Sometimes the missing piece of the puzzle miraculously appears. Leading inner child expert Cathryn Taylor, whose bestseller The Inner Child Workbook broke new ground in the mental health field in the 1980s, has spent the past two decades supporting the body, mind, heart and soul of those in need. And yet, there was still something she needed to support her clients more fully.
Enter the research of David Bercelli, Ph.D., and his revolutionary new Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE®).
Dr. Bercelli, who spent two decades living and working in nine countries providing workshops and recovery programs for international organizations, created TRE through his expertise in the area of trauma intervention and conflict resolution. This unique process reportedly helps to reduce: worry and anxiety, symptoms of PTSD, marital stress, workplace stress, poor sleep, muscle and back pain, and much more.
Cathryn Taylor, who regularly interviews noted holistic professionals for her Edge Talk Radio podcast “Inner Views,” learned about TRE during a talk with Eric Robins, M.D., a leading pioneer in the field of Mind-Body Medicine. The rest is history. Her regular visits to the Bay Area in Northern California gave her the opportunity to become certified as a TRE provider.
“It just fit into the last piece of what I offer, in terms of the healing modalities, so I really wanted to learn about it and now pass it on to my clients and to groups,” Cathryn said in an interview with The Edge.
Describe what someone would experience during a typical session of the TRE?
Cathryn Taylor: It is very simple, actually. It’s a series of seven exercises that were developed by Dr. David Bercelli, a trauma therapist in the Middle East and in Africa who has dealt with a lot of people who were living in war-torn areas and facing trauma daily. What he noticed was that whenever somebody responded to a trauma, they contracted and pulled their bodies inwardly, activating the psoas muscle deep in the body and stimulating other muscles that contract when we go into the fight-or-flight response.
He also noticed that children would automatically shake in response to this. Dr. Bercelli deducted that we were genetically encoded not only to protect ourselves, but also to release that contraction. However, as adults we’re socialized out of doing that because it’s just not cool to do that. It’s seen as us being either vulnerable or weak. So he was inspired to develop these seven exercises called TRE. What they do is sequentially build a charge in the body that invites the body to go into a shaking mechanism called a neurogenic tremor, which is simply the central nervous system’s innate way of releasing excess tension through a contraction and relaxation. Animals do it and children do it, and now this procedure teaches adults how to do it.
Can you give us a general outline of those seven exercises?
The first exercise is just grounding and connecting, and then you sequentially move up the body to the calf muscles and then the quadriceps, the buttocks, and ultimately up to the psoas muscles and the hip flexors. As you do that, you are building the charge. The seventh exercise is when you’re lying on the floor and you engage in the shaking mechanism by positioning your feet in a certain way. It takes about 40 minutes to actually go through the process.
What I love about it is it is self-administered, so after about four to six times with a provider you can really begin to do it on your own. You are stretching and relaxing the muscles, so the TRE process allows the body to go back and complete the fight-or-flight response that got frozen in the body.
It is a very gentle process, and a nonverbal process, which I really like. Sometimes people know what’s being released, sometimes they don’t. It’s a very nice companion to EFT, which is my other certification. EFT tapping is more targeted. You’re using sequences to address certain issues with specificity, which makes tapping so effective. The body is invited to release what is dislodged through the tapping and resolved in the electrical circuitry of our body through EFT, but now the body has a chance to finally relax and release that stress response so that we’re not walking around in that hypervigilant posture ready to respond to stress.
In terms of energy therapy and everything else I do, because I help others with so much childhood trauma, it is just a nice combination. I really like TRE because it is applicable not only to dramatic traumas like what David was experiencing, but day-to-day traumas, and life-event traumas. People can integrate it into their daily regimen, like I do now for 10 or 15 minutes when I come home from the gym. It’s recommended when you first start to do it only two or three times a week as your body is getting used to it. Each person then integrates it according to what their needs are.
What was your experience like the first time you worked with TRE?
The first weekend I did it for three days and I had a few experiences. First, I noticed a significant decrease in my reactivity, biochemically. It told me that certain biochemical responses that I had, like to wheat and different carbohydrates, had been locked in my body from a previous experience. When I did a series of TRE exercises, it somehow diminished that.
