I have to admit it's just such a pleasure to 'hear' from you <3
This is it EXACTLY!
I felt deeply unheard and unseen and also something of a failure after reading their works - while I also, like you, felt that there was so much that was positive, insightful and helpful in their works, it has been hard to internalize those insights amidst such conflicting other thoughts and feelings I had as I read.
And it feels nasty because some of the insights that work, were mine before I read this. And I don't know there is always soemthing uncomfortable about someone taking soemthign that is your truth, repackaging it and serving it back to you. So much of the stuff I like is about breaking shame, but odd how that is presented in a shaming and exclusive way - through the approach of self valorization of the author. I mean Herman was inspired by her own experiences and search for justice. But she never centers herself in her observations, but her very thorough research.
I have come to really LOATH Levine. Another guy who has got a lot form clients, but still decided it would be best to center his own experiences as a measure of 'how to', and 'what's possible', again sidelining and even dismissing domestic violence and child sexual abuse, AND even supporting false memory syndrome, ( with no scientific basis and contrary to many times over checked and double checked studies on memory, dissociation and trauma). Levine was bullied in school as a child for a few years. And though that can certainly be traumatizing, it is a little different than for instance incest! Or coming from a fundamentally unsafe home or care environment. Or being sold or used for adult gain.
It's funny though, there's Walker on one side advocating emotional healing, (which is such a good point), and Levine on the other side pointing to the way trauma is a survival reflex gone wrong ( also so important), but both denying/excluding the experiences, needs, stories and realities of the larger majority of survivors who develop cPTSD.
Levine is so toxic, in how he completely undermines the narrative or existential level of what it means to be harmed. And contrary to Levine also the emotional content of the work. I was doing somatic experiencing for 10 years with my therapist, a devotee of Levine. I had been looking for a therapist for a long time, no one would treat me because they thought my symptoms were too severe and my history too extreme... she was the only one at the time who would take me on. Initially her techniques helped me a lot with catatonic dissociation I was experiencing.
However, when my memories started to get too frightening for her, as well as me, (I remember gong home after therapy and reliving a memory, screaming and throwing up), I told er about it. After that, that was it, no more content, she didn't want to know and I was to also try and look away as quickly as possible. I wasn't allowed to talk about it, write about it, speak to others about it. I was only to bring it to her. And we were going to never discuss content but only bodily feelings that arose during sessions, and issues in the present - deal with it slowly, slowly bit by bit. Anytime the past would come up she said get out and we practiced shutting me down again - telling me I'm 'safe' now, but not dealing with what was happening now or my feelings now. So this just increased my isolation, anxiety, phobias and feelings of deadness and depersonalization.
After 10 years she couldn't even remember any of my basic history - was like a virtual stranger to her. After ten years still the same refrain, despite telling her, I'm gettign worse I'm in real trouble for 5 of those years - "slowly, slowly drop by drop". Yes the re-livng and the flooding slowed down. But it became a block to everything else in my life too! She just buried me alive in Levines 'technique'.
I went along with it, because the memories frightened me immensely. and I was terrified of them or lying or making things up. (Even though my T. would say things like I can see by your body that you aren't lying, she did not believe we need to deal with the content to heal) In the end it just hurt me Jitterbug. Hurt me terribly and wasted a lot of my resources and time. I ended up getting more and more anxious and depressed. Deeply depressed every time a memory surfaced and then had to be pushed down again - there was a direct link! She would also shame my depression a lot, like it was weakness, or that I was not adhering closely enough to Levine's techniques . Until I froze entirely, went into the land of ghosts, a regressed state - the opposite of what Levine's techniques are meant to achieve - my vitality was crushed. Now, only after nearly 3 years I am finally slowly coming out of that freeze. The impact on my over all health, income, professional progress and self esteem has been awful.
The reason I can see the impact and make the link, is that with a different kind of approach and therapy I am working with now, my progress has been significant and tangible. There are things that help us! We are never beyond help! Along with, the fact that there is now a national program where I live dealing with the enormous number of people with extensive and severe childhood trauma, and compounded trauma, who are not being helped in this country and why... scientifically speaking ( ie evidence based), we need to deal directly with the trauma on all levels, to heal it and to alleviate our suffering. All this stabilization and management stuff has been treated as the primary goal, with our core traumas being ignored, though these tools should be there, evidence shows that survivors benefit most from processing the past, and understanding the impact on their lives. 5 things/healings that need to happen at once environmental - social/relational - emotional/psychological - physical/biological - existential/narrative/cultural.
Being trapped in silence with only one other person who was allowed to 'know' anything, encouraging this silencing and denying my truth, treating me not as a person, with person-hood, but a merely a body, and a client who doesn't 'get it' ie never 'good enough', it was childhood all over again. I would not wish this on my worst enemy. Oh no wait hahahaha it would be a nice revenge to doom my horribly sadistic father to 10 years of ineffective therapy, that induces depression, undoes all his self confidence in his own self expression, and promotes self hatred! but if he is a monster now I shudder to think what he would become with such treatment!) Repression, when the need to process arrives, is NOT a good idea.
I will definitely check out "The Body Keeps The Score", I read the body bears the Burden also by a neuroscientist that I enjoyed a lot. I do tend to enjoy these kind of rational approaches too.
Thanks so much Jitterbug. It means a lot to have this validation. And it is lovely to connect with you.
All the very best in this world to you,