hope & transformation are possible when we Are present to and include the whole self ...mind and body.
When I use the "body,” I am referring to bodily-based experience, raw sensations in the body in contrast to thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, or even emotions (which can often include a narrative component).
If we drop underneath the interpretations of immediate experience, we find a very alive world of sensations such as contraction, expansion, freezing, speed, pressure, excitement, numbing, intensity, flatness, nausea, constriction, spaciousness, dullness, warmth, and cold. We can experience these on their own as well as components of more complex conditions such as anxiety, depression, and trauma.
In a moment of emotional activation – say with panic, despair, shame, or rage – it can be helpful to temporarily set aside these words and make direct contact with what is unfolding in our immediate experience. In doing so, we may discover that we cannot find “anxiety” or “shame” (these are already interpretations of a particular configuration of experience), but instead we discover a very unique assembly of specific thoughts, feelings, and impulses.
For many of us, the habit is to turn from this material, to exit into interpretation and other forms of dissociation as we have come to associate certain self-states with being unsafe, overwhelmed, and on the brink of being thrown outside our window of tolerance. However, many have discovered that is the turning from themselves in times of need that is the actual root cause of so much additional suffering and struggle.
In moments of activation, we need ourselves more than ever, to encode new pathways of self-care, replacing the older circuitry of self-aggression and self-abandonment with the slower responses of empathy, attunement, curiosity, and compassion. No, it’s not easy. But we can go slowly, one moment at a time. Just one second is enough. More than enough. And from that “one second” a new world is born.
In addition to the thoughts, feelings, and habitual behaviors, there is often a lot happening in the body at the level of raw sensation. Most of us were not trained to attune to this level of experience and it can take some practice. There is valuable information in the body which presents itself during moments of emotional intensity and it is both wise and also kind to tend to it as part of our inquiry.
Crossing The Divides/Beyond Trauma
The SE Approach facilitates the completion of self-protective motor responses and the release of thwarted survival energy bound in the body, thus addressing the root cause of trauma symptoms. This is approached by gently guiding clients to develop increasing tolerance for difficult bodily sensations and emotions and to be able to establish a greater capacity to engage with the environment in the present moment with a growing sense of ease and safety.
SE trauma resolution does not require the traumatised person to re-tell or re-live the traumatic event. Instead, it offers the opportunity to engage, complete, and resolve—in a slow and supported way—the body’s instinctual fight, flight and freeze responses. This resets the nervous system, restores inner balance, enhances resilience to stress, and increases people’s vitality, equanimity, and capacity to actively engage in life.
In our world and in these crazy times, perhaps it is especially important to remember the body, the vessel, for it is a sanctuary of immense intelligence and majesty.
Organic Intelligence (OI) is a theory and clinical practice of human empowerment, resiliency, and compassion to resolve the devastating effects of stress, trauma, and PTSD. It breaks new ground in positive psychology, clinical training, professional expertise, and personal development. OI brings a necessary shift in perspective from pathology and trauma to the proven methods drawn from the science of self-organization. It teaches how healing happens from the nervous system up and makes it possible to imagine freedom from suffering. Freedom from suffering becomes freedom for living an authentic, vibrant life in the here-and-now.
Organic Intelligence was developed by Steven Hoskinson, MA, MAT, who has trained thousands of practitioners and mentored trauma resolution instructors in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia."
It is incredibly important, intelligent, and compassionate to attend to each of the dimensions of our human experience. All are sacred in their own way and as a system they are a true miracle. Especially in times of suffering, confusion, and struggle, it is an act of kindness to consider each of the levels and what they may be trying to share with us. Organic Intelligence allows our experience to arise organically taking this process even further, reuniting you with your strength and goodness, at all levels of your experience, bringing them together into atonement (at-one-ment). This is the true meaning of integration, this bringing of the layers together in one act of self-compassion, mercy, wisdom, and love.
Somatic (Touch) Practice
When early trauma is not addressed in therapy and remains untreated, it becomes deeply held at body level. This foundational dysregulation may cause severe somatic/medical symptoms for the young child and much later for the adult. To address preverbal states and disrupted physiology I use table work and touch therapy. These allow the client to stay somatically present, regulate physiological responses and minimize the potential for being overwhelmed by strong physiological sensations. These table techniques are used to resource the client. This modality makes space to unload the traumatic stress physiology slowly. It accesses states of calm that other modalities can't. It is the gateway to re-establishing regulation as a base to come back to when the early physiology has been disrupted. Table and touch work slowly get the client back within healthy physiology and help them to reach their genetic potential.
Through healthy co-regulation with the therapist, new neuro-pathways are established and survivor behaviors can abate. The client gets to re-sort the world with a different lens: the lens of safety through co-regulation. Table work and touch therapy help establish a new basement, a new foundation: they help the client trust differently.
When regulation is established, the conditions are set to unpack the bigger and scarier stuff, the ghosts in the closet. What has been held at bay by management techniques will surface as the client regulates. Slowly, the resourced body will release some hidden stress responses. From there we being to process the cycles of activation as they emerge.
Expressive therapy at Crossing the Divides/Beyond Trauma is the practice of using imagery, storytelling, drumming, drama, poetry, movement and sand-tray in an integrated way, to foster human growth, development, and healing. Traditionally expressive therapy is its own distinct inter-modal discipline where the therapist and client move freely between drawing, dancing, music making, drama, movement and poetry. At CTD/BT while this process remains fluid I never lose sight of where the real action is taking place - in the nervous system. Whatever we are doing I continually monitor and bring my clients back to managing and navigating the cycles of fight, flight, freeze and collapse in the Autonomic Nervous System to facilitate deep and liberating healing.
What to expect from a session at Crossing the Divides/Beyond Trauma
A Somatic Practice and Organic Intelligence session at CDT/BT includes the body in the healing process. I will not stop at the thoughts/ beliefs or even pre-labeled, generalized emotions or conditions. I will gently guide you to be curious during challenging times and drop down into the body to make contact with the life and potential that is surging there.
What is expected of you.
Just bring you, your curiosity and desire for healing. These are more than enough.
What to expect from me.
What I can do is offer myself, wholehearted and present, to walk with you through the fear and the mess. That’s all any of us can do. That’s what I am here for.”