Titrating Experiences for Emotional Healing
In Somatic Experiencing, we use a term called “titration.” In chemistry, if you mix too much of one chemical in with another at one time, the beaker could explode. The reaction is too big or too intense. Something similar can happen when people are processing their emotional experiences.
The old style of processing was that you had to go deep into the difficult experience, and this exposure would release everything. What this actually can do is walk someone quickly into the traumatic experience, with nowhere to go with it. This can leave your mind and body, overflowing you with an intense experience that you’re just not ready to walk through.
This isn’t to say that exposure can never be helpful. Approaches such as EMDR use a type of grounded exposure to help people process through past experiences. This can absolutely be helpful to identify and move through stuck points where information wasn’t processed.
Your body as a guide.
There is another way to effectively process through difficult experiences as well. You can use your body as a guide to open small doorways that can allow the past to move through you.
Sound confusing? It’s actually fairly basic, but tricky to recognize if you’ve never looked for it before. All of our lives are filled with various experiences that shape us. Most of these experiences are neutral, and many of them are positive.
When you experience a negative event, your mind may hang onto it. You might have meaning or thoughts about the event. You may hold opinions about your past.
However, just because you don’t have a personal narrative about the past, doesn’t mean that you’ve let it go. Your body may be hanging onto this as well. Sometimes this can manifest in behaviors or addictions. Sometimes it can manifest in emotional problems. Other times, it might even manifest into physical symptoms that become chronic.
When you practice noticing the subtleties within your body, you begin to learn how your body links emotions and physical sensations. This can give you a quit understanding of those sensations while they happen. Knowing this can help you take the next necessary steps to healing.
Sometimes “too much” is too much to handle
Titration of your body awareness is important, because it is possible to go too deep too soon. This may give you a sense of catharsis. However, it doesn’t necessarily help your body, mind, and nervous system reach a place of regulation. This dysregulation can lead to problems with moods, addictions, and even physical problems over time.
This is why it’s important to practice noticing sensations of emotions in increments. This will increase the tolerance to what can be noticed. This increased tolerance can also help to follow emotional experiences in a way that allows the body to let them go.
We often think that our mind leads us to our emotional experiences and behavior. However, our body can lead to our emotions and behavior as well. It can also impact how we think about things. Through increased awareness of your body, you can recognize what your body is struggling with. You can also recognize what your body needs to find safety, grounding, and contentment.