When in conflict, the tension holds both sides of one and the same field. In contrast, when in trauma, the field is shattered. There is no longer a clear polarity as there is with parts of a whole. What exists is only parts, multiple poles and shattered meanings.

Whereas in conflict our task is to integrate the ‘other’, in trauma our task is to welcome and work with each part and its ‘other’. When we bring an understanding of trauma into this binary world, there is no sense of wholeness into which to integrate the ‘not me’ or the disturbing part as we do in Processwork using ‘U’ (‘how I sense my wholeness’) & ‘X’ (‘not me’).

Sometimes, we are more familiar with the disturbance, the ‘X’ energy, than we are with the deepest part of ourselves that is disturbed, the ‘U’ energy. This means that to integrate ‘this’ and ‘that’, the ‘X’ energy and the ‘U’ (the sense of you), we might first need to strengthen that deepest part of ourselves (‘U’) into which the ‘X’ can be integrated.

Here are some of the ways we can strengthen the deepest part of ourselves:

Find a counterbalance to the Critic.

We find in trauma that the disturbing part reverberates strongly in this empty space and, unless we find a counterbalance to this Critic voice, this disturbing voice rules. The counterbalance to this Critic is a compassionate witness who notices and brings love into the system.

Create and then hold a safe container.

Trauma shatters the container, our sense of wholeness. Creating a new container in which each part of the trauma can find a new pattern with which to organise wholeness and experience it long enough to sense and change the old pattern (even momentarily to start with), provides a safe space in which transformation can happen.

One way to view Deep Democracy is as the convener of that safe space. It is needed to bring all the parts together and welcome all the voices internally and between us: it brings awareness and curiosity into the system; it strengthens the ‘going on with normal life’ part.

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