- rational, logical
- images of past trauma deactivate the left hemisphere of the brain
- does all the talking
- linguistic, sequential, and analytical
- we know the left hemisphere has come online when children start to understand language and learn how to speak. This enables them to name things, compare them, understand their interrelations, and begin to communicate their own unique, subjective experiences to others.
- remembers facts, statistics, and the vocabulary of events. We call on it to explain our experiences and put them in order.
- deactivation of the left hemisphere has a direct impact on the capacity to organize experience into logical sequences and to translate our shifting feelings and perceptions into words. Without sequencing we can't identify cause and effect, grasp the long-term effects of our actions, or create coherent plans for the future.
- intuitive, artistic
- images of past trauma activate the right hemisphere of the brain
- emotional, visual, spatial, and tactual
- the right half of the brain carries the music of experience. It communicates through facial expressions and body language and by making the sounds of love and sorrow: by singing, swearing, crying, dancing, or mimicking. The right brain is the first to develop in the womb, and it carries the nonverbal communication between mothers and infants.
- the right brain stores memories of sound, touch, smell, and the emotions they evoke. It reacts automatically to voices, facial features, and gestures and places experienced in the past. What it recalls feels like intuitive truth - the way things are.
The two halves of the brain speak different languages and process the imprints of the past in dramatically different ways. Under ordinary circumstances, the two sides of the brain work together more or less smoothly, even in people who might be said to favor one side over the other. However, having one side or the other shut down, even temporarily, is disabling.
From The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk.