Infant Events can Shape Sense of Self
It’s amazing to see how identity formation, meaning who you think you are deep in the brain, can be shaped by early events, those pre-cognitive 0-18 months experiences! Response behaviors at that time can set templates for adult and child behavior, especially under stress. Here’s how it works:
- Experience is recorded in implicit cellular memory
- The amygdala (security chief who is scanning for survival) is awake in utero, and linked to associative memory of the hippocampus, deep in the limbic brain (social-emotional)
- Response patterns of the body at that time make a neural pathway that becomes coupled to sensory motor responses and deemed necessary for survival.
- Under stress a child or adult will default to early survival responses, even if not useful. This is hyper-vigilant cueing. The perceptions are filtering present experience to match the past, and utilizing past survival responses.
Good News is Sense of Self can be shifted
Events that were shocking based on infant perceptions (prolonged time in the crib, a depressed mom or dad, invasive procedures, can be repaired when adults understand. Otherwise, these create body response coping mechanisms; ie, dissociation, going numb, hyper or hypo arousal. That’s why an infant needs an attuned adult nearby.
The good news is that as somatic practitioners, we can meet those brain states and re-pattern not only physically but at the interface of the social emotional limbic brain as well! We can elicit deep resiliency to stress, and long-lasting changes in self-perception.
Learn More About Early Sense of Self
Join the somatic conversation. Annie Brook is providing some education opportunities to find out more. You can join this conversation in 3 ways:
- Listen in to recorded radio interview from last week: (If you have trouble getting on, search ITunes for Mind and Body in Motion).
- Hear the new KGNU live Interview that will be recorded Tuesday, Dec 2, 9 am MST.
- If you are in Boulder, come to the Live Author Talk at the Boulder Bookstore: Dec 3rd, Wed 7:30 PM
Don’t Let Your Sense of Self be Compromised from the past
We are not victims to our early experience. It is important to unwind the encoded beliefs and body recorded patterns and provide new options. Here are 7 steps to do so:
- Become curious about your stress responses
- Imagine what was happening during your earliest experiences (conception to 18 months) Allow this to help surface pre-cognitive memory
- Tend and befriend the story…from the infant’ perspective.
- Attend to any emotional body discomfort that surfaces as you remember
- Release any emotions that surface from that time
- Explore through movement and release finding ease
- Integrate the event and interrupt the associated stress response