I also noticed immediately that I slept better and that my body felt like it had permission to begin to release tensions on its own. During the last night of the workshop, I think I slept on my shoulder wrong or something, but it woke me up in the middle of the night. I was half awake, so I wasn’t really aware of what I was doing, and all of a sudden my shoulder just started working it out for me. I deducted that I had already established a relationship with my body that invited it to release tension and trauma. Like David said, I was genetically encoded to release it and my body had enough trust in me at that point to know that it was okay to do it.
The other thing I noticed was my response to my brother’s health-care crisis. At night I was able to go home and apply the TRE and reduce the stress in response to that immediate crisis. I found TRE to be very applicable and started using it on myself right away. When I came back from my last training in April, I began to share it with clients and I now see what a benefit it is to my entire modality of the inner child and soul work, especially under the umbrella of the Akashic Records. We go into it with an intention and then at the end of our work, whatever the body has dislodged, TRE then releases. It’s pretty impactful.
Who would potentially benefit from these exercises?
Everyone. Anyone who experiences stress. If you get caught in a traffic jam. If you get stressed when you go to work. If you have a fight with a loved one. If you get pulled over by the police. That stress, if it’s not released, stores in your body. A lot of us resolve those things on our own, but if we have a history of stress, especially post-traumatic stress, then we are cued to respond to events as life threatening, whether they are or not.
I use TRE a lot because I work a lot with alcoholics, I work a lot with the inner child work, and I work a lot with soul issues. Now, another interesting thing to consider is TRE’s ability to help wherever we have DNA programming from even a past life that is anchored in our posturing in this lifetime. I’ve even worked with people where it’s dislodged contractions which then open up a doorway for a past life experience.There is just no place that it cannot have an impact.
So as a new TRE provider, you will be available to offer this to others soon?
I’m going to start teaching it at Echo Bodine’s Center for Spiritual Development & Intuitive Living by the 1st of January. I’m going to be offering an ongoing drop-in group, so people will always have a place where they can get the support.
This is really new to the Twin Cities. I think there is just one other person from here who is now going to through the training. There are some certified providers in Wisconsin (Eau Claire, Milwaukee, and a number in the Madison area). So, I’m very excited to be introducing it, not only to The Edge community, but to the Twin Cities at large.
So this new process perfectly complements the inner child soul work that you have been doing for years?
Yes, because so much of the tension that is stored in our body came from that. Most people, especially those who are beginning to do their inner child work, don’t have the language for it. For instance, I worked with a woman the other day and we started out by doing the TRE exercises. Afterward, I asked, “Now, what did you notice?” And she said, “Well, I noticed the tension right here in my shoulder.” At that point, I was able to do all of the other techniques that I have.
We were already working within her Akashic Records. I find that the Akashic Records give us the context, and the inner child and soul meditations that we do commingle with my form of interactive EFT tapping to really clean everything out on so many levels. So when we start out with the TRE exercises, it sets in motion the piece of work that we’re supposed to do that day. It really can be sandwiched at either end of the process.
I truly feel, Tim, that this is the missing piece in my work. I feel like my entire modality that I’ve been blessed to develop and have been given over the years is really a comprehensive model that helps people get from where they are to where they want to be in a very condensed manner. It doesn’t have to take forever anymore. It helps them reestablish a harmonious relationship with their body, a harmonious relationship with their emotional self, which is represented in the inner child, and a harmonious relationship with their Higher Self. It’s adaptable to all levels of healing: body, mind, heart and soul.
On the whole, is the public now getting more of a grasp of the importance of acknowledging the inner child?
I really think they are because it is subtly integrated even into the media and televison shows now, where it’s pretty common to show a dialogue between an adult self and a younger version of themselves. I think people are a little bit more adapted to it at this point, and now there is so much research that shows that what we learned was really anchored in the belief systems formed in childhood. With neuroplasticity and the new brain science that has really taken hold at the beginning of this century, there is a new hope that all of what we experienced in the past can now be reworked and redone. We don’t feel like we have to be stuck with what we experienced in childhood. We can rewire the brain.
I think people are much more fluid with the many dimensions of self, and I think that parallels our opening up to other dimensions of past lives, as well as the expansion of our beliefs in the physical and the non-physical selves. Since 2012, we have just taken giant leaps in opening up on all those levels. That makes my work a lot easier because a lot more people are willing to navigate through those different aspects of self, both soul and inner child.
