The Handbook of Body Psychotherapy and Somatic Psychology: A Day Long Celebration

Current state of body psychotherapy research and contemporary somatic psychotherapeutic practices with Ilse Schmidt-Zimmerman.

The Psychology and Neurobiology of Mediation

Elizabeth E. Bader's recent publication, The Psychology and Neurobiology of Mediation (in The Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution) is now available for SPT Readers. Elizabeth looks at mediation in terms of the nervous system's response to threat and challenge (what she calls the IDR cycle--inflation, deflation, and realistic resolution). She explores the links between the psychological and neurobiological dimensions of mediation and integrates the work of Stephen Porges (Polyvagal Theory) and Peter Levine (Somatic Experiencing). She notes a distinct feature of mediation is that those involved experience both threat and safety responses simultaneously.

Understanding the Impact of Early Trauma and How to Heal It

Pregnancy and birth truly matter. Research has shown that the internal states of a mother influence the life of the baby inside her, especially those created by chronic stress and overwhelming events. Caring for a baby inside the mother means more than proper nutrition; it involves helping the mother and her partner connect with the baby, and determining what supports that mother, in particular. Every baby needs two layers of support; for the inside baby, the mother is her world.

How We Can Be Together From Before the Beginning: Womb Surround Birth Process

We develop in a sequence: conception, implantation, embryo, fetus, baby. Our cells unfold in a sequence, too. We form our bodies in relationship with our mother, our first environment, and then our family. Participants in the Womb Surround Process create specific intentions based on patterns that continue, in many ways, to confine and function as constrictions detrimental in their lives. These patterns are adaptive to the overwhelming event or events in our history but no longer serve in the present; in fact, they can get in the way of our growth or even the resolution of the original trauma.

Inside Shame Transformation: The Blame Game

I remember, not too long ago, experiencing what I call the blame game and its potential to capsize my therapeutic relationship with a client. Each Alchemy of Shame Transformation (AST) Model session lasts 75 minutes. Although integration happens throughout the session, the last 10 or 15 minutes are reserved for cognitive integration of the experience; clients are encouraged to devote a special journal or notebook to capture the tools we harnessed from the session.

Embodying Embryology: Accessing Our Original Potential

My first inkling of early trauma emerged while receiving bodywork. While previous therapy was helpful, touching early prenatal and birth traumas hidden beyond my conscious awareness required including my body in therapy. Massage leading to emotional release began the process. This was followed by dance/movement psychotherapy where I learned to notice and express what was held in my tissues. I was fascinated by memories of feeling unwelcomed and unwanted, losing a twin, being plucked out of the womb with forceps from a mother too drugged to remember if she had held me after birth, or to realize the wrong baby was brought to her three days later.

Organic Intelligence

Revival: Somatic Methodism & My Departure from the SE Trauma Institute

Using the Two-Chair Process: For Helping Babies and Families

The “two-chair” process is a remarkably effective, gentle and safe way to support new families. Popularized in the late 1960s by Fritz Perls, MD (1893-1970) as part of his Gestalt therapy, the method was expanded by Robert Hall, MD (1934-) based on Hall’s study with polarity therapy founder Randolph Stone, DO, DC, ND (1890-1981). The present-day manifestation of the two-chair process also reflects the influence of Peter Levine, PhD (1942-), who studied with Stone and Hall. For a complete description of the method, see Dancing with Yin and Yang (2013) by John Chitty, which contains an extensive 80-page, highly detailed chapter of the two-chair process.

The Handbook of Body Psychotherapy and Somatic Psychology: A Day Long Celebration

“Failure informs me,” William Cornell said. “You can’t learn if you’re not disturbed.” With 45 years in the field, William certainly understands the importance of noticing what excites you and what disturbs you—these are your learning edge, your leading edge, he said.

The Treasure and the Tragedy of Wilhelm Reich

Whether psychology’s debt to Dr. Wilhelm Reich is acknowledged or not, many of our present day systems of psychotherapy rest squarely on his shoulders. Though now dead, he remains impressively alive. And in the context of what a fearful society can do to its greatest innovators, I believe his story, and in effect my story of our relationship, needs to be told far and wide.