According to Serge Prengel, “The theme of the 2019 International Focusing Conference is about being human, just human. This is such a great theme. Why should we wait all this time to explore it? I suggest we just declare the conference open as of right now. And we start exploring this theme internally, in conversations with others, as well is in our communications through social media and otherwise. So, by the time of the conference, we will not be simply discovering the theme, but we will come to the conference already enriched and ready to go even deeper in our explorations.”
I am, admittedly and unabashedly, enthusiastic about Stephen Porges’ work. I’ve attended his workshops, learned his process for measuring heart rate variability as an indicator of vagal tone, interviewed him for several articles published in this magazine, and have read his books and articles. This review is clearly biased. And with that said, I will offer my honest opinions and not side step points that for some may or may not be considered 100 percent positive.
For those new to Porges’ work, he is noted as the originator of the Polyvagal Theory (PVT), which is his perspective of how our autonomic nervous system, dependent on phylogenetic transitions/shifts that occurred between reptiles and mammals, resulted in specific adaptations in vagal pathways regulating the heart, which in turn impact our lives.
In her new book, The Body Remembers Volume 2: Revolutionizing Trauma Treatment, Babette Rothschild includes what she calls a new ‘tool’, which is, in effect, a table and chart that identify the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and the effects of ANS arousal in the therapeutic setting. It is designed to help therapists better monitor, evaluate, and regulate client ANS arousal states thus making trauma treatment safer through observation and modulation.
The information as graphically depicted in this book represents what I call a ‘map’. Babette and I have been colleagues for many years in the same professional field, and we share a common passion—we like making maps. Furthermore, we like to keep working with them until they have reached a level of precision that is helpful not only to ourselves but also to other trained trauma therapists – and to clients.
Jagged edges of pain were audible and palpable in Kris’ voice when he initially called. “I need therapy. But . . . I can’t come now . . . I’m . . . in a hospital. I’d like to call you again . . . when I’m out.” I met Kris two months later after his discharge from a local psychiatric program. No longer at risk for self-harm, Kris was a tall, attractive man in his late thirties with a story of misery. Kris talked about childhood bullying and his recent marital demise that had caused him financial and emotional devastation. Yet, regardless of these past and current traumas, Kris possessed strengths.
Dr Kelly Flanagan, therapist, author of Loveable: Embracing What Is Truest About You, So You Can Truly Embrace Your Life, is offering a new, year long, weekly Facebook Live podcast experience to increase readers’ experience with the intentionality of practicing growth transformation and acceptance of self. Beginning Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at 9 am Chicago time, Dr Flanagan will read a chapter from his book and then talk about his companion book that offers exercises to deepen the practices offered in Loveable and in the digital companion book he wrote.
“Ahhhgh!” Lance moaned as he slouched stiffly on the couch on an airy summer day.
He stretched his legs past the edge of the table, rubbed his right thigh. Lance groaned. “I’m a mess. The two little ones were crawling all over me this morning, bumping every inch of me that’s bruised. I had to get up and get all of them breakfast, but my body hurt so bad I wasn’t sure I could even move.”
A married father of three and a martial artist in his mid-thirties, Lance is tall, tan and robust looking, an appearance that belies his current physical discomfort.
“What’s happened to make you so sore, Lance?”
“My physical therapist says its bursitis in my muscles. It’s because of my damn job.” Lance, advertises his frustration with a loud, drawn out ‘jawwwb.’ “They have me blasting in a tube again! No PT is going to help me when I’m getting bashed all the time!”
Lance’s well-paying job is rather unusual. Working for a company whose contracted venues mandate sandblasting and painting in spaces where he barely fits, Lance must use Superman strength, Ironman agility and Spiderman courage to keep from being crushed against the walls and wounded by the heavy equipment he carries. Although Lance credits martial arts training for giving him the flexibility to perform this work, invariably he ends up moving around in awkward and uncomfortable positions and coming out hurt.
Intimacy from the Inside Out (IFIO) by Toni Herbine-Blank, Donna M. Kerpelman, and Martha Sweezy is geared toward psychotherapists who are seeking an alternative method for practicing couples therapy. IFIO therapy stems from Internal Family Systems therapy (IFS), a model developed by Richard Schwartz in the 1980s as an approach to working with individuals and families, then later expanded to include couples. IFIO couple’s therapy involves a two-step process of planning for the predictable universal issues that couples face and responding skillfully to other unexpected factors. Couples entering IFIO therapy often hold the two goals of feeling safe within their relationship and reestablishing intimacy. In the initial session, the therapist meets with the couple to inquire about hopes and goals, assess their ability to accept differences in each other, and then offer a perspective on the possibilities of treatment.
To better understand mental illness, psychiatrists have in the past looked at mental illness via a medical model. However, in The New Mind-Body Science of Depression, Vladimir Maletic and Charles Raison claim that we oversimplify major depression by looking at it as a discrete illness. As a result, we overlook the significance of research that doesn’t support that view. They suggest that the answers to many of our questions about major depression can be found by analyzing and integrating information we already have, but in the past ignored. They seek to map out how we came to view major depression as a discrete illness and provide evidence against that view. By doing so, they demonstrate that by sticking to misconceptions about mental illness, we are oblivious to important information that can provide some of the answers we’ve been searching for.
Lee Gutkind brought together twenty authors to let their voices be heard. These authors wrote about their experiences with mental illness (whether they themselves suffer or a family member), creating an intense, emotional and gripping inner look at mental illness. Just like mental disorders themselves, the stories are diverse in nature. The first entry, Take Care by Ella Wilson, immediately brings the reader into her mind mid-manic episode. Filled with heartbreaking and heavy prose and metaphor, Wilson’s place as the opening story sets the tone for the rest of the book: it’s going to be challenging, confusing, and personal.
The USABP is offering something special this summer. You can spend the 1st Wednesday of each month in June-July-August with USABP President Beth Haessig. She will close the last three months of her term by being available for this LIVE-Q & A format through the medium of a WEBINAR. Ask a Question, Have a Conversation, Share an Experience, Feel like you’re part of the USABP community, through experiential exercises or real-live dialogue. Call in to interact with a real live body-centered professional, whether it’s involving a personal issue or professional – they want to keep you hooked in for the summer months through their LIVE CALL-IN WEBINARS.