The video begins with a call to action from Nick Totton who shows how our societal tendency to be disembodied is an expected response to trauma. Building on this, Morit Heitzler explores how, as therapists, we can learn to become more attuned to the body of the other and to offer a deeper emotionally regulating experience. We finish with a presentation from Tony Buckley, again focussed on how we can work therapeutically with our clients and how the practice of Sensorimotor psychotherapy works to release those who are stuck in a traumatic experience.
Nick Totton: “Body Psychotherapy’s Contribution to Social and Political Renewal”
Very many people would agree that we are in deep trouble as a society and as a species. I am going to be arguing that an important aspect of our predicament is that we have become disembodied – losing touch with the rich flesh that grounds our experience of and our relationship with the world. Among the effects are a loss of connection with the wild and the other-than-human; with our embodied intuition and empathy; and with our capacity for pleasure and relaxation.
These losses are not only bad for us; they are bad for the planetary ecosystem, since we are acting from a place of alienation and isolation. I will be suggesting that our disembodiment is largely a function of personal and collective trauma; and that embodied forms of therapy can make an important contribution to changing it, both on a small scale through individual and group therapy, and on a larger scale by being a public voice for rebalancing and renewal.
Morit Heitzler: “Somatic countertransference and the therapist’s body”
Over the last decades, the field of psychotherapy has increasingly recognise the centrality of the body and non-verbal communication in psychotherapeutic processes. Neuroscience’s contributions (mirror neurones, right-brain-to-right-brain attunement, etc) have emphasised the importance of the mind-body connection and helped us understand why awareness of the body is crucial in attachment and affect regulation. This has great implications for the practice both of therapy and of supervision.
Traditionally, psychoanalysts might have used the term ‘somatic countertransference’ to point to aspects of our internal experience as therapists and viewed it as an obstacle to the therapeutic space. These days, we do not see the ability to experience in our own bodies the unconscious messages transferred to us through non-verbal channels as a threat to the neutrality of the therapist, but as a precious form of communication that can support and deepen our understanding and attunement to the client’s body-mind system.
In this talk Morit will explore and demonstrate how as therapists we can attune to and process the information inherent in our ‘somatic countertransference’ so it becomes useful and transformative, and how by doing so we increase our capacity to function as the ‘regulatory object’ and a relational container for both our clients and ourselves.
Tony Buckley: “The Sequelae of Embodied Trauma – Latest Movie Release”
The movies provide an interesting metaphor for illustrating the impacts of trauma which later becomes a sequence of replayed activation in the client’s body in response to triggering stimuli. Defensive action becomes truncated, an incomplete script encoding only partial sequence of activation in response to danger and life threat.
Trauma can be characterised as an interrupted movie script which remains fixated as an incomplete sequence of immobilising or defensive life preserving action patterns, experienced as sensation, tension and impulse replaying like a looping but incomplete movie reel.
Dissociation can be understood as consciousness operating as a movie film board censor, editing and removing the most disturbing scenes which further interrupts the sequence and leaves free floating physiological sensations divorced from original imagistic content.
The phrase “latest movie release” represents a sensorimotor treatment approach which invites the client to access the interrupted sequence and allow the body to complete its sequence of activation where the client can become their own hero or heroine to triumphant outcome. This conference workshop illustrates the sensorimotor approach towards resolution of dysregulated states through exercises, slides and video highlighting the body’s natural sequencing processes.
The video shown below is a trailer only. Once you have purchased this course you will be able to view the full video.