“. . . we cannot find out what to do simply by thinking about it. We need to gain our inspiration and our direction from much deeper sources. . . . those resources lie fully ready at hand . . . in the depths of our bodies and our own hearts, in the secret precincts of our own lives. Rather than thinking endlessly . . . trying this and trying that . . . perhaps we should try looking into the depths.” (Ray, 2014)
The neurobiological underpinnings of CRM are hypothetical but are thereby amenable to research for validation, refinement or rejection of their content. They are based in clinical observation, personal experience of CRM sessions, brain imaging studies relevant to CRM themes and thematic extrapolation from laboratory animal studies. We have presented hypotheses to cover important areas of CRM therapy. Safety and stabilisation are not independent of trauma memory processing. It is not necessary to repeat work in traditional phase one techniques, meaning resource building and so-called stabilisation work, in the hope of eventually being able to reach phase two, trauma processing work. Instead the resources created in the body allow the trauma material that needs to be processed to be gradually introduced and titrated against response, even for those clients with severe and complex PTSD. We consider this to be a consequence of the resourcing being active at the same midbrain level as the survival terror, rage and grief, attenuating the impact of the re-emergence of the stored distress.
Trauma memory processing itself appears to occur against a background of a physiologically resourced state held on an eye position. Even if, as we expect, much of the processing is in layers above the brainstem – in loops and circuits through thalamus, striatum and cortex – the parallel processes holding the resources ameliorate the impact of the distress. This does not weaken the nature of the healing opportunity but instead confers the possibility of going more deeply into the distress than would otherwise be possible; overwhelming affects precipitating neurochemical dissociation are averted. The healing process flows freely to its spontaneous resolution when there is sufficient physiological stability in the resource scaffolding to allow whatever needs to be addressed to emerge. The robustness of the resource scaffolding allows a person to go into the deepest pain that was present before the dissociative and other avoidant defences intervened at the time of the trauma. It allows access to the very moment of most intense distress before the fragmentation of the experience of the self provided a way of coping and surviving. The resourcing does not distract from pain but instead allows a full awareness of the very deepest roots of it without provoking the body and brain into a neurochemical disconnection. This healing of the most intense emotional and visceral pain is only possible when the scaffolding of the self’s awareness is so strong that the mind’s gaze can be directed without flinching into the most profound residue of the distress.
More theoretical, but again testable, are the hypotheses around the CRM Core Self. We propose that the CRM Core Self protocol allows a unique attention in body awareness areas of the cortex, towards the most fundamental physiological interoceptive awareness possible. The focused attention on the ground of the individual’s being can have a resonance with an energetic ground of being that feels non-personal or transpersonal. Admittedly this last part is more difficult to study, but observation of it should not be denied for that reason, especially when the experience is of profound importance to the person achieving that state of Be-ing.
CRM aims to clear the distressing emotional responses generated in the brainstem and hypothalamus that are all too readily elicited by trauma memories and attachment disruptions. Clearing these residues leaves the way open for the more positive affects generated at the brainstem/hypothalamus level but also creates an opportunity for the states of consciousness that can arise when trauma-created barriers between different tiers of the brain are dispelled. Integration then takes us not out of our body and into rarefied upper reaches of our brain but more deeply into our embodiment as we engage more top/bottom, right/left, lateral/medial and front/back communication in the brain.
(Excerpted from) The Comprehensive Resource Model: Effective Therapeutic Techniques for the Healing of Complex Trauma, written by Lisa Schwarz, Frank Corrigan, Alastair Hull and Rajiv Raju, published by Routledge, 2017