Sunday, 9 March 2014

Psychological Trauma -The five Fs, Fight, flight, freeze, friend and flop

Psychological Trauma – What Every Trauma Worker Should Know
The five Fs  - Fight, flight, freeze, friend and flop in Trauma


What is Trauma.?
Trauma is simply trapped emotional energy from one's past such as ones childhood or even a few months ago it gets stored in the body and thus becames trapped emotions. Normally in a traumatic event, a huge amount of energy is made available in our bodies so that we can deal with that event.

These energies take up space and distort the vibration where they are trapped, eventually leading to not only a disruption in the organs and tissue in that area, but globally in the whole body and often we become overwhelmed – shocked – and the energy that should be there to help us becomes frozen and stuck. Having ‘nowhere to go’, this trapped energy results in symptoms such as:exaggerated emotional reactions, and extreme mood-swings,Sleeping poorly, Panic attacks, Flashbacks and nightmares, Numbness and lack of feeling,Unexplained medical disorders,Muscle tightness and pain, Headaches, Chronic fatigue,Psychosomatic illnesses Skin problems, Digestive problems.. etc.

They can block people from finding love and happiness and make them feel disconnected or lonely.  trapped emotions is energy, just like the rest of the body, and they can affect physical tissues.  Trapped emotions can create pain, malfunction and eventual disease as mentioned above already.

Trapped energy vibrate at different frequencies depending on the particular emotion. The trapped emotion or negative vibration can often affect the part of the body where they are stuck, but can also disturb overall balance and health. Releasing trapped emotions balance the body so it can regain its full healing capabilities.



Resolving trauma symptoms

The symptoms are often difficult to explain in ordinary medical terms, and can seem resistant to treatment. Sometimes a symptom will resolve after some kind of treatment, only to be mysteriously replaced with another symptom somewhere else in the body. This is because the energy hasn’t been set free from the body.

Somatic Experiencing

Somatic Experiencing (S.E)
is a body-based treatment used for releasing and healing trauma, shock and stress. It was pioneered by American psychologist, Peter Levine.

Trauma expert Peter A. Levine -Author of (Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma) studied wild animals, observing that even though their lives are routinely threatened, they don’t suffer with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They are able to release all the ‘fight and flight’ survival energy from their bodies, naturally and simply, when the threat is over.

They then go on with their lives as if nothing has happened. Although human beings have a similar nervous system to wild animals, we do not easily discharge this energy from our bodies.



 Founder of Trauma Somatic Experience Dr. Peter A. Levine PhD


Trauma Therapy by Hakim Archuletta using the works  Dr. Peter A. Levine methods

Hakim Archuletta using the works Dr. Peter A. Levine methods, for heaing Trauma, he uses

the  Sufi Hadra are a form of Resonance or Vibrational Healing for the Soul. Hakim Archuletta mentions using the  Hadra as a somatic experience that heals trauma.

The hadra cures and 'heals traumatic states' that the modern world and its people have given our poor souls as Sidi Hakim Archuletta-(who has worked within the healing arts profession for over 30 years). talks about using the hadra as a cure.

We are all traumatized in some degree or another and are victims of violence, abuse; physical or verbal and so need a 'sufic somatic experience' to help. Soma refers to the body and somatic refers to the body experienced 'from the inside' and includes thoughts, emotions, and sensations, its about being 'in the moment' and by focusing on sensations, tensions, finding relaxation, using breath, movement, inner wisdom can come to the surface.(all this and more is experienced in the Hadra).  see article

Sound therapy healing and Roses Healing power and Hadra




Below extract taken from
Zoe Lodrick MSc. BA Hons (1st). Dip (psych). Dip (couns). UKCP


what happens to the human brain and nervous system at the point of trauma.


A traumatic incident is one in which a person experiences, witnesses or, in certain circumstances, hears about a (real or perceived) threat to the physical and/or psychological integrity of self, or others, whereby the person’s response involves great fear, horror and/or helplessness (APA, 2000; Rothschild, 2000).  Exposure of a child to the sexualized behaviour of adults or older children, regardless of whether the child responds with great fear, horror and/or helplessness, also constitutes a traumatic incident, due to the developmentally inappropriate nature of the sexualized behaviour(s) (APA, 2000), and the child’s inability to give informed consent.

People who hear about traumatic incidents (psychotherapists for example); and trans-generational trauma is a term sometimes used to describe the traumatic symptomatology displayed by the descendants of trauma survivors. Following exposure to traumatic stimuli some people become traumatized. 

