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Using Lifespan Integration in My Practice

One of the things Lifespan Integration is very useful for is helping people integrate all kinds of traumas into regular memory so that they no longer have the "here and now" quality that makes unprocessed traumatic experience so troubling for people. Recent traumas, such as a car accident, can often be neutralized in one hour-and-a-half session. Older, childhood traumas, especially if they represent a pattern that occurred over time (such as a pattern of abuse or neglect) may take multiple sessions to process. In either case, Lifespan Integration, being a mind/body therapy, works gently without re-traumatizing.

Even in cases where clients do not come in with post-traumatic stress as a presenting issue, Lifespan Integration can be used effectively to help them clear current troubling life patterns (e.g., shame attacks) through following unconscious connections to the early life events that formed these patterns and then integrating those. Often times, as children, clients did not have an attentive adult present to help them understand troubling situations in their lives. By bringing the client's current adult self back into the childhood scene to support the child, the childhood experience can be integrated with the knowledge and understanding of the (now) adult. To use the example of shame attacks, whereas other forms of therapy help the client to cope with painful bouts of shame when they arise, Lifespan Integration can result in the disappearance of this reaction all together.

In addition to using Lifespan Integration to treat trauma, I have found it effective, although much more slowly so, in integrating the "parts" of people who dissociate (become detached from present experience) and, in this way, are more fragmented than other people. We all have different parts to our personalities, but we do better when these parts are well-coordinated through co-consciousness and self-leadership. Dissociation can be caused by trauma and interferes with the neural networking forming a coherent solid self.  As parts are integrated through Lifespan Integration, the client's current life becomes less confusing and chaotic and more coherent and peaceful.

Finally, Lifespan Integration is very good for helping people who become overwhelmed by their feelings and find it difficult to self-sooth learn to regulate their emotions. People with poor emotional regulation were not well-soothed by attentive parenting as very young children and, therefore, never got the chance to learn this skill for themselves. Through Lifespan Integration, they can re-parent themselves and thereby become less dependent on other less adaptive strategies for coping with feelings, such as overeating or substance abuse.



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