THIS is a made- up word from Dr. Levine, but it is so worthy of a short post here..
…step is a process I call “pendulation.” That’s a word I made up – what it means is that when people first begin to experience their body sensations, they actually feel worse for a moment. It is probably largely because they have avoided their sensations. So when they feel them, they feel worse. This is like a contraction. But what I have discovered is when you help support people, they discover that with every contraction there is an expansion. So if they learn just to stay with these sensations just momentarily long enough, it will contract but then it will expand. And the rhythm between contraction and expansion, that really gives people the sense, “Oh my God, I’m going to be able to master this!” So, again, when they get the sense or rhythm, of contraction/expansion, it needn’t become threatening. It just becomes, “Oh, okay, I’m contracting, and now I’m expanding.” “…if you just overwhelm the person, the nervous system really can’t tell the difference between the trauma and just being overwhelmed/ overloaded.” “…From that sense of relative safety created by the therapist and the environment, we help the person to support initial exploration and acceptance of sensations…”
“Pendulation is the rhythm between contraction and expansion…and titration is about carefully touching into the smallest drop of survival-based arousal.”
~ The National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine