Is Emotional Toxicity The Cause Of Your Chronic Health Problems? with Dr. Eva Detko

Content By: Ari Whitten & Dr. Eva Detko

In this episode, I am speaking with Dr. Eva Detko about the importance of addressing emotional trauma when recovering from chronic fatigue and other chronic diseases.

Table of Contents

In this podcast, Dr. Eva Detko and I discuss:

  • How the mind and body early-life experiences can play a vital role in determining our health in later life.
  • How the separation of mind and body by medical professionals has hampered their ability to address chronic illness (and the need to address “the triangle of healing).
  • The classic signs or symptoms of emotional toxicity and unresolved trauma (how many do you have?)
  • How unresolved emotions like shame, fear, anger and guilt can sabotage our attempts to recover from serious disease (and how best to address this)
  • Why we shouldn’t worry about the accuracy of polyvagal theory to explain the mechanisms behind trauma
  • The top modalities Eva uses to teach people how to heal themselves
  • Eva’s 3 top tips for addressing underlying emotional trauma and toxicity in your life

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Ari Whitten: Welcome back to The Energy Blueprint Podcast. I’m your host, Ari Whitten. With me now is someone I’ve wanted to interview for a very long time. Her name is Dr. Eva Detko, and she is a natural healthcare practitioner, speaker, and author of The Sovereign Health Solution: Heal the Psycho-Energetic Root Causes of Chronic Illness. She studied natural medicine and the human mind for 23 years, and she successfully recovered from chronic fatigue, and fibromyalgia, and reversed Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

She now helps others recover their health. She has extensive knowledge and experience in the field of human physiology, biochemistry, nutritional sciences, and bioenergetics. She also uses a wide range of mind transforming modalities, including havening techniques, brain working, recursive therapy, hypnotherapy, mindfulness, NLP, transactional analysis, and applied psychoneuroimmunology. Welcome to the show Dr. Detko, such a pleasure to have you on.

Dr. Eva Detko: Thanks very much for having me Ari, lovely talk to you.

Ari: First of all, I’m very curious what your personal story is. Obviously, in your bio, it talks about what I just read the fact that you recovered from chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and Hashimoto’s. Was that something that sparked your interest in studying health and got you started on the journey and then you became interested in the mind as a result of your own personal experience? I’m just curious, what is your personal story of how you got into this?

Eva: Yes, that’s exactly right. That’s very similar to a lot of people in the field, is it not? Get ready, when you have such a profound experience and transformation with something you then obviously automatically want to share it with other people. I did have a lot of trauma. As a child really the birth trauma, the pregnancy, and birth were very traumatic for me personally. This is the case for a lot of people. That’s suddenly the big part of where it all sort of went wrong. Obviously, we know there’s intergenerational trauma, ancestral trauma, there’s epigenetic influences.

Really a lot of those things are not talked enough about, but also what people don’t appreciate is that if you have this compromised start in life that I did. My mother’s pregnancy the reason why it was traumatic is because her sister died of a vaccine injury when my mother was only three months pregnant with me. She was plunged into extreme grief. She was only 22. She was very young. They didn’t have coping tools and the fantastic neuroscience-based tools to deal with trauma that we have now. That was almost 50 years ago.

You need to appreciate that people were just talked to just pretty much get on with it and not bother anybody. What was interesting about that time is that she developed toxemia of pregnancy. I lost my twin. The twin didn’t make it. I barely made it. She nearly died. It was very, very traumatic. Of course, when I was born– again, I was born into this atmosphere of on the one hand this extreme joy that there’s this new baby he’s going to– I was the first grandchild. He was going to fill this void that my aunt’s death left behind.

At the same time, there was still a lot of grief that people were dealing with. Even though the first initial moment of thriving on this realm. Obviously, I can’t say that I didn’t have a lot of affection and love because I did. Everybody poured their love and affection into me. In a way, I really believe that that was my saving grace, but at the same time, I was born into this extreme confusion from the emotional perspective, and energetic perspective. Of course, because of the pregnancy being compromised, I was a weakling.

I was really physiologically compromised too, not just emotionally confused, but physiologically my body just needed to catch up quite a bit to the sort of normal development. I had all sorts of things. I had lots of chest infections and rheumatoid issues as a kid. It started already when I was young because I remember being in and out of a rheumatologist’s office when I was something like eight years. I was treated for thyroid issues when I was seven or eight years old. I remembered us always being at the doctors.

Ari: Wow.

Eva: As we know and I know you talk about this stuff a lot. Your listeners are obviously people who are quite savvy when it comes to health and health solutions. There’ll be no surprise here. That the physiological aspect is obviously connected to everything else. That’s why I always talk about this one system that is the energetics, the mental, the psychological, the biochemical. This constant separation by the conventional medicine world obviously drives me crazy. It just doesn’t work. That approach doesn’t work because we need to treat it as one system.

It’s a very complex system. Everything within the system affects everything else. For sure in terms of them going forward how my system was set for threat, for trauma. Generally, my nervous system was completely dysregulated. My HPA axis was completely dysregulated. All of that down the line contributed to things like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue.

Then it came to healing, however, it was obviously like I just said everything affects everything else. All this physiological stuff still [unintelligible 00:06:33], still very, very important.

For me, [inaudible 00:06:36] the early traumas. The fact that I recovered really, I owe it to trauma work without any shadow of a doubt because by the time I got those different issues, the chronic fatigue particularly and fibromyalgia. At that time, I was already doing loads of nutritionally aware things like being gluten-free. I’ve already been doing that. It wasn’t really so much that it really was diving deep into the trauma work and also movement. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for people who have a trauma, particularly something like bullying or sexual abuse.

Things like that, trauma that really goes into the tissues. The movement and myofascial release, all of that. That is also a very important element of recovery in my opinion.

The mind-body connection

Ari: I want to put a pin in that and come back to it. One of the things that you were just talking about is the mind-body connection. This is framed in a way that– Yes, even the way that I just phrased it you would probably object to say mind-body connection. Rather it’s one system, but it’s amazing to me to think about how much one’s worldview or paradigm influences what one perceives they’re working with. For example, conventional medicine often looks at what they’re doing as disease processes that are the result of various biochemical abnormalities or biochemical mechanisms that have gone awry in some way.

Now we need to use drug to intervene in these pathological mechanisms to correct them. Depression is framed in psychiatry as a chemical imbalance. Most psychiatric issues are viewed from the paradigm of these are chemical imbalances and we need a drug to intervene and to correct the imbalance that’s there. The classic thing in conventional medicine is high levels of cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides are contributing to heart disease atherosclerosis. We need to use statin drugs to reduce this cholesterol that is high for no good reason.

On and on and on, we could talk about a hundred other examples of things like that. Even in clinical psychology which I’ve done an entire– all the coursework for a PhD program in that I’ve done all three years of coursework for my PhD in clinical psychology. It’s amazing to me to witness how siloed they are just like psychiatry and how reductionistic they are in the sense of treating psychological issues purely as originating from psychological things. The solution whether you have depression, or anxiety, or bipolar, or whatever, is to address the psychology of that. To do talk therapy.

How disconnected that is from even the existing body of evidence that we have around nutritional interventions, sleep, hygiene, and circadian rhythm interventions that we know those things impact on these mental or psychological disorders. Yet because they’re operating in a paradigm of psychological problems require psychological solutions, they don’t connect those bodies of literature. You’ve got psychiatry, prescribing drugs to fix chemical imbalances, and you’ve got psychology prescribing talk therapy to fix psychological abnormalities that they think originate purely from psychological things.

It’s also disconnected from the broader picture of this being one system where all of the physical and biochemical stuff interplays with psychological. I’m curious how you paint that picture of what is your paradigm when it comes to conceptualizing the mind-body stuff.

Eva: It’s very true. May I just actually add another aspect, functional medicine. It’s all about the gut. Well, what’s messed up the gut. Let’s last the question because why isn’t everybody in that same boat? We can obviously talk about the many root causes that obviously contribute to disease and I’m not saying that is not an issue. It is an issue and when it comes to immunity, also it is an issue. We know that. However, how is it that people end up with those microbiome issues with leaky gut with all of this stuff.

What’s the actual cause behind that because the gut is definitely not the ultimate root cause. Come on. We could literally go so far back. I was talking to Master Mingtong Gu actually the other day. We were saying like, literally, you could like go, well, what’s the root cause of that. Okay, but what’s the root cause of that. You can go on and on. Like I said, you can talk about ancestral trauma. I think that is in the field, all this stuff that is in the epigenetic stuff, but also literally the stuff in our subtle field.

You can really go on and on about that but my primary model from which I operate if you like, is what I call the triangle of healing. People have like different of describing the different pillars of health but I go with the mental, emotional, psychoenergetic spiritual. Then obviously the physical, that includes structural stuff. Really what I talk about to my clients and my programs in my book is that you cannot remove any of those. There are always going to be pieces in your healing, is just the question of obviously how big those pieces are.