It’s opening us up to acknowledging that we’re multidimensional.
Exactly! And there is so much evidence now that the veil between the physical and the non-physical worlds is getting thinner and thinner. I am going through the process right now, with my brother having transitioned yesterday, and as sad as I am on my human level, I can’t help but be so full of joy. I have had so many experiences with him just in this last week that have expanded my ability to believe that the world is changing and our belief system is changing. I think it’s a real exciting time to navigate in all of those dimensions.
What is the value of exploring one’s inner child, in terms of understanding that everything happens for a reason?
I think that’s where accessing the Akashic Records has been so powerful for me. What the Akashic Records do for my work and the work that I do with others is give us the spiritual purpose of our pain.
We have experiences in our adult life that are tumultuous and have contrast and they inspire us to grow, and then someone finds themselves in my office. We open the records and look at the bigger picture and where in their childhood they feel a certain vibrational experience similar to what they’re now experiencing. We then ask in the infinite wisdom of the soul what it wanted you to experience by having this wound as a child and to then re-experience it in adulthood.
We get the timeline and the continuum of where the pieces of work are — and then that’s where the tapping comes in. We go in and we resolve it in current time and get the illuminated adult in charge. We go back and heal the wound of the inner child, who has carried that soul legacy. Often what the inner child needs is the purpose to their pain, to know it wasn’t their fault, and that they didn’t deserve it.
What a lot of people don’t understand is that we have the soul experience of our wounds and we have the personality’s experience. The personality is not always privy to what the soul’s agenda is and sometimes there is a disconnect between those two, so we have to help the personality process feeling like a victim, which is a real, valid feeling, and that has to be addressed. That can’t be whitewashed with, “Well, what’s the spiritual purpose? Come over here.” You can’t do that if someone is still feeling victimized, because there are unmet needs with that part who is feeling the victim that need to be addressed, acknowledged and healed.
That’s always the first part, and that’s where the work with the inner child is very tender. I never go into the soul purpose until that inner child is on board and has gotten those needs met and is recognized for what it carried on behalf of the soul, whether it knew it or not.
So, now with the TRE you can provide even more support for your clients.
I think the EFT really addresses the needs of the child, and TRE is addressing the needs of the body — the emotional stress that we experienced as a child that got locked in the body. That’s how I see it: TRE really is for my body, and EFT is where I help an individual process the pain in those three time frames: the adult self, and getting current, and neutralizing the immediate stress; healing the inner child with the interactive tapping; and going back to the time where the soul was caught.
Sometimes a fragment of the soul gets caught in another dimension of time. We’re here in 2018, and we have a fight with our boss and we feel tension. Perhaps we have gone back to the inner child that had a compromising experience with maybe an abusive parent, or perhaps we go back to a past life where that same vibration of tension resulted in life-or-death consequences. When that’s activated, the post-traumatic stress from each of those time frames spreads through time and all of a sudden in 2018 we’re reacting to current situations in ways that the current situation does not warrant. We feel like we’re crazy. We feel like we’re overreacting. We can’t understand why we’re so sensitive.
One of the things I always say is that somewhere in time, this response makes sense and has a context. Our job, meaning my client’s and mine, is to find where that is and to respond to that need, so you in 2018 can be free of that. In a nutshell, that is what the work does. Tapping does that, inner child meditation and soul meditations do that, Akashic records gives us a context, tapping then neutralizes it, and then TRE is that final component where it allows our body to release it so we can really be free — vibrationally free to expand.
This whole process that you just described really applies to every single human being.
Absolutely! For those who are on a spiritual path and want to see the bigger picture, there are just many avenues to do that now, but not everybody is here to do this work. Not everybody is here to have a spiritual experience. Some people are here just learning how to navigate in a physical dimension. They’ll never find my work because it would not be applicable to them. There are different stages of growth that people are experiencing and have contracted for, and that has to be acknowledged and respected.
Is there a final message you would like to leave with our readers?
Yes, you deserve to feel good, and there are ways to do that. Reach out for help so you can get on that path towards your ultimate goals.
For more information on Cathryn Taylor and the Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises, contact her at 612.710.7720 or visit EFTforyourinnerchild.com. To learn more about Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises, visit Traumaprevention.com.