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TitleThe Body Remembers: The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment
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Total Pages221
Table of Contents
	On Building Bridges
	Working with the Body Does Not Require Touch
	The False Memory Controversy
	Organization of This Book
	A Disclaimer
Part I: Theory
	1.  Overview of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): The Impact of Trauma on Body and Mind
		Charlie and the Dog, Part I
		The Symptomatology of PTSD
		Distinguishing Stress, Traumatic Stress, PTS, and PTSD
		Survival and the Nervous System
		Defensive Response to Remembered Threat
		Dissociation, Freezing, and PTSD
		Consequences of Trauma and PTSD
	2.  Development, Memory, and the Brain
		The Developing Brain
		What is Memory?
	3.  The Body Remembers: Understanding Somatic Memory
		The Sensory Roots of Memory
		Charlie and the Dog, Part II
		The Autonomic Nervous System: Hyperarousal and the Reflexes of Fight, Flight, and Freeze
		The Somatic Nervous System: Muscles, Movement, and Kinesthetic Memory
		Emotions and the Body
	4.  Expressions of Trauma Not Yet Remembered: Dissociation and Flashbacks
		Dissociation and the Body
Part II: Practice
	5.  First, Do No Harm
		On Braking and Accelerating
		Evaluation and Assessment
		The Role of the Therapeutic Relationship in Trauma Therapy
		Developing and Reacquainting Resources
		Oases, Anchors, and the Safe Place
		The Importance of Theory
		Respecting Individual Differences
		Ten Foundations for Safe Trauma Therapy
	6.  The Body as Resource
		Body Awareness
		Making Friends with Sensations
		The Body as Anchor
		The Body as Gauge
		The Body as Brake
		The Body as Diary: Making Sense of Sensations
		Somatic Memory as Resource
		Facilitating Trauma Therapy Using the Body as Resource
	7.  Additional Somatic Techniques for Safer Trauma Therapy
		Dual Awareness
		Muscle Toning: Tension vs. Relaxation
		Physical Boundaries
		The Question of Client-Therapist Touch
		Mitigating Session Closure
	8.  Somatic Memory Becomes Personal History
		Beware the Wrong Road
		Separating Past from Present
		Working with the Aftermath of the Trauma First
		Bridging the Implicit and the Explicit
		Charlie and the Dog, the Final Episode
Document Text Contents
Page 110

that the hospital was his only option. His wife forced him to call me for an
appointment, and she had to drive him as his anxiety was too high to come
alone. During the intake interview Arnold could only complain about all of the
faculties he had lost: He could no longer work, he had lost friends, everyone was
giving up on him, he was anxious all the time, he could do nothing for himself. I
picked up on that last comment and observed, “I see you are clean shaven. Who
shaved you today?” “Why, I did,” he replied. “Who dressed you, then?” I asked
further. “I dressed myself,” he answered a bit suspiciously. I pressed on, “Who
fed you your breakfast?” “I didn’t eat much,” he asserted. “That’s okay,” I
answered, “but what you did eat, who fed you?” “Well I did, of course!” he
answered, beginning to get a little irritated with me. By the end of that session
Arnold was slightly encouraged. He had so convinced himself of total
helplessness, he had forgotten that he was still quite capable of taking care of
his own basic needs. Of course this one intervention was no cure, but it was a
microstep that enabled Arnold to remain at home.



Many trauma clients benefit from engaging in activities that give them a break
from their trauma. What works will be different for each, but diverting activities
have common features. An oasis must be an activity that demands concentration
and attention. Watching TV and reading do not usually work well, as it is easy to
wander into one’s own thoughts. Procedures that have not yet become automatic
often do the trick. For example, knitting will work for some, but not for those
who have been doing it all their lives—unless, of course, an exceedingly difficult
pattern is chosen. For some it will be car repair, for others gardening; many find
computer games or solitaire work well. Whatever is chosen, its value as an oasis
will be recognized through body awareness (see the next chapter), by the
reduction in hyperarousal as well as quieting of internal dialogue.


The concept of anchors sprang from neuro-linguistic programming (NLP)

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(Bandler & Grinder, 1979), but has been adapted for use in several trauma
therapies. Basically, an anchor is a concrete, observable resource (as opposed to
an internalized resource like self-confidence). It is preferable that an anchor be
chosen from the client’s life, so that the positive memories in both body and
mind can be utilized. Examples include a person (grandmother, a special teacher,
a spouse), an animal (favorite pet), a place (home, a site in nature), an object (a
tree, a boat, a stone), an activity (swimming, hiking, gardening). A suitable
anchor is one that gives the client a feeling (in body and emotion) of relief and
When working with trauma, it is useful for each client to establish at least one

anchor to use as a braking tool anytime the therapy gets rough. Anchors can also
be improvised by introducing a previously noted resource.


Anchors can also be used to insert a different spin on a traumatic event—not
changing the fact of it, but the internal impression.

Page 221

page 26: I Remember It Well from GIGI. Words by Alan Jay Lerner. Music by Frederick Loewe. Copyright
© 1957, 1958 by Chappell & Co. Copyright Renewed. International Copyright Secured. All Rights

Piet Hein Grooks © Rhyme and Reason (p. 37), Timing Toast (p. 77), A Toast (p. 100) are reproduced with
kind permission from Piet Hein a/s, DK-5500 Middelfart, Denmark.

The author welcomes correspondence from readers. She may be reached at: Babette Rothschild
P.O. Box 241778
Los Angeles, California 90024
Telephone: 310-281-9646
Fax: 310-281-9729
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:

Copyright © 2000 by Babette Rothschild All rights reserved
Printed in the United States of America First Edition

For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to Permissions, W. W.
Norton & Company, Inc., 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110

Rothschild, Babette
The body remembers: the psychophysiology of trauma and trauma treatment / Babette Rothschild.

p. cm. — (Norton professional book) Includes bibliographical references and index.
1. Post-traumatic stress disorder—Psychological aspects. 2. Mind

and body therapies. 3. Post-traumatic stress disorder—Physiological aspects. I. Title. II. Series.
RC489.M53 R68 2000

W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10110

W. W. Norton & Company, Ltd., 10 Coptic Street, London WC1A 1PU

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