DAVID BERCELI, PHD Foreword bv Dr. Robert Scaer. MD
The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process Transcend Your Toughest Times
© 2008 by David Berceli
First Printing 2008
Second Printing 2009 All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written perrnission from the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations used in book reviews and critical articles. Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication Berceli, David, '953-
The revolutionary trauma release process: transcend your toughest times / David Berceli. ISBN 978'1-897238-4°-0 (pbk.) I. Post-traumatic stress disorder-Treatment-Popular works. 2. Psychic trauma
Treatment-Popular works. l. Title.
Published by NAMASTE PUBLISHING. Inc.
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Distributed in North America by HAMPTON ROADS, c/o Red Wheel Weiser, Newburyport, MA Cover design by Gabreyhl Zintoll Interior book design and typesetting by Val Speidel Pages r5-17, Excerpts from "Hell and Back" by Chris Rose 10/22/06
© 2008 The Times-Picayune
Publishing Co. All rights reserved. U sed with pennission of The Times-Picayune. Printed and bound by Friesens Printing
DISCLAIMER: The information presented in this book is selective rather than exhaustive. Medical and
psychological information is constantly evolving, and the reader should exercise particular care in forming conclusions based solely on this book. For these reasons, neither David BerceH nor the publisher assume responsibility or liability arising from any error or omission, or from the use of any information, in this book. In no event shall TRAPS, Trauma Release Process LLC, David Berceli, or Namasle Publishing, Inc. be liable for any direct. indirect, punitive. incidental, special, or consequential damages arising out of or
in any way
connected with the use of these
The exercises presented in this book are not intended to cure or heal illnesses associated with trauma, only to release the effects of trauma in the musculature, and they should not be taken to be a substitute for appro priate trauma recovery procedures of a medical or psychological nature. For specific diagnosis, treatment, or courses of action for trauma recovery, the reader should always consult a licensed mental health professional who can discuss personal symptoms and appropriate treatment. These exercises should not be used by pregnant women, infants, or children. They should also not be used by any individual who has serious
medical conditions such as a heart condition. irregular blood pressure, or
any other medical condition that requires strict regulation, without the approval and supelVision of a med ical doctor trained to provide such guidance. Although this book outlines a self-administered trauma recovery process. specific individuals with frag ile psychological defenses. a complex history of repeated or multiple traumas, or those with restricting phys ical limitations or injuries such as knee, back, pelvic, or other rnusc1e, tendon, or bone injuries should consult their medical professional prior to performing these exercises.
Dedicated to the many people who have blessed me with the opportunity to accompany them in their trauma recovery process.
Acknowledgments Foreword by Robert Scaer, M D
PART I I MAKING SENSE OF STRESS, ANXIETY, AND TRAUMA I.
Life Is Traumatic
A Really Different A pproach
A lign Yourself with What Is
When L ife Turns Up the Heat
Trauma Is Individual in Nature
A Shock to the System
Learning to " Suck It Up"
Stress and Family Life
Insight from Hurricane Katrina
A Life Sentence?
When a Professional Isn't Available
A Window Opens
"Help Me Heal Myself"
Clues from an Ancient People
A Cry for Help
Designed to Handle Trauma
Beyond "Talking It Out"
When Life Doesn't Work Out the Way It's Supposed To
Getting Inside Our Head
How the Brain Processes Trauma
Trauma Can Wreck Your Health
How Illness Results from Trauma
How Our Instant-on Button Gets Stuck
A Protective System Gone Awry
Stuck in the Past
Resurrecting the Past
Beyond the Therapist's Couch
The Wisdom of the Body
It Takes More Than Traditional Counseling
Bringing the Body into the Picture
Getting at the Muscles
How the Body Copes with Trauma
Trembling with Fright
Tremoring Is Good for Us
If You Tremble Are You Out of Control?
Holding It in
Testing the Theory
All Tensed Up
What Your Gut Instinct Is
When Objectivity Is I mpaired
Drowning in Trauma
Wearing Us Down
Am I Going Crazy?
