VIDEO: Maggie Phillips on the Four Levels of Traumatic Pain

Exploring an Uncommon Side Effect of Trauma

Maggie Phillips

When Maggie Phillips and Peter Levine co-authored Freedom from Pain, they aimed to explore what’s been missing from the field’s treatment of chronic pain. Phillips believes that unreleased trauma can hide in the body and manifest as lingering pain that doesn’t respond to conventional medical treatment. For therapists to accomplish what medical doctors can’t, they need to have an understanding of how trauma entwines with chronic pain—and how chronic pain can lead to or exacerbate anxiety, depression, and feelings of hopelessness.

How do you address all this in therapy? In this brief video clip, Phillips outlines the different types of trauma that result in chronic pain.


Maggie Phillips, PhD is a licensed psychologist in full-time private practice in Oakland, California. She is director of the California Institute of Clinical Hypnosis and past-president of the Northern California Society of Clinical Hypnosis.

As Phillips notes, each type of trauma marks a place for therapists to work from as they uncover the origins and history of the client’s pain. "The mind-body connection," she adds, "is a matter of how your mind and body can often be partners, and physical pain can cause a litany of psychological issues that aren't conducive to moving forward." But according to Phillips, an appropriately tailored mind-body approach can help clients discover both the source of their pain and ways to enhance their inner resiliency.

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Did you enjoy this video? You might also enjoy this clip from Peter Levine, in which he shares a personal story about working through trauma. Or click here to read our selection of free articles on trauma.

Topic: Attachment Theory | Anxiety/Depression | Trauma

Tags: chronic pain | depression | resiliency | therapists | therapy | unreleased trauma | child trauma | childhood traumas | emotional pain | mental trauma | pain control | pain management | painful experiences | post traumatic stress | post traumatic stress disorder | post-traumatic stress disorder ptsd | PTSD | Rich Simon | Trauma | trauma and recovery | trauma recovery | Traumatic memory

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1 Comment

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 3:01:56 PM | posted by Les White, MA, MSW
Based on Maggie Phillips' approach to trauma which involves focusing on the heart, I thought the work being done at HeartMath might be of interest to folks! Amazing research, amazing results! http://www.heartmath.com/; http://www.heartmath.org/research/research-home/research-center-home.html