When it comes to, particularly the nervous system dysregulation and the emotional stuff, what I call emotional toxicity, I have never ever met anybody with chronic manifestations that would– Somebody who would be chasing their symptoms for a long period of time who wouldn’t have a degree of that. Then it’s just a question of how big a piece is that for you? Because for me, it was a giant piece. For somebody else, this may be a smaller piece, but of course, then we are looking at why is that relevant?

Well, it’s relevant because if you come into this world well, like I did, obviously, like I just said with already a heightened emotional response, set for fight or flight, because my pregnancy wasn’t safe and my birth wasn’t safe. Already I have so many more glucocorticoid receptors. My nervous system is already set for fight or flight or even freeze possibly. Already what that does is that sets you up for subsequent trauma. It makes it easier for you to be traumatized. Then all of those different things that happen in childhood with all the attachment issues, which are just so easy to screw up a child.

Even if you’re the most wonderful meaning loving parent because you look inside the child’s body and it really counts how the child perceives. It doesn’t really matter that as a parent, you think like, I think I’m looking after my child. Okay. They’re being fed and I’m giving them this and that and the other. Really, if the child doesn’t think that the needs are being met, none of that matters. It’s really just an internal perspective and so all of those layers, there’s so many layers. Then of course the big one is social engineering.

All of the different things that are put on children in terms of the expectation and things they should, or shouldn’t do. Things they should or shouldn’t feel blah, blah, blah, all of that. There are just so many of those layers that is so easy to just tip that nervous system balance over. Ultimately health is about spending most of your time in this ventral vagal activation, the rest-digest-detoxify-heal, but look at what’s going on around us. Most people are the opposite. They’ll spend most of their time, even in their sleep.

Oftentimes as we know it’s a lot of people with sleeping issues. They will be activating those survival states chronically so there’s no issue with activating survival states. There is an issue if they’re activated chronically. They really change the biochemistry, they change the neurochemistry. You could be approaching healing from so many different angles, but I always think, what can we do to tick as many boxes as we can, quickly. The person’s body can start getting into body-mind so everything gets into homeostasis and actually is able to heal.

Through the many, many, many years that I’ve been doing this for, not through only my own experience, but working with so many people. When you address particularly the early trauma and also the belief systems, because obviously particularly the early attachment stuff really impacts on our identity. It most certainly impacts on our value and belief systems. When we address that, it just seems like that’s a big domino piece. Whether it is to do with just hearing from chronic illness, or even to be quite honest with you achieving more optimal levels of health because some people just view health as an absence of disease.

I’m sure you agree that to us, we can go a lot higher than that. There is such a thing as an optimal level. Most people, when they’re sick, they’re just satisfied with just like you know what, if I just get rid of the symptoms, I’ll be happy. There’s so much further you can go. I really don’t think that you can get there without addressing some of those chronic emotional conflicts and those push and pull that you’ve got in your head or what I call emotional toxicity. That’s how I approach it. How can we get people on that healing path as quickly as possible?

What you talk a lot about, sleep, circadian rhythm. It’s a basic, that’s actually just absolute basics. Of course, as we know, emotional toxicity can really get in the way of people’s sleep. I’ve got a ton of people with insomnia and a lot of them have unresolved traumas. You see how it all just connects together and you just really can’t separate those things.

Ari: Yes, absolutely. What are some of the key signs or symptoms that would clue somebody into how big of a piece it is for them, this emotional toxicity is? Are there any classic signs or symptoms that would lead one to think, “Oh, maybe these chronic symptoms I have are the result of unresolved trauma and emotional toxicity”?

Eva: Yes. The reason why I like to talk about symptoms because when you talk to people just purely about trauma, a lot of people think like that, “I don’t have any traumas.” Of course, like I said, you could have just a chain of microtraumas when you were little. Literally, you wanted more cuddles and your mother was too busy to give you those cuddles and bang, you’ve got attachment trauma or something like that.

That’s one example that can totally happen and often does. If we just talk to people about trauma and they don’t have a broad enough understanding of trauma, they’ll be like, “I don’t think that’s a thing for me.” When you start talking about some of those emotional toxicity symptoms, things such as chronic fear, chronic anxiety, guilt and shame. That’s a big one, chronic guilt, chronic shame. There is such a thing as healthy guilt and healthy shame, but most people trust me, suffer from unbelievable, crazy amounts of chronic guilt and chronic shame, totally unjustified.

They just keep beating themselves up. They’re the symptoms, when you beat yourself up, when keep fighting with yourself in your head. You have different parts to your psyche and it’s a very interesting thing to get into because people will find that those different parts of the psyche often having those arguments and fights. It feels very much like people literally feel like they’re having a fight going on inside their head. That’s emotionally toxic. Why is that a problem? Because it triggers fight or flight.