A Personal Experience
Home from the Battlefront
Clues to Trauma·induced Behavior
Breaking the Silence
The Women's Movement Opened Our Eyes
Resolving Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
" My Body Is Racing at 1000 RPM"
The Opium Sensation
A One-Two Punch Why We Sometimes Freeze U p
Identifying Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
"Things Like That Don't Happen to Us"
Traumatized Children Become Traumatized Adults
Reversing Generations of Neglect
A Unique Band of People
A Price We Can Afford
Trauma in the Workplace
Trust Is Essential
Encoded Not to Trust
Signs of Trauma in the Workplace
Mending Strained Relationships
Fostering Corporate Longevity
Healing Our Divisions
Reconnecting Alienated Parties
I Hated Everyone to the Point of Paranoia"
How We Learn to Discriminate
Stereotyping Is a Defense
" God No Longer Existed for Me"
A Shattering Experience
A Spiritual Awakening
Our Spiritual Self
Solitude-a Key to Reinventing Ourselves
Forgiving Life for Its "Failings"
Forgiveness May Not Come Easily
"I Was More Terrified and Angry Than M y Family"
Take Responsibility for Your Wellbeing
Tough Times Can Make You Stronger
Making Sense of Traumatic Times
Mother Teresa Shines a Light
T rauma As Our Teacher
T rust in the Goodness of Life
No Way But Forward
A Soldier Shows the Way
"Even Death Was Better Than This Inner Numbness"
"I Am Still Alive!"
Sleepwalking Through Life
The Body and the Present Moment
Tremors and the Body's History
Spirituality Through the Body
Tremors and the Body
Tremors and Consciousness
Tremors and Physics
PART II / THE TRAUMA RELEASE PROCESS (TRP)TM 135
The Trauma Release Process™
Your Tension Is Unique to You
A Word of Caution
Personnel Working in Trauma Environments
The Labyrinth of Negotiation and Mediation
A Vibrational Approach
To HAVE WORKE D in so many countries, with such large traumatized pop ulations, has been overwhelming in both challenging and encouraging ways_ Without these global human experiences, I could not have learned as much as I have about the collective struggle of humanity. I have received a great deal of support from friends and family, which has truly sustained me. Among them are my mother and father, sisters Denise and Debi, brothers Frank and Michael, and my sister-in-law Kathy. My dear friends Richard, Michael and Kerry, Riccardo, Bob and Jim, Sherry, Anne, and Robert have always supported me with their loving care and patience. Again and again they have shown me the warmth and encour agement of true and valued friendship, which is an important part of our human potential. These relationships helped sustain me and encourage me to continue my journey of human exploration. Special thanks go to Constance Kellough, President and Publisher at Namaste Publishing, for seeing the value of this work and opening the door to take it into every corner of the world. Thanks must also be given to my editor David Ord, Namaste Publishing's E ditorial Director, who tirelessly guided me through the process of writing in a coherent and meaningful manner.
DAVID BERCEL! spent much of his career in war zones, including Lebanon, the Palestinian West Bank, Israel, Uganda, Sudan, Yemen, and Ethiopia. It was in Lebanon that he made a trenchant observation about him self and his co-workers when huddled against the wall in a building being shelled by mortars. He noted that, in response to the concussion of an exploding mortar shell, each person in the room startled and assumed a posture in which their shoulders and hips contracted toward each other as if they were going into a ball. He intuitively recognized this as a universal response to danger and therefore instinctual in all of us. With his expertise as a therapeutic body worker, David realized that repetitive activation of the muscles that create this flexion could result in tension building up in these muscles. He also surmised that releasing this tension could have many beneficial effects. With careful analysis, David determined that one specific muscle, the psoas, played a large role in this process. The result is the groundbreaking Trauma Release Process (TRpTM) described in this remarkable book. Application of these exercises throughout the world has allowed clients to achieve a sense of release,
relaxation, and calmness. Often, even emotional states from old trauma are mitigated. I met David several years ago through an organization devoted to fos tering resiliency and health in returning Iraq veterans. When David told me about his work, I immediately recognized the rationale for the effectiveness of his exercises in healing trauma and chronic back pain through discharging the tension in muscles. Since then we have corre sponded and collaborated on many projects devoted to the healing of trauma. I personally have used and taught the Trauma Release Process™ to friends and patients with consistently remarkable results.
The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process is the result of David's long j ourney of discovering and perfecting this novel an d widely applicable form of trauma therapy. It serves as a useful manual for learning these exercises on one's own. One of the unique features of the exercises is that they can be learned and practiced as a therapeutic self-help skill, as well used as an adjunct to other forms of trauma therapy. Helplessness is a universal state in the trauma victim, and gaining control of their symptoms, their body, and their life is an essential part of the healing process. This book shows how to achieve this. - Robert Scaer, M D , Author of The Body Bears the Burden: Trauma,
Dissociation, and Disease, and The Trauma Spectrum: Hidden Wounds and Human Resiliency.