
“How do you welcome yourself into a space?”
This question struck me as essential when I heard Dr. Annie Brook ask it last week in a Healing Adoption Imprints course I’ve been taking with her. I am not an adoptee, but this course is open to anyone interested in helping people to heal that particular trauma and grief.
The idea of someone learning how to welcome themselves into a space, was asked in the context of healing the “early imprints” that form our core beliefs and somatic patterning early in life. These imprints are being laid down before our cognition is fully developed, so they are very deep in the brain and body, and relate to implicit and associative memory. They often drive our behaviour. The good news is the imprints influencing self-concept can be uncovered, challenged, re-patterned, and healed with somatic-oriented work. In fact, when we see behaviour, we can keep an open mind as to what imprints might be driving it.
How do we heal deep imprints?
Some of the ways we can heal deep imprints is by recognizing when they are hijacking or present in you or a child. This can show up as a state of confusion (or other brain state), and when confusion is present that is a moment to call a pause, and take time for Body-Scans, Movement, Redirects, Behavioural Checks, and many other tools of the somatic trade. States of confusion need time to settle and orient.
As Annie says, “you gotta change the brain to change the pain”, and the body is the root system of the brain. Some of the importance of welcoming ourselves into a new space or group of people, is because if the filter in our brain is asking “am I wanted, am I good enough?” Then this filter creates our experience and interrupts our ability to relax.
“You gotta change the brain to change the pain”
Annie teaches about this in the context of adoption or early trauma. Part of what we do when we ask, “how can I welcome myself into this space?” is that we bring ourselves out of shock or ‘freezing’ and back into connection with our body. We can orient through smell, sound, sight, taste and movement. We can also use primitive reflexes such as mouthing; feeling the mouth move, swallowing, feeling our digestive tube, and allowing that to help centre and reconnect to a calmer sense of self. I know no other better guide than Annie Brook who appears in The Moving Child I and III films.
For more information on Dr. Annie Brook’s upcoming course offerings on Healing Early Imprints and understanding difficult behaviours in children (including Healing Birth and Adoption Imprints), please visit these links: