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  • Jessica Nygren

Animal Instincts and Resiliency

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

My cat will often join me during sessions and come sit on my lap.

She curls up into a fat little grey ball, closes her eyes, and points her chin to the ceiling silently asking me to pet her right there. She is a rescue cat and I adore her. Usually, she sits contentedly in my lap and we enjoy each other's company, so when she attacked me the other day I was quite shocked. Something must have spooked her and she went for my arm. I sat frozen and unsure what to do. I pushed her away onto the floor and closed the door to have some time to recover. In my mind, I kept replaying the scene and I had to take a moment to breathe and check in with my body. I wanted to kill her. So, I grabbed my tools and proceeded to let out the frozen animal response that lay just below the surface of my consciousness onto the cube I had in front of me.

It felt great just to let myself have the time and space to re-calibrate so I could settle from the unexpected interaction we just had. Gratitude upwelled from within me for the hard-earned skills and tools I have at my disposal to be resilient in the face of something potentially traumatic.

Life is full of trauma and each incident can chip away at your sense of self and safety. What resources, skills, and tools do you use to bounce back? How can we develop meaning from these experiences and find the courage to keep choosing to be in relationship, to keep choosing life? I sit with these questions often with my clients, especially those who struggle with the aftereffects of trauma and PTSD. It isn’t a straightforward journey but I am here to tell you there is a way forward.

You can do it.

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