Tip #1: Don't Force It

We live in a hyper-productive society. It’s all about go-go-go and get-get-get. Clients with the go-getter attitude often want to have the “best” shake experience possible and get the most out of each TRE session. They try to force it.

The paradox is that it’s often this outcome-oriented mindset that makes the TRE experience, less than optimal.

With TRE, it’s all about the process, not the outcome. It’s about letting go. It’s about surrendering. It’s about relinquishing control. It’s about having faith in the body’s ability to heal, and not manipulating anything with your mind. It’s about trusting that the body will heal when it’s ready to.

Going into a TRE session, I often tell clients to not expect anything at all and accept whatever experience happens. Have a truly open mind. For example, tell yourself, if your body decides it’s not ready to shake today it’s ok.

This ability to let go, is actually what TRE is all about. When we are in stress, tension, overwhelm, and trauma, we naturally tense up and try to control life because we are living in fear or red alert. The irony is that we can’t control life, and we must learn to have faith, trust, take down our guard.

When you enter this TRE state without any outcome in mind, in a state of curiosity and openness, is when the magic really happens.

Tip #2: Set and Setting

“Set and setting” is phrase that originates from psychedelic drug subculture.

According to wikipedia, “Set and setting means one’s mindset (shortened to “set“) and the physical and social environment (the setting) in which the user has the experience.

Basically, it’s saying don’t be in an altered state while walking at night through a spooky graveyard. Try to find a warm, safe, comfortable environment before starting a journey.

TRE is also a journey, and like psychedelics, can have mind altering effects. It’s important to learn how to optimize your environment prior to starting a TRE journey.

The goal is to create a safe and ceremonial space. Safety is the key to creating a transformative healing experience. Without feeling truly safe, it will be impossible to let go of your guard, and let the body process the trauma. Ceremony is what creates at atmosphere of intention, depth, connection with a higher power, and focus.

Here are a list of recommendations to set the mood.

  1. TEMPERATURE- Make sure the temperature is right. Consider having a blanket next to you in case you get cold.
  2. CUSHION- Don’t try to shake it out on tile or hard wood floor. Find a carpet or a yoga mat. Also, bring a pillow because pillows are super soft and comfortable..duh!
  3. LIGHTING- Dim the lights. You’ll be laying on the ground so when you look up, make sure the light is not bright or blinding. Too dark can also be scary and disorienting.
  4. TIME- Make sure you have time. Don’t try to squeeze a TRE session in between appointments during your busy schedule. Make sure you have “down time” after to relax, unwind, and chill.
  5. FOOD- Eat a light meal before. You don’t want to be thinking about a Big Mac during your session. You also don’t want to be stuffed prior to a TRE session. You might be releasing more than you wanted to!
  6. PEOPLE and PETS- You don’t want lots of distractions or noises during the session and you don’t want to feel judged by other people. However, having people with you can have a huge positive impact on the experience. Having friends or loved ones participate, or even observe the experience in a non judgmental way, can make you feel safe and grounded.
  7. VIBE- There’s nothing like incense, essential oils, crystals, and music to soften the mood- if that’s what your into. Items like these is what can create a “ceremonial” like experience. All cultures around the world use different forms of symbolic objects to create a sense of ceremony.

Tip #3: Peel the Onion

Like an onion, you have many layers to you.

Trauma also has many layers. There’s those micro traumas like sitting in rush hour traffic while running late to work. And then there’s those real traumas, those deep inner wounds of neglect and abuse that may date back to your childhood. And then there’s everything in between, being turned down by your crush, spraining your ankle, and a whole lifetime of unprocessed emotions. And that’s a lot!

So we must go slow during TRE. We don’t want to release a lifetime of trauma in a single session. That would be WAY to much to process in a single sitting. It would do more harm than good.

So it’s important to peel one layer of the onion at at time. Trauma researcher, Peter Levine, PhD coined the term “titration” to talk about processing trauma in little bite size piece.

So you may be asking, how do I go about titrating, or peeling the onion?

Well, your body is brilliant and has millennia of healing experience embedded into your DNA, so most times you don’t have to “do” anything.  The first step is to understand this and have patience with the process. If you’re first couple TRE experiences aren’t super profound…then good! It’s your body titrating, and only allowing what it can handle. Keep shaking and peeling the onion!

However, there are times were clients start crying or have emotional flooding, which is a sign too much is happening too soon. Also, clients may start to disassociate, meaning they numb out, they disconnect from their body. Sometimes this can be noticed when their eyes roll backwards. In either case- emotional flooding or dissociation, are signs that the experience is too intense to handle. In either of these cases, it’s recommend to STOP the TRE session immediately. You can try the Trauma Release Exercises again in a couple days or so, but try to limit the shake experience to no more than five minutes to avoid this from happening. Always remember to peel the onion one layer at a time.