This is the first in a series of articles about the power of the pause in life and in therapy. In this article, I talk about why I am calling this kind of pause Active Pause, instead of just calling it a pause. In a nutshell, because the word ‘pause’ alone doesn’t do it justice. In everyday language, what we call a pause is a moment where activity is suspended, i.e. something that we associate with a blank as opposed to activity. I use the word ‘active’ to make the point that the pause is not just a ‘blank’ but an intentional rupture from the status quo, the flow of things as they currently are. Without rupture, there is no possibility of a breakthrough. If the pause were just a pause, in the ordinary sense of the term, what comes after it would be pretty much the same as what comes before it. But the value of the pause is that it allows for disruption, for the possibility of change.
Will Davis recently shared a paper he’d written on the role of connective tissue in character and armour development. After re-evaluating Reich's concept of muscular armour, Will offered a different perspective: he felt that the holdings in the myofascial system were primarily present in connective tissue (CT), not the muscles per se as Reich assumed. Will emphasized the connective tissues’ protective response to stress, and its plastic ability, during certain conditions, to return to the prestressed, healthy state. A matrix, he says, that acts as a non-neural, instantaneous communication system throughout the body, is formed because of the semi-conductive quality of connective tissue. When I received his paper, I noted that it was 20 pages long. My initial instinct was, What? Magazine articles average 1500 words in length, not tens of thousands. And still, to honor my colleague, I read his paper. Thank goodness I did. I was fascinated by the content and pleased with the writing style—figurative language, first person, logical comparisons, concrete examples shedding light on conceptual renderings. I learned new content and enjoyed the experience. As such, I am sharing his paper with you. I offer some excerpts from his text (not in linear sequence as presented in the paper) and a link to download the PDF to print and read at your leisure.
I grew up believing I was alive because other people needed me, because I played a significant role in their lives. And in truth, my choice to become a therapist was a choice to be at service for others. But, does the choice to open, to touch and be touched, to share our heart and our time with others have to come at the expense of our lives?
Join Pedram Shojai, OMD, for his free, exclusive, full-length movie screening of Origins. According to the Origins Film Premiere website, this film took four years...
Holy Moly! Every day in this country seems like a roller coaster ride and you know what, a part of me welcomes this new wave, especially the “bad” and “ugly”. Some people think it’s being exaggerated since our new administration took office but that isn’t so, the status quo is now merely being exposed. I see this as a good thing. America must awaken to sexism, classism, heterosexualism, and unsustainable ecological practices. Beyond obvious prejudice, behind superficial masks of equality, beside our continued denial of rights to the vulnerable and the disenfranchised, we must openly acknowledge insidious issues that have been both denied and accepted as long as human beings have been alive. Exposing what has been obscured is essential to facilitate change.
By Judith Sarah Schmidt, PhD Reviewed by Nancy Eichhorn, PhD Books come to me at the moment I need them. It may sound strange that a...
I was intrigued when I first came across Stephen W. Porges’ Polyvagal theory in 2008 reading his article entitled, Don’t Talk to Me Now, I’m Scanning for Danger. Porges’ Polyvagal theory redefined our former understanding of the autonomic nervous system, an understanding which has been in place since the mid 1800’s. In 2010, at a Somatic Experiencing® training, when my co-trainees and I were grappling with how to apply the theory, we made up lyrics and sang them to the tune of “I Loves You Porgy” from Gershwin’s 1935 opera “Porgy and Bess.” “We love you Porges, we’re polyvagal, We love your theory, though it’s complex, We want to use it, just please explain it, Write a synopsis, that would be best. We love you Porges. . . .” (I’ll spare you the rest, but you get the point.) Repeated requests at workshops and conferences for a user-friendly synopsis of his scholarly information as presented in The Polyvagal Theory, Neurophysiological Foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, Self-Regulation (2011) prompted Porges to create his more recent publication, The Pocket Guide to the Polyvagal Theory: The Transformative Power of Feeling Safe (2017). Going another step forward, Porges and co-editor Deb Dana published their newest anthology, Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory: The Emergence of Polyvagal-Informed Therapies (2018). Now, Dana offers her well-developed method of incorporating the Polyvagal theory into clinical practice. In her book, The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy, Dana offers the Polyvagal theory to psychotherapists as an elegant new science-based way of working with the body.
John Chitty, RPP, RCST®, (1949-2019) had many passions in his work: The two-chair method (working with polarity and pendulation), babies, relationships, energy medicine, states of health versus pathology, and autonomic nervous system state change. He had advice for every occasion from personal tragedy to business practice. He told several stories over and over again, which clued me into things he was most passionate about. One of them was the following, stated in an adamant and sometimes outraged insistent tone: “I have people coming in here and telling me that they want to get to root of their trauma to be rid of it once and for all. Well, I don’t think that you need to get to the root of trauma; all you need is state change. (picks up hand and points at me) State change is the name of the game (inflection and repeated pointing with every word).” “Yes sir!” I’d say.
During the workshop, she will begin by looking at some key scientific aspects of the neurobiology of touch and how they relate to the diverse uses of touch in Biodynamic psychology. Scientific findings underpin our understanding of the use of touch clinically. She will explore an updated understanding of the place of touch in the therapeutic encounter, referencing current research on the neuroscience of touch, affective touch, attachment, and trauma using clinical examples and integrated experiential work. She will pay attention to the phenomena of embodied transference, countertransference, resonance and interference (Boadella, 1981) whilst negotiating the dilemma: to touch or not to touch, and, if to touch, how to touch. Exploring how we as psychotherapists can “hold the possibility of touch, as it can be both an appropriate or inappropriate therapeutic intervention” (Asheri, 2009 page 108).
This conference brings together two dynamic clinician-authors at the heart of the contemporary discourse on the place of the body and somatic experience in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis: William Cornell, author of Somatic Experience in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (2015) and Jon Sletvold, author of The Embodied Analyst: From Freud and Reich to Relationality (2014). The program will combine conceptual elements with discourse, clinical and supervisory examples, demonstrations of training and supervision techniques, and a good deal of experiential work drawn from the speakers' many decades as clinicians and trainers. This diversely formatted program will appeal to psychodynamic and analytic clinicians, those involved in the training and supervision of psychotherapists, and somatic psychotherapists who want to experience the clinical and training styles of these internationally-known body psychotherapy innovators.