Even though it may not seem to you like having an anxiety about something or having social anxiety or having ruminating thoughts or overthinking overanalyzing overwhelm. Even when people desensitize to that, because that’s very often the case. People will often tell me, “but that’s how I’ve always been. I’ve always been like.” All right. Well, just because you’ve desensitized and now you feel like you’ve always been that way, doesn’t mean that you are not triggering your autonomy nervous system to be in this survival state.

Collectively, when you spend too much time in those survival states, you are not going to heal because the part of the nervous system that enables you to heal is completely disengaged when you spend so much time in those survival states. That’s why this is relevant. I mentioned the ventral vagal, the rest-digest-detoxify-heal. We only need to engage that readily and frequently enough for the healing processes, the regeneration repair of tissues and all of that, to be able to take place.

When you have all of those things, like I said, the emotional conflicts, it’s chronic anger, chronic fear, chronic shame, chronic guilt, and all of that. Like I said the ones that people often don’t really appreciate enough things is like overthinking overanalyzing, really living up here. Not connecting to the body, really disconnected from emotions, disconnected from the body. That’s another one. Being a doormat. That’s adaptation. That’s adaptation to trauma in your early years. Perfectionism. Another one. When you talk in those terms, you feel like, “I know I do have this problem.”

Then you can go, okay, let’s see where that’s coming from. The reason why I call them symptoms is because they’re just symptoms of something else that in itself, not a thing. Anxiety is not a thing. They’ve got those crazy labels right now. I had a bit of a round on the mental health summit when I was doing my presentation about the fact that each month we’ve got a new health, mental health issue label. Like generalized anxiety disorder, ODD and DD– Whatever Ds, standing for disorder.

To me, I’m sorry. that’s actually ridiculous because a lot of those people if I have them in practice within a few sessions of therapy, they’re good to go. They don’t have that problem anymore. We don’t want to label people and burden them with this label. Now, they think, “Oh shit. Now I have this problem. Now, I have to live with this problem. Now is this becoming part of my life? Oh, well that’s part of my life. It’s becoming part of my identity.” That’s actually quite damaging because the moment that you have those– Poor self-worth, by the way, is emotionally toxic.

The moment you have people attaching to those labels, you have a much harder job of fixing it because now we going to the core of the onion. Everybody’s stuff, emotional stuff, mental stuff is like this onion. We often hear that analogy, all right? You’ve got loads and loads and loads and loads of layers, your self-worth, your identity is the very core of that onion. If you start affecting it by attaching to some labels that somebody, they came up with it last month. Now suddenly, oh, it’s a big thing and you need to medication for it. I’m sorry. Is it me? I think that’s pretty crazy.

The primary cause of emotional toxicity

Ari: No, I agree with you completely. As someone who has studied the DSM and has gone through and had to memorize the details of hundreds of such diagnoses. I completely agree with you. What can be done about this? Let’s shift into the practical solutions aspect of this. How, from your paradigm of how you think about what’s causing emotional toxicity? How it acts in the body. Actually, you know what, I want to step back. Before we get to the practical solutions, I have one thing I want you to comment on because you’ve commented a few times about people being in a stressed aspect of their nervous system.

You’ve also alluded to the ventral vagal system. You’re talking about polyvagal theory, Steven Porges’ polyvagal hypothesis of how the nervous system operates. I’ve seen that come under attack in recent years. There’s been several people that have attempted to debunk it. Or I read an article just last week from a psychologist, I believe who was saying the polyvagal theory is dead. That she was basically saying this pains me because I practiced for many years from this model of thinking and it just is not accurate based on this, this, and this.

Anyway, I assume that you’ve encountered some of those kinds of articles or positions. Do you have any thoughts on the polyvagal theory and how that fits into what you’re doing and any thoughts on the criticisms of it?

Eva: I could say a lot of things are dead, but if I say that, what am I actually bringing to the table? On what basis am I saying that? From my work and from what I’m seeing with people, if I apply it at least a rough model– Quite honestly, even though, I like physiology, don’t get me wrong. I do physiology and I can geek out on physiology. From the point of view of working with an individual. If I get that individual to help them heal their traumas. Now they’re just generally taking a breather and now the whole system is more relaxed, they’re going to start healing.

I’ve seen this for the last 23 years. Way before I knew about polyvagal theory, by the way. When I first started practicing, I didn’t know about polyvagal theory. It’s very easy to attack and start nitpicking. “Oh, is the sympathetic nervous system active at that point? That minute part of it is still active and yet things I have–” Personally I have heard that but I know what I’m seeing. I know the results that people are getting. It’s that simple without going to the end degree on the physiological aspect of what is active points.

The point is, if you are relaxed, if you connected to yourself, if you’re centered, you’re connected to the breath, you’re connected to the body, everything comes down. You’re going to start. Wow. Yogis knew that. They’ve known that for a very long time. I’m actually finishing my yoga teacher training. They’re talking about that too. It’s something that people talked about way before Steven Paul just came on the scene. It’s just not something that I personally am going to take a lot of notice of myself. I’m going to just doing what I’m doing because it works.

I guess it might come back to that.

Ari: Actually your response is remarkably similar to what my response was when it was asked of me in the members’ group for the Energy Blueprint Program. Someone posted this article and I read it. I basically said, things like meditation, breathing practices, yoga, qigong, on and on and on. Massage, lots of different types of modalities we could talk about. There’s dozens of others. These things work. We know they work. Now, one can [crosstalk]

Eva: We have thousands and thousands of studies probably just on yoga alone. We obviously we know, right?

Ari: Exactly. The debate over whether someone’s proposed model of the physiological mechanisms of how they work is separate from the question of do the actual practical modalities work or not. It’s important to separate those out because the mechanisms may be discovered to be, hey, someone’s model of the mechanisms. Oh, that was wrong, but that doesn’t invalidate the modalities. It just means, well, we already know they work, so let’s find out what the better model is of the mechanisms of how they work.

Eva: I think they’re picking on the really fine detail of it. Overall, we know everybody knows, because everybody’s had the experience. When you are faced with a threat and you feel you want to fight it or run away. Duh, you are in a stress response. Everybody knows that because everybody’s experienced this. On this more general level of the states that you switch between. What actually brings you calm and what stresses you out. You need to feel how your body responds to that, blah, blah, blah. If you work with that, you can’t go wrong.

I think where they’re taking it apart is in literally on the minute fine details. As I said something in a interview, once regarding polyvagal theory. Somebody wrote me an e-mail that in this paper it says that your sympathetic nervous system is still active because it does something to your blood vessel, blah, blah, blah. Even when you relax. Your point is? So what? Ultimately, actually, it’s still true that if you in fight or flight, a full-blown– Not even full-blown fight or flight, because if you have an emotional conflict and you’re finding something in your head, that’s fight or flight too.

That without any shadow of a doubt, that’s stress to your body and mind. Even something that will shut down your detoxification pathway. You will shut down your gut. None of that is priority because the priority is we in a threat situation and we need to deal with a threat. That’s not changed, no matter how they want to take it apart and nitpick. That’s not changed. Overall as you said, all the modalities that we’ve been using to calm the system down the entire system. Talking about mind and body. If we use that to calm it down, we are going to have a better result when it comes to healing.

Hands down, without any shut of doubt. All the vagus nerve stimulation exercises that we always say these are the same things as yoga, meditation, being in nature, earthing, whatever, cold showers. Whatever it is. Whether it’s hormetic or direct. It works. We know it works. To me personally, I’m not interested because that’s just not good enough. You need to do better than that if you going to topple it and put people off. It’s a model. At the end of the day, it’s a model.

Ari: Exactly.

Eva: It’s a very helpful model if somebody I intuitively know it works and I have developed my right brain enough to be able to work with people intuitively a lot of the time. If I have a client in front of me, I never say, “Oh, that’s what I’m going to do with the client.” No, I work with what’s in front of me because I am intuitive now enough to be able to do that. I also like to satisfy my left brain and say, “Well, actually, yes. At least more or less, how does that work?” For people just to get an idea of, if you’re in fight or flight this happens. If you’re in freeze, this happens.

That’s what it feels like. If you’re relaxed, this happens. It’s still really helpful for people to just their heads around what they’re trying to achieve. That’s for the fine detail. Ultimately, who cares? I’m not having–

Ari: It’s a question for researchers in that field to uncover the specifics of how that works. On a practical level, working with clients, you just need to know does this work or not. You have useful models imperfect as they may be, to explain to people conceptually what’s happening.

Eva: Right. By the same token, I talked a lot about transactional analysis. You’re talking about the child, parent, and adult ego states. Like I said, the psyche divides into those different parts, you have those different aspects. If you get them nicely aligned and getting on with each other, you are going to have this perfect peace and calm. If they’re fighting each other all the time, you’re going to have emotional conflict. Now, somebody could come and say, you can’t prove that that’s the case. You can’t prove that there’s a parent and ego and child in your head.