The significance of the amygdala

“The amygdala is the key component in neural networks involved with fear, attachment, earlymemory, and emotional experience throughout life” (Cozolino, 2002: 71). The human brain is wired up in such a way that survival is given precedence. The amygdala’s role in survival is paramount.  

Every piece of sensory input that enters our brain is routed via the thalamus (in the reptilian brain) and then to the amygdala (in the limbic brain) (Cozolino, 2002; van der Kolk, 1996a).  The neural pathway from the thalamus to the amygdala is fast- and necessarily so (LeDoux, 1996).  The amygdala filters the information searching out threat.  If any threat is recognised, whether real or perceived, the hypothalamus is immediately stimulated to respond.  It does so by triggering the release of stress hormones to prepare the body to defend itself (Cozolino, 2002), and by alerting the sympathetic branch of the ANS to become highly aroused in readiness to meet the threat (Ogden & Minton, 2000; Rothschild, 2000; Siegel, 1999).

The human system broadly responds in one (or more) of five predictable ways when threatened.  ‘Fight, flight and freeze’ are well documented responses to threat (Levine, 1997); to these can be added ‘friend’ and ‘flop’ (Ogden and Minton, 2000; Porges, 1995 & 2004).  The five Fs, are instigated by the amygdala upon detection of threat.  The amygdala responds to the threat in the way it perceives will most likely lead to survival.

1. Friend is the earliest defensive strategy available to us.  At birth the human infant’s amygdala is operational (Cozolino, 2002), and they utilize their cry in order to bring a caregiver to them.  The non-mobile baby has to rely upon calling a protector to its aid, in the same way that the terrified adult screams in the hope that rescue will come.

2 .Fight, as a survival strategy, is fairly self explanatory.  The threatened individual may respond with overt aggression or more subtle ‘fight behaviours’, for example saying “no”.

3. Flight is any means the individual uses to put space between themselves and the threat.  It may involve sprinting away from the perceived danger, but is more likely exhibited as backing away or, particularly in children, as hiding.

4. Freeze: When the amygdala deems that friend, fight or flight are not likely to be successful it will elicit a freeze response.  Levine points out that immobility has several advantages to mammals when threatened by a predator, namely: that the predator has less chance of detecting immobile prey; that many predatory animals will not eat meat that they consider to be dead; and that if the predator does kill, the freeze mechanism provides a natural analgesic (Levine, 1997).

Between mammals of the same species the freeze response indicates submission, with the victorious animal recognising their dominance and leaving the subordinate animal alone.  In the majority of inter-personal threats between humans however, the advent of one party freezing is often either ignored or taken as consent to the assault (whether verbal, physical or sexual).

Flop occurs if, and when, the freeze mechanism fails.  The moment the threat increases, despite freeze having intended to put an end to the situation, the amygdala will trigger the ANS to swing from predominantly sympathetic activation to parasympathetic activation (Rothschild, 2000).  The body will shift from a position of catatonic musculature tension (as is observed in ‘freeze’) to a ‘floppy’ state, whereby muscle tension is lost and both body and mind become malleable (hippocampal and cortical functioning will very likely be severely impaired at this point). 


The survival purpose of the flop state is evident: if ‘impact’ is going to occur the likelihood of surviving it will be increased if the body yields, and psychologically, in the short-term at least, the situation will be more bearable if the higher brain functions are ‘offline’.  People who have elicited flop as a survival mechanism are very submissive and will make little or no outward protest concerning what is happening to them.  They will bend to the will of the person perceived as threatening in an attempt to stay alive.

Different survival strategies are ideally suited to certain threatening situations; for example, flight would be well employed upon hearing a fire alarm, yet to flee from a hungry tiger is inadvisable.  The reflexive response of the amygdala is informed by the genetically encoded information, shared by all humans, regarding the nature of certain threats (Levine, 1997), and the individual’s subjective experience that has resulted in the pairing of a fear response with certain stimuli (Cozolino, 2002).

Because the purpose of the five Fs is survival, success will be gauged in survival terms; “success doesn’t mean winning, it means surviving, and it doesn’t really matter how you get there.  The object is to stay alive until the danger is past.” (Levine, 1997:96).  Successfully used strategies will be reinforced and strategies employed but unsuccessful, will be less likely to be used in future.

A person who is successful in actively defending against a threat (i.e. utilizes friend, fight or flight) is less likely to become traumatized than someone who uses passive defences (freeze or flop) (Herman, 1992; van der Kolk 1996).  If active defences are weakened, by lack of success, and/or passive defences  strengthened through successful utilization, the likelihood of a person becoming traumatized and/or a repeat victim of trauma are increased......full article click below

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Psychological Trauma – What Every Trauma Worker Should by
Zoe Lodrick


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