Dual awareness, according to trauma specialist Babette Rothschild, refers to the ability “to recognize that I’m feeling upset right now…that I might even be having a flashback, but what’s going on with me right now has to do with something from the past, and I’m aware of where I am in the here and now, which is separate from that memory of the past.”
In other words, it is an acceptance of the past and the present at the same time.
Good psychotherapeutic methods for healing involve explorations of both the body and the mind. Quite simply, there are visceral, physiological effects of trauma that aren’t “all in one’s head.” Ask anyone who’s ever had a true panic attack. Rothschild says that trauma survivors don’t always take well to focusing just on the body or just on the mind, but need to develop dual awareness so as not to deny those physical symptoms (of PTSD, of panic, of anxiety, and so on). Eventually, the goal is for the survivor to feel more fully present in the safe space of the now, even while being triggered or flashing back to a traumatic experience.
Of course, when I encounter a compelling topic, I’m already thinking of ways to write about it. The first thing that came to mind was a double or meta narrative, a poem rendered in two columns of text.
No, I haven’t written it yet. But I will.
Here is a short interview with Rothschild on dual awareness, because I find it fascinating:
Does anyone have any book recommendations or any expertise/insight on dual awareness or other trauma healing practices? I’m open like a book.