Focusing Tip #828 – Working with repressed trauma with no memories

Focusing Tip #828 – Working with repressed trauma with no memories
January 18, 2023 Ann Weiser Cornell
“As this occurred some 60 years ago there is no one left to ask what happened...”

Focusing Tip #828 – Working with repressed trauma with no memories

Can you work with repressed trauma if you have no memory of what happened? Read on…

Andrew writes:

I have become aware of a time in my life (age 3-11) that I have virtually no recall of. I believe I have repressed trauma from those years that has impacted my life in countless ways.

As this occurred some 60 years ago there is no one left to ask what happened… so I don’t know how to even begin Focusing with it. I cannot identify a ‘felt sense’ with it all.

Dear Andrew:

A woman once said to Gene Gendlin, “My parents were Holocaust survivors, and I feel like their history affected me as well, but I don’t see how, since they never talked about it.”

Gene replied, “They didn’t have to talk about it, you lived with their bodies.”

Somehow that story comes to mind now, even though I know your question is about your own history. You might not remember… but your body remembers. Your body still carries the impacts of the events that happened during those years.

You do not have to consciously remember, in order to experience shifts in how your body carries all this.

The way “in” will be found in your present life. What in your present life is difficult, painful, restricted, in conflict? You can follow the present difficulty back to its roots, by sensing in your body.

Maybe you are extra-sensitive to being rejected. Maybe it’s hard to trust other people. Maybe you quit a project when it gets “too hard.” Maybe you get taken over by waves of anger. These are just a few of the possibilities!

If you spend time doing Inner Relationship Focusing with something that hurts in your life right now, and build an inner atmosphere of trust, respect, and safety, your process will take you back to the earlier relevant time… when the time is right for that.

Your patience will be rewarded. Healing can happen without actual memories if you simply follow the track of the body.


  1. Kathy 1 year ago

    As a child of multigenerational disfunction,abuse,addiction, noncommunicational skills resulted in my own trauma. I learned to take care of others (at a young age) and not vise versa. The burden was very heavy with fatal results for my Mother and resulting in my not trusting anyone.Today, with the hope of healing from trauma, I am hearing that I still have to be the one doing all the work to heal myself! I real overwhelmed!

    • Author
      Ann Weiser Cornell 1 year ago

      Those are really hard experiences to have to go through, My heart aches for you, Kathy. The good news is that you no longer have to take care of anyone else, and your healing is in your own hands. But that doesn’t mean you can’t receive help from others! Healing from old hurts works best, in fact, in a supportive community, and I wish you well in finding that kind of community, where your own inner growth is supported by positive relationships with others.

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