Self-Regulation Training (SRT), known to some as the Melrose Healing Method, is an efficient, practical and naturalistic way of healing the effects of stress and trauma. It is the unique result of the merging of my training as an Ivy-league schooled educational psychologist, certification as a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP), practice as a public school educator, years of study of neuroscience, metaphysics, and meditation, as well as my own personal life experiences as a traumatized person.
Somatic Experiencing (SE), the short-term trauma-healing approach developed by Dr. Peter Levine (www.traumahealing.com), has been a great influence on my method. In the 15 years since my SE certification, I have adapted SE to meet the needs of my clientele through a natural and gradual process of simplification. My own personal recovery from the effects of trauma and addiction, and the 23 years I’ve been an educator and psychologist, have allowed my work to become simpler with better results.
SRT, like SE, recognizes the limits of talk therapy and other treatment modalities that use catharsis and other activating techniques in order to “discharge” stressful or traumatic material. Such stimulating techniques may offer temporary relief, but their benefits are rarely long-term. These more activating approaches, in their lack of a complete understanding of the impact of stress and trauma on the brain, can overwhelm the nervous system and re-traumatize rather than heal.
Like SE, SRT helps “renegotiate” patterns of arousal and anxiety by carefully supporting the body’s natural ability to release over-activation. By combining and interweaving elements of stress and trauma with strengths and resources, a new, complete and more empowering experience is created, thus creating new, more powerful neural pathways in the brain. This is when clients begin to notice a new and greater repertoire of emotional and behavioral choices. They move from being stuck in rage, helplessness, and anxiety to a fluid experience of empowerment, peace, and resiliency thereby strengthening and building resistance to future stress and trauma.
Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, a leading medical doctor, scientific researcher, and teacher at Harvard Medical Center stated that the effects of stress and trauma rob people of their capacity to “be here.” He went on to say that “verbal meaning-making is a secondary part of what patients need to benefit from.” He said that what they need more primarily is to be helped to “move through physical experience and gain the mastery that traditional psychotherapy [has been] unable to help people with. Therapy needs to consist of helping people to be in their bodies and to understand their bodily sensations. And that is certainly not something that any of the traditional psychotherapies have helped people to do very well.”