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.
The Danish and European research coalition are hosting a webinar/fundraiser for their up coming research project, February 8, at 5-7 pm CET, 9 -11 am MST.
Sergel Prengel spoke with Peter Levine about different types of memory. They talked about trauma but also about the fluid notion of self that goes together with this understanding of memory. Their conversation is available as a video, as well as audio only, and as a printable PDF transcript.
Having no memory of an event does not mean it has no impact on one’s life. These ‘forgotten’ events might still affect people’s perceptions, emotions and behaviors without them ever being able to make a connection between present and past or process them verbally at a therapeutic session.
Even in somatic psychotherapy circles we still don’t appreciate enough just how fully physical behavior is. The implicit, or body memory, is not at all linear— not one event per behavior. There could be, and likely are, numerous events that might rise to threshold for recollection, and which are associated with any state, any emotion, any behavior.
Working with many cultures around the world, where verbalizing one’s thoughts is less important or even shameful than it is in the West, has taught me that naming shame is not always crucial to its resolution. In fact, it is not even one of the 10 Milestones of shame transformation according to AST Model®.
Shame is often experienced as a massive, tornado-like swirl of helplessness and hopelessness that keeps tearing through our hearts and minds, through the very core of our being. Its redundant looping can become stuck on any number of thoughts of inadequacy: I am such a terrible failure; there is no way anyone could ever love me; I shouldn’t even bother trying, there’s no way I’m gonna measure; I don’t want anyone to see me; No one could ever understand what I am going through.
It’s as if these voices trap people inside the black hole of shame’s universe, with seemingly no way out.
Revival: Somatic Methodism & My Departure from the SE Trauma Institute
People ask me all the time about the importance of compassion in shame resolution work. My response is always the same: “It is crucial at the right time, in the right dose, and with the help of mirror neurons.”
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.