Of course, I can’t, but it’s just a very useful concept. People respond really, really great to that. If you work particularly doing some subconscious program clearing or realigning or belief work, this is so useful. Is it just a model. No, we can’t prove that that actually exists in people’s heads. That’s the thing, it’s the research side of it. It’s working with real individuals who want real results. Quite honestly my clients really couldn’t care less if somebody says, “Oh, it doesn’t quite work that way,” because they get results. That’s all they care about.

The best way to heal emotional toxicity

Ari: Yes, absolutely. Let’s now shift into the practical side. Maybe if it’s useful and feel free not to answer it this way if it’s not useful. If it’s useful, let’s say, I’m coming to you as one of your clients. I have a lot of chronic health problems. I suspect that emotional toxicity and trauma may be playing a role in my symptoms. What does it look like to work with you? What’s the process that you take people through in order to uncover the root causes of their issues? Then, on a practical level, what kinds of therapeutic modalities do you use?

Eva: I actually no longer work with people one to one other than people actually doing my online programs. That’s another thing that I have proven and people said, no, it can’t be done. Well, it can be done. People can do their own work. Even my new book is called Sovereign Health Solution because my objective right now is to make people more sovereign. Get people to be more sovereign to do their own healing because we all can do that, right? People need support. I get that and they need guidance, but ultimately they can do a lot of their own work.

What I start with is first of all, I want to know how big– Pardon me, we had talked about those different puzzle pieces and how big is this for you. I’ve got this extensive questionnaire that I use. It utilizes the ACEs questions, but I’ve extended that to cover all the emotional toxicity symptoms as well. It’s a two-part thing and it’s something like 50 questions or whatever. That gives people quite a good idea of how big the piece is. Then what we’ll do is and that’s basically how I guide in my program, we need to build a lot of awareness.

This is really the basis of all of this. You can’t really go much further unless you just sitting in a therapist’s office and the therapist is just telling you what to do. If you want to take the reigns and really be in control of your own process of psycho-emotional healing, you need to build self-awareness and a lot of it. At that point, we are looking at things like the Enneagram. We’re looking at attachment adaptations, so they’d be anxious, avoidant, and disorganized whatever. We’re looking at these specific adaptations, like perfectionism, and people-pleasing, blah, blah, blah.

That would be the Enneagram model. I then look also at this is where I start employing transactional analysis. I want to see where people, child ego states, and adult. What sort of dynamic do we have going on in your head? Also, we’ve got the adult is that the rational matter of fact. We’ve got the child and we’ve got the parent. We’ve got different aspects of child and parent. We’ve got the critical parent. That’s where people beat themselves up a lot, just give themselves a lot of criticism. They’re very critical about this, blah, blah, blah.

We are going to have a different dynamic depending on where those different states are and that relates directly to childhood trauma. It relates directly to childhood trauma because your child and your parent ego state in particular, does essentially develop from the word go and then literally where you store all that information. In the parent, you store all the dos and don’ts and what people are telling you to do or what not to do, which is why it’s called the parent. Then in the child ego state, it’s really about the feeling and the emotions that the child will have in response to what’s going on around them.

That’s also stored. When we have a really good picture of what’s happening, then, of course, that’s where we can be more targeted with the approach. Obviously, if I coach people via my online programs and I just do Q&As essentially and people can e-mail me and ask for help, whatever, that’s fine. It’s there. I’m supporting on the sideline, but because people are going to dive in and really do their own work, what I like to do is to build in some neurological resilience before we go like okay, let’s now take a deep dive into trauma.

That would be basically back to the vagus nerve and doing a lot of just breathing exercises. Also, brain hemisphere balancing exercises just to bring a little bit more regulation into the nervous system. When people have more neurological resilience, so when they start doing the really deep traumas, when they’re going into that they have more resilience to do that. When it comes to actual trauma work, I want people to know exactly– There’s obviously ex sizes that we need to do. If somebody’s like a floating head– it’s a floating head when they’re really disconnected from the body.

We need to bring that back online because we are not going to be able to heal anything trauma-related if we have that complete disconnect. There’s obviously some people already can drop right in the body, tap into their emotions, and away they go. Then other people because of their childhood usually taught with disassociation, they won’t be able to do that. We need to help them reconnect the head to the body so that they can actually do the work. That’s also a step in this whole process model that I’ve created.

I also want people to stop being afraid of feeling stuff. When we know what emotions are feeling and why we feeling them. We know our emotional triggers, we can tell our fear from our anger, from our sadness, from our shame. It’s a completely different animal because suddenly a lot of stress is taken out of the equation just because somebody goes like, “Oh yes. I know. I just felt this anxiety, that’s to do with my mother-in-law coming over because she’s going to trigger blah blah blah something from childhood,” or whatever.

