Entangled Roots E-Book


I am so honoured that you have chosen to discover this work with me. This handbook is your accompaniment to the online course, which I hope you enjoy and find valuable, whether for your own personal use or within your practice.

With love + blessings,

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Clare Spink
Founder of School of Empowered Feminine
© Clare Spink copyright all rights reserved 2022

Instagram + Facebook: EmpoweredFeminine.co


This book is not to be used in place of medical advice or relied upon in this way. The information shared is the result of years of practice, my own training and information gathered from Trauma specialists. The information provided may vary depending on your own personal experiences.

We do not guarantee results and if you or someone you know is suffering from mental illness, you should seek advice from trained medical professionals to support your/their healing journey.

Module 1Trauma Background4
Section 1.1Epigenetics5
Section 1.2Our Brain10
Section 1.3Autonomic Nervous System13
Section 1.4Somatic Experience22
Section 1.5Trauma25
Section 1.6Abusive Relationships27
Section 1.7Attachment vs Authenticity30
Section 1.7.1High Functioning Co-Dependent36
Section 1.8Attachment Styles39
Section 1.9Inherited Trauma44
Section 1.10Limbic Imprinting & Early Childhood Trauma56
Module 2Four Unconscious Themes63
Section 2.1Break in the Bond65
Section 2.2Merging73
Section 2.3Rejection76
Section 2.4Identification80
Section 2.5Shame, Anger & Grief82
Section 2.6Key Situations87
Module 3Personality Disorders93
Section 3.1Sociopaths & Narcissists94
Module 4Disentangling the Entanglements108
Section 4.1Full Body Yes/No109
Section 4.2Family Constellations112
Section 4.3Creating Boundaries115
Section 4.4Healing the Mother Bond117
Section 4.5Reframing the Brain120
Section 4.6Journaling/Reflective Writing123
Section 4.7Meditations & Guided Visualisations126
Section 4.8Healing Sentences128
Section 4.9TraumaMap137
Section 4.10Tips for Working with Entangled Roots140
Wisdom Sharers144

 Entangled Roots Therapy

“I feel very strongly that I am under the influence of things or questions which were left incomplete and unanswered by my parents and grandparents and more distant ancestors. It often seems as if there were an impersonal karma within a family which is passed on from parents to children. It has always seemed to me that I had to complete, or perhaps continue, things which previous ages had left unfinished”


Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections

Entangled Roots therapy is an opportunity to look deeply within our family history to understand why we have patterns, beliefs and traumas running through our own lives.

  • Where did they begin?
  • Whose story is it really?
  • How are we holding on to these traumas in our body?
  • Are we unconsciously seeking ways to repeat these traumas?

During this course, we shall look deeper into other “trauma” patterns that we hold, unpacking the root, so that we can disentangle ourselves, setting us free to live juicy, authentic & fulfilled lives.



Bruce Lipton, a pioneering cell biologist, demonstrated that our DNA can be affected by both negative and positive thoughts, beliefs, and emotions. He discovered that signals from the environment could operate through the cell membrane, controlling the behaviour and physiology of the cell, which could either activate or silence a gene.

Through his extensive research, it was discovered how cellular memory is transferred through a mother’s womb to her unborn child, biochemically altering her child’s genetic expression.

For example, when a mother is continually stressed or angry during pregnancy, it will pre-program her child as they adapt to their environment. Crossing through the placenta, the stress hormones cause the foetus to constrict its blood vessels, preparing for fight/flight, thus altering their genetic response.

Emotions can biologically be communicated for 3 generations, as the cells that create you, started to form inside your mother when she was in your grandmother’s womb.

It was originally believed that genetic inheritance was transmitted purely through chromosomal DNA, however it has now been discovered that DNA (the DNA that is responsible for your physical traits such as eye, hair, and skin colour) only makes up 2% of our DNA and in fact the other 98% is made up of noncoding DNA (ncDNA).

