The Twelve Tools for clearing trauma and accessing Power and Freedom
Background and purpose
The Twelve Tools are a way of clearing activated trauma. When some old or new trauma is activated, you feel an unease in the body because of activated survival instincts. The Twelve Tools allow those instincts to complete. The main requirements for the Twelve Tools are:
When to use the Twelve Tools
You should use the Twelve Tools any time you feel a lack of ease (anything other than being in a perfectly balance and stable state). It’s great to use the tools first thing in the morning to clear yourself for the day ahead, or before coming home after a busy day (release the stress before you see your family), or before a meeting or interview. When you feel a lack of ease it means there is something in your body or in the field around you which is in a state of trauma or injury. If you live from this place you attract problems. The Twelve Tools lets you express and heal that part of yourself or the field.
Unlike other structured techniques you do not need to have a symptom or story. The intention is always power and freedom. Invite whatever is in the field to come in and be expressed.
This statement is something we need to tell ourselves whenever we express and release the emotional body.
"I am going to the optimum level of being for the purpose of expressing and releasing my emotional body. I intend to hold presence and consciousness to witness myself and let go of what no longer serves. I agree to not harm myself, anyone, or anything. The space that I vibrate open will be filled with resolution, ease and Love."
The Twelve Tools can even be used when you don’t feel anything at all. People who cannot feel find other techniques very difficult. These people might need to repeat the Twelve Tools many times but they will start to feel and process trauma quickly.
Summary of Twelve Tools
- Hand scream
- Power stomping
- Pillow screaming
- Pillow pounding
- Pillow thrusting
- Grief ritual
- Nurturing Touch
- Sing and Dance
- Breathe where it hurts
The Twelve Tools in more details
- Place one hand over the mouth so it makes a perfect seal (no air escapes). The second hand covers the first.
- Scream hard, forcefully into your hand. Your whole body should move, especially abdomen area.
- Breathe through the nose.
- Keep screaming until you no longer feel a need to.
- The hand scream is the ideal tool in situations where you can’t make noise.
- Stomp your feet on the ground. Allow whole body movement (e.g. shaking arms) and remember to breath.
- Keep the head up and arms up.
- This is not a dance. It’s an expression of rage.
- Keep talking or screaming or making noise (tones).
- Power stomping is a wonderful child-like way to process emotional pain. It is very healthy provided you take basic safety steps like ensuring a clear area around you. This is something children instinctively do until they are told not to by their parents – it’s a natural way that children release emotional stress.
- Keep going as long as necessary.
- Lying on your back, hit the floor with your hands and feet.
- Move your body, breath and scream or make noise as you do it.
- This position is safer on the spine and back and really helps to “untwist” the emotional body.
- Similar to power stomping, this is a healthy way for a child to release emotional energy. It should be encouraged in a safe way.
- Either sitting or lying down, put a pillow over your mouth and scream into it.
- You could be swearing, screaming (words) or just noise. It doesn’t matter.
- Keep going until you feel a release.
- Sitting on your knees, raise your arms, then bring them down together in a downward movement.
- Keep palms open and hit the palm on to the pillow. It’s not punching. This is much safer for your back. Use a whole body downward movement to bring your body down onto the pillow.
- Try to use several pillows to raise the height of pillow you are hitting. This will reduce the range of movement so less risk of back pain.
- Keep breathing, moving and making sound.
- Keep going until the aggression inside you subsides.
- Place a pillow in the middle of your mattress. Then assume a male sexual position on top of the pillow and thrust into it
- You are expressing the masculine instinct to conquer or control territory through sexual power. This is an important instinct which both men and women have and which is usually supressed (or over-expressed). This exercise will stabilise this instinct.
- Remember to breathe and talk or make sounds as you do it.
- This exercise opens the heart and lung area and allows you to process supressed grief or emotions that are stuck and won’t come out.
- Sit on your knees with arms outstretched on your sides. Lean back, head back so your chest is exposed… making ahhh sound.
- The key is in the breathing and making sound. You don’t have to cry—though it will probably come. Start with any sound, keep it coming.
- You can tap on your chest below the sternum to help stimulate the sound.
- This exercise is great if feeling vulnerable, sensitive or scared
- Provide energetic holding through gentle touch and words to yourself of love, encouragement, support and appreciation
- Hold your torso with each hand reaching over and around holding the side of your ribcage in a great embrace.
- Good for disbursing anger, or if feeling out of body
- Can build into tantrum or stomping
- Finish with nurturing touch
Sing and Dance
- Music and dance is a great way to shift energy and get you back into your body
- Can be a wonderful stimulus to emotion
- Choose music to mirror felt emotion and finish with music that supports the desired end state - eg uplifting, soothing
Breathe where it hurts
- Sit and allow yourself to drop into your body - bring your awareness into your body with your breath.
- Bring your awareness to the emotion and sense where this emotion is in your body (between your neck and your hips - your torso)
- Pay attention to the sensations - let your mind go quiet - and breathe into the sensations
- You can also visualise a white light disbursing the felt emotion
Aspecting is an advanced application of the Tools. Use aspecting when you want to heal and integrate and aspect of yourself. It helps work with the Mind-Body connection.
For example if you identify a part of you that is behaving immature or selfish or jealous. Or perhaps you feel very angry at another person – say your mother. These people or emotions are aspects. Aspects include people, emotions, problems or issues, group consciousness (or systems in Constellations work), or your inner child or inner masculine/feminine.
- Choose a pillow and pretend that the pillow is the aspect (“I pretend that this pillow is my mother”). Then apply the Tools as usual – expressing yourself to your mother. Vocalise the conversation out loud.
- When you start to feel a change inside you, swap positions – physically change the space you are using on the floor so that you sit where the pillow (mother) was before, and the pillow (mother) is where you were before.
- Now you become the aspect (“I pretend to be my mother and I pretend that the pillow is me”).
- Use the Tools but this time on behalf of the aspect. The aspect is vocalising, kicking, punching, screaming (at you if necessary). Keep going until there’s a shift. Swap positions if necessary to explore the different perspectives.
- If you get out of your head properly, you will feel emotions and insights which belong to the aspect (eg mother) and not to you – deep insights will come. To get out of your head properly, pay more attention to the feelings and sensations in your body.
- Keep going until you feel some calmness and then you swap back to the original position. Stop being the aspect and be yourself. Now ask yourself (or therapist asks client), “did I hear what the aspect said?” (ie “Did you hear what your mother said to you?”) If the answer is “no” then you need to repeat the aspecting cycle – swap back. Really hearing what the aspect said can feel heavy—landing with impact—a realisation—insight.
- If the answer is “yes,” then take some moments to integrate the new perspective. Sit with it. How does it make you feel?
- Use the Tools again and see if you get to a deeper layer inside yourself.
- You might need to repeat this several times, and you might need to include many aspects (different people or emotions) the session to fully integrate it.
Acknowledgment: These tools are taught by ISTA as part of their Shamanic Tantra workshops. The Tools are derived from and inspired by many great sources including shamanic work, Osho meditations and the Levine/Scaer work on survival instincts. The ISTA notes were added to by Simon Rose and Elaine Young. Also extended from the initial seven tools to twelve with work from The Soul Connection.