Browsing: Somatic Experiencing

Currents

We’ve just posted our Winter 2018 issue on issuu.com so our readers can access our articles digitally. And you can pay for a print copy as well.

Our Winter issue deals with  addiction. Drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, shopping, food, social media, digital games, movies, whatever the ‘substance’ the effect is the same—numb out, dissociate, flee from the perception of pain (be it physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual). The number of people who are considered addicts has reached pandemic proportions—no one place, no one race, no one culture is free of this infectious disease. But, is it a disease or is it a reflection of our inability to self and/or mutually regulate our affective state? Are these behaviors, labeled as addiction or addictive, are these monikers—addict, addicted— accurate? Or, do labels simply shadow deeper manifestations motivating people to reach for something to quell their emotional fluctuations, to smooth the ups and downs in their bodily being?

These questions and more are considered in our Winter issue. Our contributors share their thoughts on addiction, on behavioral patterns that become ‘stuck’, automated, reactionary in the face of overwhelm and affective arousal. Possible physiological causes are considered—think trauma and all that comes with that terminology—and potential interventions are pondered.

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My clients lie. Friends, family, colleagues, strangers, themselves, no one is excluded from their liar’s club, myself included. As the clinical director of an inpatient detox and rehabilitation center (addressing all forms of substance addiction), I was lied to by my clients so often I started to expect it. However, and this is even more important, I did accept it as a symptom of the disease called addiction.

After five years at the center I realized that dishonesty in general and manipulative behaviors in particular, especially when clients were still struggling with active addiction and frequent relapses, were not embedded in their personality or characteristics. Rather, they resulted from past experiences and how the addict viewed his/her problem and its solution. I believe that accepting such a point of view can help therapists improve their ability to handle their countertransference and enable them to remain compassionate even when confronted with their clients’ dishonesty.

Currents

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.

Currents

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.

Somatic Psychology

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.

Therapeutic Encounters

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®.

Therapeutic Encounters

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.