It just changes everything. People become more brave and courageous about like, “Hey, I know this now. It’s not going to faze me. I can just go and do it.” Then when it comes to healing trauma, my main go-to modality which I teach people how to do some- I’ve got a trainer training in this and it’s havening techniques. It’s a psycho sensory modality. It’s a neuroscience-based psycho sensory modality meaning that you stimulate the receptors on the skin to have a direct effect on the nervous system.

That’s to me, I’ve used so many trauma modalities over the years and that’s definitely my top go-to method. There’s obviously other things I combine it with because one thing about havening is it lends itself very well to combining it with hypnotherapy, visualizations, NLP. Whatever it is, you can actually bring it into it. It’s about stroking the receptors on the skin, when you do that and you act on the amygdala. You basically change the brain wave activity, and through that, you change the neurochemistry.

Essentially whatever you are doing, whatever modality you’re doing when you bring havening into it, you further amplify the results. Obviously havening is a standalone modality to heal trauma. That’s basically and I also bring the energy field into it because like we said that’s quite a big piece. Some people just want to do vagus nerve work. That’s very helpful, but really this picture is much bigger than that. We need to understand not just like, a heart has got this electromagnetic activity and it’s so great. Much greater than the brain, blah, blah, blah.

Obviously, that’s important, but we also need to understand the subtle body. I bring some energy medicine modalities into that too and just blend it all together in the end.

Ari: Nice. You mentioned at the beginning of this that movement, getting the body involved is really important. I know it sounds like havening technique is related to that. Can you elaborate on that topic of how the physical body and movement or touch and physical stuff relates to overcoming trauma and emotional toxicity?

Eva: The somatic element, isn’t it? What I believe this is to do with the fact that a lot of the trauma is actually stored in the fascia. With havening literally, we’ve got this element of stroking the skin. Definitely, there’s a somatic component right there but sometimes why this is important as well is because obviously from a very very early time in life, let’s take my example again. I had this trauma during pregnancy and then right after birth and right after that. That obviously is period of my life where I don’t have any conscious memory from that.

I have no conscious memories because you don’t have conscious memories at that point. That’s your implicit memory and that’s more kind of tissue-based memory. My mother had this Cesarean section and I was grabbed and pulled out, and then resuscitated and all of that. There’s a lot of this trauma there to the tissue. Of course, the fact that there is no conscious memory of that. When you work with a technique that requires you to bring up a memory so you can deal with the memory, like okay, well we can’t do it with that one.

However, I can still use havening if I know there was a problem like that. I have done this and it works really really well. I can take myself in my imagination to that moment and imagine what it would’ve been like to be in the womb and be stressed because of the situation. Then you can apply havening and act on the amygdala still, and it actually works really well. I also use yoga. Yoga therapy is very very useful for getting into the fascia and really helping it release. Some people say it’s in the muscle.

A lot of people say it’s not really in the muscle. It’s in the fascia. Whatever. It could be both. Trauma is encoded in the brains. When you’re talking about being stored in the brain, really there is this encoding. There is something that happens to the brain. What happens to the brain when you undergo trauma is that the receptors on surface of the amygdala neurons will come to the surface. They stay there because they’re ready, because the brain says, “Hey you survived it this time but hey, what if this happens again? You need to be ready next time. You need to be ready.”

Then anything that remotely resembles the original event and it could be something really crazy like you have a car accident, and there was a white car in the distance and your brain goes, “Oh white car, dangerous.” Then you go down the street and you get triggered because you see a white car. Trauma. There is something in the brain that happens and it’s this encoding. It actually changes the neuro connections and the neurochemistry of what happens in your head and in your body. Also, we obviously have this element of trauma being stored in the tissues.

Then we also have the element of trauma being stored in our energy field because we know ancestral trauma is a thing. That’s another thing that I look at. You need to do some ancestral clearing. Maybe not everybody but a lot of people. It is complex but if you have a pathway, if you have a step by step method and you are just going through it, people can do a lot of [inaudible 00:49:06] if not most of [inaudible 00:49:07]

Ari: If you were going to leave people with– apart from buying your course– For people listening, I do recommend working with Dr. Detko. I think her work is excellent in this field. If you’re going to leave people with, let’s say, your top three tips for addressing emotional toxicity or trauma in their life, in their journey to recover their health to optimize their health, what would be the top three things that you’d leave them with?

