Recovering from pain and injury with TRE®

Interview with Yoga teacher and TRE® instructor Raquel Devillé about her experience with TRE® and journey to become a TRE® instructor.

Recovering from pain and injury with TRE®

Interview by Hans Holter Solhjell.

 

In this interview, I talk with Raquel Devillé, a previous participant in our TRE® instructor training and now practicing TRE® instructor.

She talks about how TRE® helped her recover from an injury and pain, and connect with an embodied, felt sense of her capacity for coping with challenges and stress.

Raquel is a former Human Resources (HR) manager who now teaches aerial Yoga. In her former profession, she was in charge of health and safety at work which led to her specializing in ergonomics. She then started developing an interest in working conditions for people working at home, especially women.

When she moved from Portugal to Belgium in 2008, Raquel started working from home as well. Working from home led to weight gain and Raquel started exploring yoga and aerial arts in an effort to lose weight. Aerial yoga was a natural consequence of the two. She has been teaching aerial yoga since 2015. She then started getting trained in different forms of therapy like yoga therapy and also did the TRE® instructor training.

Thank you, Raquel, for wanting to share your experience with TRE® with us.
Can you tell us why you became interested in TRE®?

Yes, sure. When Covid drove everything online, I discovered TRE® from one of the other students in a training I was participating in. She explained how TRE®, during the instructor training with you and Robyn Dalzen, had helped her regain her movement in her shoulder. She had severe limitations in the movement of the shoulder after she broke it as a young girl.

I was intrigued and started to explore tremoring as a way to relieve my ankle problems from a sprained ankle, in 2013, 8 years before learning TRE®. I discovered that 2-3 sessions later the pain had reduced considerably. Further sessions reduced the swelling and I regained some of the flexibility in the ankle. It’s definitely quite a lot more flexible now.


 

Can you tell us about your journey to becoming a TRE® instructor and how it developed?

After my ankle improved, I got interested in becoming a TRE® instructor myself. I signed up and was very impressed after the first module.

What I have noticed with longer practice, is how I achieve inner peace. For me, I first had the physical experience of reduced pain and increased function of my ankle, and then I continued doing TRE® for a longer period. During this period I had a very stressful life experience,  which also influenced the tremors quite a lot, differently from what I had experienced until then. And it wasn’t always a pleasant experience. However, I always feel safe doing this so I knew I would feel better.

I experienced with this regular TRE® practice that it really changed how I feel about the stressors in my life. For the stressful event, my body seemed to want to tremor quite a lot every day for more than a week, sometimes more than once a day. But afterward, when faced with some everyday challenge, I felt like “OK. I can do this! There are a few things in my life I just have to deal with”. I stopped thinking, “my life is over” and similar thought patterns,  which I tended to do previously.

I was actually able to process whatever it was that was stressing me with a different, more resourceful, perspective – that I could cope.

Importantly,  the “I can deal with this” thought really came from within, like a felt experience in my body , not just an effort to think positive. This is something I have only experienced with TRE®. TRE® made me actually feel like I could cope which goes beyond just knowing and telling myself  that I can, in a more verbal, cognitive, way.

Hans: Thank you for sharing this. It was beautifully put – this difference between thinking it, the cognitive aspect and the actual felt sensation and embodiment of resources and capacity to act. It’s great to have harmony between body and the brain in such situations rather than a conflict between efforted cognition and the body’s response.

Raquel: Yes. It is great to have a balance between the rational and physical response. TRE® for me makes the connection between what’s rationally going on in my head, knowing that I actually in most cases can cope, and aligns the body with this knowledge.  

When all this happened, I was already doing the certification to become a TRE® provider. Basically, what got me into TRE® was first the physical rehabilitation of my ankle injury and then with more practice and the training I got more involved with the rest of it, the self-development, stress and trauma aspect.


 

How did you experience the online TRE® training, the modules, and the feedback process?

I’m a big fan of online trainings, as I live far from everything. The schedule was perfect, easy to follow and not disturbing of my regular life. The whole training experience for me was very interesting because I really had to think about the process, what was going on and then learning more and reading about TRE® and trauma.