RNA is copied from DNA; the ncRNA doesn’t have proteins, so it piggy backs onto the MRNA (Messenger RNA) which then either interferes or amplifies the function, causing more or less proteins to be produced, resulting in which genes get actively expressed.

ncDNA is affected by environmental stressors, such as toxins, nutrition, and stressful emotions and this is transmitting information in our mother’s womb, preparing us for life to have particular traits to adapt to the environment.

These adaptive changes are caused by chemical changes in the cells, these are known as epigenetic tags, which attach to the DNA and tell the cell to either activate or silence a gene.

The most common epigenetic tag is DNA methylation, a process that blocks proteins from attaching to a gene, suppressing its expression. This can positively or adversely affect our health by locking either helpful or unhelpful genes in the “off” position.

Another epigenetic mechanism is microRNA, and as with DNA methylation, stress to the microRNA levels will affect how the genes are expressed in multiple generations. The most common genes affected are CRF1 and CRF2, and high levels of these genes are seen in those who suffer with depression and anxiety.

“Trauma has the power to reach out from the past and claim new victims”

Dr David Sack, an addiction psychiatrist.

Children of a parent struggling with PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) can often develop their own PTSD, known as secondary PTSD. The parent’s trauma becomes the child’s own trauma, and their behaviour and emotional issues can mirror those of their parents.

Epigenetics Inheritance

Researchers used mice in controlled studies to explore this further.

In one study, female mice were prevented from nurturing their pups for up to 3 hours per day during the first 2 weeks of life. Later in life, their offspring exhibited behaviours similar to what we would see of depression in humans, worsening as they aged.

Some of the males did not express the behaviours themselves, but epigenetically transmitted the behavioural changes to their female offspring. The key gene involved was CRF2, which regulates anxiety.

It is commonly known that human infants who’ve been separated from their mothers can experience similar challenges as a result.

During a study in 2014 with rats at the University of Lethbridge in Canada, researchers examined the effects of stress on pregnant mothers and delivering preterm babies, who also bore daughters that had shortened pregnancies. Granddaughters of stressed grandmothers had shorter pregnancies than mothers who had not been stressed.

Stress can be transmitted through at least 3 generations.

The Brain Research Institute of the University of Zurich in 2014 subjected male mice to repeated and prolonged intense stress by separating them from their mothers. The mice displayed depression-like symptoms; their pups that followed in the next 2 generations also displayed the same symptoms of trauma despite never being exposed to it first-hand.

The microRNA was present in their sperm, blood, and hippocampi (the hippocampus is the region of the brain responsible for stress responses). This research demonstrates that trauma can also be passed on through the father to their offspring via their sperm.

Isabelle Monsuit, a professor in neuro-epigenetics, conducted an experiment with mice, separating them from their mothers, causing stress. They then placed the mice in water.

Those that were NOT traumatised, swam to escape.

Those that WERE traumatised, did not try to escape, and drowned.

In a study in 2016, researchers found that trauma symptoms could be reversed after they lived positive, low stress lives. Not only did they display different behaviours, BUT their DNA methylation expression was ALSO altered, thus not passing on to their offspring.

Another experiment that demonstrates how trauma can be shared through generations, was conducted by Emory University School of Medicine in 2013. Mice were trained to fear a scent similar to cherry blossom, known as acetophenone. Each time they were exposed to the scent, they would receive an electric shock. Over time they had a greater amount of smell receptors to that particular scent, meaning they could smell it at a lower concentration. Researchers could also identify changes in the mice’s sperm.

The next 2 generations, when exposed to the same scent, became nervous, jumpy, and avoided it, having never experienced it before. Their brains and sperm also had the same cellular response as the original mice.

Brian Dias, one of the researchers, suggested that there is something in the sperm that is informing that information to be inherited.

This demonstrates that they not only had the same sensitivity to the scent but also the same response to it, which becomes fascinating to humans, meaning that ancestors unknowingly have informed us of a particular environment that was negative for them.

Researcher’s term this “Transgenerational Epigenetic Inheritance” the notion that behaviours can pass from one generation to another: recurring patterns of illness, depression, anxiety, relationship struggles, financial problems and so on.

