Where is the open window?
I would like to share this short video: https://dianepooleheller.com/trauma-structure-baby-gears-demonstration/, in which Dr Diane Poole Heller, somatic attachment and trauma expert, briefly discusses multifaceted trauma history, which she calls trauma structure, by using a Baby Gears to demonstrate how similarly to baby interlocked gears when we are working with trauma we find that everything interfaces or interlocks with another trauma or issue and another. She says that ‘in these complex trauma systems, which I like to call the trauma structure, one trauma can feed into another and another and another, because everything is connected!’. So we need to proceed with caution when working with this complex system of interconnected gears/ traumas. As we take away smaller pieces or gears there is gradually more space to work with more significant issues or traumas or vice versa. She discusses how she worked with a neurosurgeon client who suffered serious brain injury during a car accident and how they proceeded by working on smaller issues or small t traumas like his performance anxiety and his desire to do a guitar performance with his daughter. Through working with this smaller issue that was on the edge of the bigger things like the car accident he was able to allow healing resources to move because like traumas they can also interface, and thus, increase resilience and decrease overwhelm or resistance. Dianne Poole Heller says that ‘trying to tackle too many difficult traumas all at once can make it hard for clients to resource themselves enough to really come to a resolution with any one issue’ and suggests: finding the open window (or the point of entry) in order to stack the cards in our favor, build resiliency and always listen to the body. On a personal level, I found the Baby Gear metaphor really helpful – a metaphor of complex trauma that brings clarity. I have sometimes perceived it as a Lego construction, where each new small t or big T trauma is latched onto a previous one, and thus, in some sense, the major traumas are reinforced, and buried deeper and the smaller issues gain potency through this process of interlocking, creating a more resistant structure. Anyway, the video brought to the foreground a road accident in Italy in 2002, but in the light of all the narratives and lesser issues that were interlocked with it.