Book Review: The Revolutionary Trauma Release ProcessSusannah Kent June 1, 2010
Author: David Berceli, PhD
Publisher: Namaste Publishing
Book Publication: 2008
Traumatized people feel fear, pain, isolation, helplessness, and depression. Unfortunately trauma, in some form or other, is an inevitable part of life. However, trauma specialist, David Berceli, believes its effects need not be a “life sentence.”
Working around the world providing trauma relief and recovery programs, Berceli has discovered that “as a human species, we are biologically designed to experience, endure and survive trauma.” In his thought provoking and inspiring book, The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process, Berceli has provided a practical guide for trauma victims to end the victimization; one which fills the gap left by techniques that only address the cognitive and emotional elements of trauma, not the physical ones.
In this book, Berceli discusses various types of trauma; shares his own personal traumatic experiences in conflict ridden zones; and points to people such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa as beacons of trauma recovery – for they not only survived their traumatic experiences, but “came through them in such a way as to change the lives of millions of people.” He also explains how the body and mind cope with trauma, revealing his unique series of physical exercises to release trauma quickly and effectively.
While working in Lebanon, Berceli was trapped in a bombed out building with seven other people for several weeks. This experience led to a very important discovery for Berceli and his work with trauma release. He writes, “One day there was particularly intense fighting with tanks and mortar shells…No matter how accustomed we became to the explosions, each shock wave caused us to jerk into the fetal position.” This, he discovered, is “a genetically encoded response that’s designed to protect us.”
Looking more closely into this phenomenon, Berceli concluded that the body’s response, when exposed to stressful events, is to contract the flexor muscles at the back of the body (psoas). To heal from these trauma contractions, the muscles must be able to let go of the tension and relax. If not, “they will develop into patterns of chronic tension that will eventually create additional bodily dysfunction.”
For Berceli, the solution became obvious and simple – develop the ability to turn off this instinctual muscular response to stress. The method for achieving this became the Trauma Release Process™. The process consists of a series of eight simple exercises designed to evoke body tremors. Berceli explains, “Much the same as instinctual tremors in animals, tremors in humans…extinguish the trauma by helping us turn off our fight, flight, or freeze mechanism. They also discharge the excess energy from an aborted fight-or-flight response…When these “neurogenic” tremors are evoked at the powerful center of the body where the protective pattern of contraction is created, the shaking reverberates throughout the entire body, travelling along the spine releasing deep chronic tension from the sacrum to the cranium.”
According to Berceli, problems arise because most of us follow the prevailing belief that tremors indicate weakness, or that something is wrong. This ignores the all important purpose and therapeutic value of these tremors. With The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process, and the proven effective, easy to learn exercises associated with it, Berceli has provided an opportunity for anyone, anywhere to reduce stress and anxiety, and to recover from life’s everyday, as well as extraordinary, traumas.