“Fractured parts of us need to be integrated”

Every time we experience trauma, we disconnect, and the trauma lies within our somatic memory, whether the trauma is ours or inherited. This creates holes in our core, we can’t self-regulate, and we REACT to experiences, instead of RESPONDING.

Experiences that don’t feel safe or are uncomfortable will cause an unconscious tightening, a lack of oxygen to that area holding the trauma, causing pain and disease.

For example, someone who cannot stand to hear a crying baby – the generations before them, babies were left to cry it out, this can trigger uncomfortable memories for them that they are unconsciously aware of.

Our Brain

 Our Brain

  • Our brain is made up of two hemispheres: the left & right
  • Left hemisphere is larger than the right and is responsible for the verbal functions
  • Right hemisphere is responsible for spatial functions
The Cerebral Cortex/Neocortex

This is divided into lobes:

Frontal Lobe (forehead) responsible for emotions, judgement, and planning.

This lobe is the last to mature, which explains why children do not plan efficiently.

Temporal Lobes mature around the age of 7 and are responsible for timing & attention, they also play a role in memory, expression, and speech.

Parietal Lobes are responsible for spatial functions; the left lobe is responsible for spatial language i.e., on, over, on top, under whilst the right is responsible for spatial functions i.e., how big is the room you are in?

Occipital Lobe is responsible for sight.

Beneath the cerebral lobes are the most sensitive brain components:

Limbic System

Hippocampus: linked to learning and memory

Amygdala: linked to emotions and aggression

Hypothalamus: controls body processes such as heart rate, hunger, thirst, circadian rhythms.

Thalamus: the relay station of the brain, it can govern sleep and wakefulness and supports regulating the feelings of hunger, thirst, temperature, and breastfeeding.

Trauma shapes your view of the world and interferes with brain development, starting in your mother’s womb. Healthy brain development requires a physically and emotionally nurturing environment.

Childhood experiences shape the brain, which circuits will develop, and which will not, how much serotonin or dopamine receptors you will have, which hooks are connected, disconnected, or underdeveloped.

It is the lack of connection and development of the oxytocin hormone that creates sociopaths.

Brain development is an ongoing process that starts before birth, continues into adulthood, and establishes either a sturdy or fragile foundation for all the learning and development that follows.

Adopted children statistically are a higher risk for ADHD, depression, anxiety, and suicide. For many adopted children, they spend the first 9 months in a stressed womb and then are separated from their mother at birth, which can be deemed as one of the highest trauma levels.

The major influence on brain development is the quality of caregiving, interaction, and love from our parents. Everyone holds some form of trauma whether we were abused or not, neglected or not, there is something that happens that our parents were too stressed, too distracted, too traumatised, too pressured to give us that full responsiveness that forms a fully healthy brain and the self-development required.

Trauma is multi-generational because sometimes the trauma occurs to our ancestors and we carry it epigenetically as we have already discussed, or we pass it on unknowingly by being workaholics, stressed, distracted, or so disconnected from our own traumas that we are not able to connect fully to our children.

Autonomic Nervous System

 Autonomic Nervous System

The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) is like the main switchboard communicating to our body and is made up of two main branches: Sympathetic and Parasympathetic.

Through an electrochemical operating system, the nervous system informs us through sensations, nerve activation, neurotransmitters, and other signals how to respond in the environment. Always relaying the level of safety, whether that is physical or emotional safety.

The basics we have been taught is that the ANS consists of 2 parts: the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) and the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS).

Anatomy of the Autonomic Nervous System

Sympathetic nerves arise from  near the middle of the spinal cord, beginning at the first thoracic vertebra of the vertebral column and are thought to extend to the second or third lumbar vertebra. It responds to cues of danger and triggers the release of adrenaline, which fuels the fight-or-flight response.

Within the Parasympathetic Nervous System, there are two pathways found in a nerve called the vagus. From the brainstem at the base of the skull, the vagus travels in two direction; downward through the lungs, heart, diaphragm, and stomach and upward to connect with nerves in the neck, throat, eyes, and ears. The diaphragm is the central point of the PNS.