Eva: I do appreciate that not everybody will be like, “Whoa yes, I want to jump right in and do all this trauma work.” I completely appreciate that these people go, “Yes, no, maybe now you’re saying all those things. I recognize that may be a piece for me but I’m not sure I want to go there. If you feel you don’t quite want to jump with both feet but you do recognize that you have some of those triggers. That you have those anxieties and fears, and those different things, start stabilizing your nervous system. Start bringing more peace and calm into the system in whatever way it works for you.

If it’s exercise, like yoga, or tai chi, or Qigong, or whatever else, then that’s great. If you don’t like that, but you may be really like being in nature, or maybe gratitude journaling. That’s a really, really amazing one. Whatever works for you. What I would say is, make sure that you don’t necessarily go, “Hey, for two hours on Sunday, I’m going to meditate.” Rather than that, even though that would be great. If you could do that, surely, that’d be fantastic. However, most people can’t really do that.

That’s okay. You don’t need to when you’re first starting, but what you need to think about is asking yourself this question. In each and every moment, you can be more aware of yourself and ask, ”Well, am I activated right now? Am I possibly in fight or flight or am I feeling complete, really nice and settled and peaceful and relaxed and grounded?” If you can start asking yourself more of those questions more often. Then if you notice yourself being activated, slow deep breathing easy, cheap, effective.

Even something like that, because that’s going to connect you that’s going to ground you, and that’s going to calm you down. Obviously, there’s ton, and ton, and ton of breathing techniques. The exhale is the important bit. You can even not so much focus on the inhale. Get yourself a straw and breathe out really slowly through a straw. That is going to be activating the ventral vagus as we know. We know that’s true. That would be the stability, bring more stability into the system before you perhaps start jumping on trauma work, if you’re not feeling like this is quite what you want to do right yet.

Then the third thing I would say is move in some way. Human body was designed to move. We’re not designed to just sit on our ass all day long. I know, it can be challenging when you have all of these things that you need to get done. Then before you know it, sometimes I can be guilty of that, although I do make my yoga practice. If it’s summertime, there’s weather is good, I’m [inaudible 00:52:52] on the bike is like that has to be my priority. I would say, make that your priority, whatever it is, even if it is 20 minutes of gentle yoga practice in the morning, it’s still phenomenal.

We know from research, that even 12 minutes of yoga can have a very profound effect on your inflammatory markers. Just overall, how it’s going to transform you over the time. The last thing I would say is that, again, those things need to be practiced. At some level, you do need to make them your priority, because if you don’t, you’re going to be doing it every other week. You’re like, well, it’s not going to work so well. If you don’t have to be super over the top about it and say, ”I’m doing it. From today, I’m going to meditate for an hour every day.”

Well, again, if you can do that, that’s amazing. However, if you could do that, you probably wouldn’t have a chronic health issue at this time because you would already have done. It’s probably a barrier. Think at least, starting with something really simple like restorative yoga. Even when you think like, “I can’t be dealing with all those downward dogs. It’s too much,” think restorative. Do something really easy. Then when you start you go, ”Okay, well that’s actually starting to feel nice. I’m going to do that now. I’m going to do that now.”

Even on YouTube, there are many great little videos that you can follow. There is really no excuse, the resources are plentiful. One thing I’m going to say, if somebody is not ready to do a big course with me, my new book is designed to lead you into that. It does come with video and audio training. The book is not text because there’s only so much you can teach in a written form. I supported it with all sorts of videos and audio, so people can really understand what I’m trying to communicate in that way.

Ari: Wonderful. When is your book coming out? Is it already out?

Eva: The book is out April 5th, but if people preordered it now, they get sent a digital version. Literally, they’re not going to get the paperback straight away, but they get the digital version straightaway. If they want to get into it right away, they can.

Ari: Okay, excellent. Where’s the best place to get your book and to follow your work more broadly?

Eva: Obviously is on Amazon, but sometimes people don’t like Amazon. I think the publisher put it on all platforms that you can think that you can get the book from. That’s pretty much available from your Barnes and Noble and Book Depository and all of those places. It’s easy enough to find.

Ari: Excellent. Where’s your website? Where’s the best place to go [inaudible 00:55:56] all your work?

Eva: D-R –, D-R – E-V-A, and that’s yes. Got my book right there on the front page, as you can imagine, because I’m so excited about it.

Ari: Excellent. Dr. Detko, thank you much for coming to the show. I really looked forward to this for a long time and you didn’t disappoint. It was a pleasure. I look forward to the next time and good luck with your book launch.

Eva: Thank you much for having me. I really appreciate it. I hope this was useful.

Show Notes

The mind-body connection (07:37)
The primary cause of emotional toxicity (24:45)
The best way to heal emotional toxicity (35:30)


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