Soothing the traumatized heart: Music, the polyvagal model of trauma, and healing of complex trauma (February 12, Zoom)

Persons who are subjected to repeated, unavoidable trauma, neglect, and disruptions to attachment during their earliest years are likely to develop what is now referred to as Complex Trauma. Different from classic PTSD, Complex Trauma affects all aspects of a person’s interpersonal functioning as well as their relationships with themselves, and their existential and spiritual paths. Many people with Complex Trauma have adapted neurologically to the inescapable pain of their younger years by freezing and shutting down, going into what is known as the “dorsal-vagal” pattern of response. But to no one’s surprise, one of the paths out of this shut-down, frozen, and sometimes collapsed place is through music — in particular, through vocal music. This presentation will introduce the audience to the construct of Complex Trauma, and then take a turn into my personal experiences as a singer as they have affected my capacity to resonate with the unconscious of traumatized people. I will explore how the integration of singing into psychotherapy can open a pathway for individuals with attachment wounds to move out of their frozen dorsal-vagal states, tolerate and soothe themselves as they enter Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) activation, and finally move into earned secure attachment, the open-hearted state of the ventral vagal. I will share my “hearts broken and healing” playlist with the audience, and invite them to sing along as the music plays.

Where to attend