We Can Heal the Shock We Carry


From Darcia Narvaez, PhD/Kindred Media: “The timing of Stephanie Mines’ new edition of her book, We Are All in Shock: Energy Healing for Traumatic Times, could not be better. She guides readers in self-healing through an integration of trauma psychology, neuroscience, and energy medicine.

What is shock?

Although the consensus on definitions is in flux, Mines distinguishes shock from trauma: In her description, shock is global whereas trauma is specific. She describes major and minor shock, early life shock, immediate, conditioned, and residual shock. She teaches the reader how to recognize it in our own behavior.

What happens in shock?

When the shocking experience occurs, the body’s primitive survival systems get activated to keep us alive. But they also engrave the body-mind with a memory that conditions our future responses to similar situations.

Mines explains the physiology of the brain, stress response, and central nervous system. She discusses the two basic forms of shock that must be distinguished because they display differently: Sympathetic and parasympathetic shock.

Sympathetic response mobilizes the body with increased heart rate and metabolism, which is useful under actual threat. But, for example, if overwhelming experiences occur before we can consciously regulate them (in early life), the result is sympathetic shock. It is visible in hyperactivity, hypervigilance and a resistance to resting.

Parasympathetic shock is the repression of the stress response, a learned response when mobilization did not bring relief and energy must be reserved to keep alive. Parasympathetic shock resembles depression with withdrawal, low vitality, and inflammation. When it is triggered, individuals often feel disconnected, speechless, and frozen and breathe shallowly.

Mines discusses the different forms of therapeutic intervention that should be taken by helpers for each type of shock.”

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