Sympathetic Nervous System

The sympathetic branch of the ANS activates when we feel a sense of discord, unease, or lack of safety. When something triggers a neuroception of danger, we go into action. Fight or flight happens here. In this state, our heart rate speeds up, our breath is short and shallow, we scan our environment looking for danger, we are “on the move.”

Fight, Flight, Freeze and Fawn response

The responses to any form of situation which we may perceive as a trauma, or a trigger can be broken down into 4 categories. The Sympathetic Nervous System is responsible for the Fight or Flight, the Parasympathetic Nervous System is responsible for the Freeze or Fawn response.

Fight (SNS)

Becomes highly aggressive, name calling yelling, slamming doors, feels out of control, ranting, dominates conversations

Flight (SNS)

Avoids conflict, “ghosts”, flees the situation, ignores the situation, escapes as a coping mechanism.

Freeze (PNS)

Shuts down, goes silent, dissociation, spaced out

Fawn (PNS)

People-pleasers, defer to other people, goes along with the situation, denies all of their own needs and feelings, fears saying NO, are overly polite, and agreeable.

Parasympathetic Nervous System: Polyvagal Theory

Dr. Stephen Porges is the originator of Polyvagal Theory. He identified a biological order of human response that is active in all human experience and concluded that the information we’ve always been taught about the ANS only consisting of the SNS & PNS is outdated and we need to look at the third in the system, the Polyvagal nerve. It has been likened to the social engagement system, a playful mixture of activation and calming that operates out of unique nerve influence.

From the moment of birth our autonomic nervous system, without us thinking about it, is constantly scanning for signs of safety or danger. This scanning process is called  neuroception and works beautifully alongside Co-regulation.

Polyvagal theory views the parasympathetic nervous system as being split into two distinct branches: a “ventral vagal system” which supports social engagement, and a “dorsal vagal system” which supports immobilisation behaviours, both “rest and digest” and defensive immobilisation or “shutdown”.

Polyvagal theory helps us understand that both branches of the vagus nerve calm the body, but they do so in different ways.

Dorsal Vagal Nerve

Shutdown, or freeze-or-faint, occurs through the dorsal branch of the vagus nerve. This reaction can feel like the fatigued muscles and light-headedness of a bad flu. When the dorsal vagal nerve shuts down the body, it can move us into immobility or dissociation. In addition to affecting the heart and lungs, the dorsal branch affects body functioning below the diaphragm and is involved in digestive issues.

Ventral Vagal Nerve

The ventral branch of the vagal nerve affects the body functioning above the diaphragm. This is the branch that serves the social engagement system. The ventral vagal nerve dampens the body’s regularly active state.

Polyvagal Theory – The Organised Principles


There are 3 organised principles of Polyvagal Theory, which is how we navigate our daily living.

Drive to survive and a longing to connect.

We don’t survive as humans without another human to co-regulate with.

Sometimes they operate well together and can create a wonderful relationship.

Sometimes they don’t work so well together, instead we end up anxious, argumentative, disconnecting, running away from relationships.

Our drive to survive will be giving cues of danger and telling us “Do not connect” these are built into our NS through our past experiences.


“Trauma is a chronic disruption of connectiveness”

Dr Stephen Porges


Our trauma stories are carried in the dysregulation of the nervous system.

How can we create pathways of “connection” when we have pathways of “protection” going on? This is a conversation our autonomic system is always having.

When we send cues of safety, we welcome the invitation to connect and to come into co-regulation with another being.

When we send cues of danger, or our nervous system recognises a warning, our adaptive survival response is reinforced.

We have 5 Cranial Nerves of Social Engagement – these control our facial nerves to allow us to eye gaze, listen, use our voice, our face, our mouth to smile.

Detection without awareness

Neuroception describes the body constantly scanning our internal and external environment for cues of safety or danger. It’s functioning below our subconscious, although you are likely to be aware of the physiological responses it causes. They are sent to your brain, which is then tasked with making sense of it, in other words, a story. The problem is that we may be telling ourselves the wrong ones.