Family dysfunction travels like wild fire from generation to generation until one brave soul turns around to face the flames. That person brings peace to the generations who came before them and spares the generations to come.
Q&A with Jules
How does talking to someone help?
When a nervous system is both alone and overwhelmed, memory gets stored in a different way. The way it's stored makes it hard to reach even while that neural network is activated. What this means is that traumas from our past, when we're reminded of them, can create behaviors now and we can't seem to find a way to stop them.
When painful things happen and it's not encoded as trauma, we often push it away so it stays isolated within our system. This makes sense, pain hurts. Of course we don't want to relive or think constantly about things that are painful for us. Unfortunately, the speed of emotional reactions means that if we are not in good relationship with our emotional self, that emotional self will drive us subconsciously and without the benefit of thoughtfulness and regulation.
All of this means that not enough can be said about undoing aloneness. Being in the presence of someone who cares, who listens deeply, who asks questions to help you reflect on your own inner process, can help you feel not alone. Being not alone is essential, but it's actually not the only thing that works.
The truth is that talking alone isn't the only answer. It also is essential to work with an understanding of neural integration and the disruption of long term potentiation patterns. When dealing with trauma memory reconsolidation is essential. Reconsolidation can occur through experiential work such as Sand Tray, ETT, EDMR, and IFS.
Memory reconsolidation can also be done while talking. We just need to talk in a particular way, making sure to highlight the entire neural network as it shows up. Often, this does involve having more awareness of the sensations in your body, movements that are waiting in the muscles, and images that are linked to the emotional process. So talking alone doesn't fix it, but undoing aloneness while following the brain's path to healing does.
What are you going to do with your one wild and precious life?
What is your first question for a client, and why?
"If we knocked this thing out of the park...if six months, a year, two years from now you're left saying 'That was worth every hour and every penny," what do you have in your life that you don't have now?"
I ask that because people usually come to therapy understanding that they are hurting but they rarely know what needs are underlying the pain, anger, anxiety, depression. I find the faster we get to understand what needs are not being met for you, the faster we get to know what we need to build.
What is the best thing that you have learned from one of your people?
I have learned two things that feel equally important to me.
One: connection is the natural state for all of us. Two: connection is best supported by good boundary.
With all my people, I see again and again how good boundaries make vulnerability more safe and vulnerability leads to connection. Connection supports us when life is overwhelming, when we can't face it alone. The truth is we aren't supposed to have to face life alone. I have learned from my people that strength is often found in leaning in and feeling safe enough to do so. I have also seen that learning to trust yourself is a huge part of safety. When we handle life well, it's so often the result of treating ourselves with love and respect and leaning in to those who love us too.
Jules does speaking and teaching engagements, and she speaks on a variety of topics including Interpersonal Neurobiology, Polyvagal Theory, Couples Counseling, and Therapeutic Presence.