So, the training for me was really amazing. Beside the modules, the other aspects like the feedback sessions and the practice were very interesting and I can truly say the training changed my life.

It was “the discovery” for me – I realized recently that this is what I want to do! I’ve had such amazing results and sharing this process, TRE®, with people, even when I was doing the certification – when I was doing  the required individual and group sessions for feedback.

When I see what happens to people, it’s an amazing experience. It’s amazing for me and for them – and then again for me because I help them get there. This experience with TRE® – my personal experience and the experiences of the people I am providing TRE® to – made me realize that this is what I want to do as a practice for myself as well as helping people learn this practice as well.

It was really an experience that changed my life and it is a very, very good training.


 

That’s great to hear! How do you plan to use TRE® going forward?

Recently, though, I have been working with more people who have suffered trauma from different life situations lasting a long time, which they weren’t able to overcome. TRE® has provided great results for them.

Recently, I had a client who used to do some kind of martial art, a physical contact sport with a lot of high impact. After some sessions she came to me and said, “listen, I can touch my back”, which was something she had not been able to do for a long time. She had a session on a Friday where the shoulder was trembling and on Saturday, she could move her shoulder and touch her back. It worked really fast for her. The fascial release side of TRE® is very interesting, beside the stress and trauma aspect of it.

Hans: Yes, there is a whole physical rehabilitation side of it that we don’t talk about as much as we talk about trauma and stress. It’s interesting to hear these stories and maybe it is something we can look into and talk about more. Especially, collect such stories to document and maybe conduct some research into this. I think the results the Danish MS, Multiple Sclerosis, organization show in their pilot studies and experience with more than a thousand people with MS benefitting from TRE® also is relevant in this context of rehabilitation. 

Raquel: The physical rehabilitation I have seen occurs so fast, it’s really interesting. It is not something that takes four months or four weeks of sessions. It makes a difference in one or two sessions. Usually after the first session, there is some release physically for parts of the body that feel stuck.

Hans: Yes. It can be very fast for some. But I usually caution against expecting results too soon and some processes take longer. It’s great fun as well though when it happens that fast, so it’s always great when it happens. 

Raquel: Processes over the long run make big improvements but I’m always impressed with the results after the first session. The first sessions, for me, are when the magic happens. The magic keeps going on after that but it’s the first session that is so liberating. Even if it simply means a better night’s sleep after or the kind of body release. So, the first sessions are very impressive in terms of results.

From all the things I have been doing and trying, TRE® is the one that has shown the fastest results. I know it’s not the same for everybody and it raises a lot of expectations but until now this is what I have experienced.

Hans: In some cases, TRE® can work very fast, because it brings in a different part of the neurological system and addresses the body and the self from a different angle which normally is never addressed, but for some people the body is very ready for the change.  There are definitely things like various types of body work, yoga, the Feldenkrais method, Somatic Experiencing, relational work, psychotherapy etc, that create good conditions for rapid change to happen when the body is ready for it, and TRE® provides a missing piece.

Raquel: Where I use it with very good results is for stress – especially accumulated everyday stress – and the physical pain that comes with this stress and tension. What I also find really interesting is that with COVID, I have been working a lot with people who have pain from sitting in front of the computer at home. All these people were working from offices with very good ergonomic conditions and then they changed to their houses without good office desks, chairs etc.

People who had never experienced pain before started feeling it because they started working from home at their dining table. They started to have a lot of pain. This is one area where I have been using TRE® a lot with clients. It really helps a lot with body pain that comes with bad working postures and work tension. It has been really interesting to see how TRE® can help with everyday life that can make people suffer from stress, tension, and pain.

I keep practicing my own tiny bits of TRE® every day. The time and duration vary depending on how life goes although I always tremor a little bit before I go to sleep. I’ve been sleeping more and longer since I have started doing this. My family too – I make my family tremble as well. For example, if my kids are sore from sports, tremoring helps them recover better. It is great to be able to help my husband and kids in this way!

Thank you very much Raquel! It has been a pleasure to talk with you and listen to your experience with TRE and our instructor training!

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