Life Span Integration Therapy – Vancouver Counsellor

Life Span Integration Therapy

Life Span Integration is one of the therapies that I use to help a client to build a more solid self-structure and to learn to regulate emotions. Unlike ‘talk therapy’ which uses mostly left brain hemisphere, Life Span Integration is ‘body’ based. During LI there is an exchange of energy and information between the right brain hemispheres and body-minds of therapist and client. 

This exchange is designed to replicate and replace the exchange which should have happened during mother-infant interaction from the moment of birth. New, positive feeling states are generated and then integrated as the client views the ‘movie’ of his life from infancy all the way into the present time. A right brain to right brain connection is used between client and therapist throughout this re-parenting work.

Clients who do Life Span Integration therapy say that they start to react to stressors in a more age-appropriate way. Someone who had memory gaps are eventually able to connect the pieces of their lives into a coherent timeline. They feel better about their lives, are more self-accepting and are better able to enjoy their intimate relationships. 

How Life Span Integration Can Works With Memory Gaps 

When we have life events that are not pleasurable, painful or traumatic our brain starts to protect us by blocking those events from our memory. So, when we live long enough our memory line is not fluid, it becomes like a dotted line with some gaps in our memory line.

If a child grows up in an environment of trauma and neglect, or there is lack of parental support, or when children are prohibited from discussing the traumatic events the neural integration doesn’t happen, they have difficulties to integrate their experience into their neurological system. This can result in inability to create a unified solid self. 

When those kids with inadequate or partial integration grow up they do not experience or feel a coherent sense of self across time and to the mother-infant this feels normal. Those people usually have little or no memory of their childhood.

Through Life Span Integration people become more and more integrated and start feeling more solid inside, more adult, more capable and competent. During our sessions the person’s neural system bypasses not-needed anymore defensive neurological network, creating new networks which are more useful and adaptive. 

What 4 year old perceives as a danger would most likely not present a problem to a 40 year old but defences designs where you were 4 year old would still be present until new and current information is integrated. 

Often we avoid certain time period and memories because of the associated emotions, and sometimes physical pain. During the sessions we almost always can see those memories that we want to avoid through experiencing a resistance towards moving forward. 

By going through a timeline during Life Span Integration we are reactivating our memories, feelings, images and bodily sensations from difficult earlier experience, so we can integrate those memories and to find a relieve from those memories without being re-traumatized. 

Life Span Integration Protocols

Life Span Integration is a therapy that can clear of past and recent trauma using LI PTSD protocol. It can also be used to help clients to overcome the effects of early trauma and neglect. Individuals whole early needs were not met, and those whose early environments were chaotic, inconsistent, or hostile. These people will need more sessions than those who were securely attached to their caregivers and functioned well prior to a traumatic incident. Individuals who experienced early trauma or neglect will benefit not from the LI protocols which build self structure, change attachment patterns and improve regulation of emotions.

Through Life Span Integration we can let go of the past and resolve grief. We need to move you forward so you are not stuck anymore in the past. If your child ego state chooses to remain in the past, that part of the self-system will radian frozen in time and will not be integrated into the whole system. Parts that are not integrated remain outside of you control (acting out, self-harm) 

We need to connect the dots to eventually create the whole picture of the integrative selves. This is achieved by facilitating a dialogue between your adult and your child ego state, so the child is not stuck in the past anymore. 

We need to facilitate an internal dialogue with your child ego state that the past reality exists only as a memory and that now the child lives in the present with the adult. The child ego state and the adult client use the same brain and visual cortex, so the child self will also ‘see’ that we are in the present moment. It’s safe, it’s here and now. There are different circumstances. 

For people who feel overturned by responsibilities could be difficult to move forward and they would want to remain in the past scene to care for a sibling or a parent. Or, if you had lack of secure attachment with your parent, you might be stuck in the past because you didn’t get enough love, care, approval or attention from your parent. 

In Life Span Integration approach time can be viewed as fluid in both directions.  The current self can travel back in time to visit parts of the self who are stuck or frozen in the past. Likewise, the selves from the past can be brought forward in time and can be integrated into the system. Current information and security provided by a nurturing parental part of self can be taken back through time to help a part of the self who lacks these resources in the past. Younger self can have qualities that might benefit the self in the present.