Lifespan Integration is a gentle, body-based therapeutic method which heals without re-traumatizing. In 2003, Peggy Pace published the first edition of her book, Lifespan Integration: Connecting Ego States through Time. In her book Pace describes the new therapeutic method which she developed through her work with her clients. Pace originally designed Lifespan Integration therapy for adult survivors of childhood abuse or neglect. She soon found that LI therapy facilitates rapid healing in people of all ages, and is effective with a wide range of therapeutic issues. Since 2004, Pace has been training therapists throughout the US and Western Europe.
Lifespan Integration relies on the innate ability of the body-mind to heal itself. LI is body-based, and utilizes repetitions of a visual time line of memories to facilitate neural integration and rapid healing. During the integrating phase of each LI protocol, the client ‘views’ a memory image for each year of their life. The Lifespan Integration technique causes memories to surface spontaneously, and because of how memories are held neurologically, each memory which surfaces is related to the emotional theme or issue being targeted. The resulting panoramic view of the client’s life gives the client new insights about lifelong patterns resultant from the past trauma or neglect.
Repetitions of a timeline of the client’s memory cues are central to every LI protocol. Some LI protocols are focused on clearing body memory of trauma, and some are focused on building self-structure. Most LI protocols do some of both. The number of cues used per repetition and the number of repetitions of the timeline done each session depend on the protocol being used, and on each individual client’s psychological structure.
Seeing repetitions of the flow of time proves to clients that they have survived their pasts, no matter how traumatic. The timeline always ends in present time. Through the process of LI therapy, clients come to understand, on a cellular level, that they are living here and now in present time. The process of viewing repetitions of chronological memories of their lives strengthens connections between neurons within clients’ body-mind systems to build an increasingly coherent and more broadly distributed map of self through space and time. Neuroscience tells us that a space-time map of self is key to a unified sense of Self.
After LI therapy, people find themselves spontaneously reacting to current stressors in more age appropriate ways. Clients who begin LI therapy with memory gaps are eventually able to connect the pieces of their lives into a coherent whole. Clients who have completed Lifespan Integration therapy report that they feel better about life, are more self-accepting, and are better able to enjoy their intimate relationships.