Lifespan Integration: a neurological tool for working with trauma
Friday 14 June 2019
Summary by Humera Quddoos
Lifespan Integration Workshop
Lifespan integration is a neurological tool that is highly effective in working with trauma and attachment issues. It offers clients an understanding of how their trauma has affected and impacted their way of being in the world and how we can ‘rewire’ that response.
The emerging and advancing work of neurobiology is revealing the complex interactions between our brain, bodies and emotional responses. In particular it is now mapping how trauma disrupts these developments.
The 3 brain regions are now widely understood as;
1. rat / lizard brain
wired through the Amygdala which is the brain alarm system & is activated when
there is a threat whether that is real, imagined or emotional
2. middle / limbic brain
emotional processing, including ‘date stamping’ through the hippocampus, that happened ‘back there’ and is not happening ‘right now’
3. pre-frontal cortex
that manages higher executive functions
What Does LI Do?
You can’t tell someone you’re safe now, they have to EXPERIENCE safety in the body mind in the here & now & this is what LI facilitates.
LI provides integration through briefly activating the neurons and nervous systems linked to memories (using the client’s memory timeline). Each memory we hold, when re-engaged, sets off a reaction in the body via our nervous system. Through LI we seek to down regulate the nervous system in relation to trauma memories. Through quick repetitions of the timeline we ‘knit’ together the neurons associated with that experience to the life that followed and allow the hippocampus to come online so allowing the body-mind to process these experiences as truly over.
The timeline activation can be used in a number of ways, to support early preverbal attachment disruptions, deal with single PTSD activating events as well generally down regulating clients who have had multiple difficulties across the lifespan.
As a result many clients no longer ‘fire up’ when presented with alarm triggering situations, experience a sense of spaciousness, manageability, and safety in life. Their pre frontal cortex stays online allowing them to make supportive, creative and flexible choices, to live from ‘adult’ more and more.
As a psychotherapist I have found it a skilful and powerful tool alongside the core conditions of relational contact and talking. I can address complex and multiple traumatic events without clients having to ‘talk’ through them, ‘triggering’ them or risking my own burn out from vicarious trauma.
LI is now being used all across the world with adults, children and young people, both by individual therapists, psychologists in the NHS and psychiatrists at The Maudsley to deal with trauma.
To find out more about Lifespan Integration and the core 4 day training program you can visit either: