Human Suffering

man in blue and brown plaid dress shirt touching his hair

As human’s, it seems that we are bound to suffer at one time or another during our lives. Uncomfortable experiences seem to be part of the human condition. We experience emotions and bodily sensations that are unchosen and often unwanted. Of course, when something is unwanted, our first reaction is to want to stop or change it. Unfortunately, with emotions and bodily sensations trying to struggle with them only seems to make matters worse and increase our suffering.

Trauma is also important to consider when we are talking about suffering. When we experience something traumatic, that experience seems to change us, and this includes how our nervous system is ‘wired’. The nervous system not only includes the brain, but also stretches right throughout the body from the tips of our toes to the tops of our heads and the tips of our fingers. In psychology and related fields we have learned that trauma is held in the body. At times our body and brain can send us accurate signals to engage in self-protection, while at other times ‘faulty’ warnings can occur.

I learned about these aspects of human suffering from several leaders in the field of acceptance, compassion, and trauma based therapies and research:

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Steven C. Hayes.
  • Compassion Focussed Therapy, Paul Gilbert.
  • Trauma and the Body, Bessel Van Der Kolk.
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Mindfulness, John Briere.
  • Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Pat Ogden.

If you would like to discuss your relationship with uncomfortable experiences and how you interact with them, you can make an appointment at one of the locations listed on the welcome page of my website:

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