Serge Prengel

Active Pause® Part 1: The pause as part of a mindful process

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.

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Take a Tool and Run with Dr. Heather Corwin

TTR 5: Emotional regulation is a challenge for many of us, especially when we’re in sessions working with triggers and trauma. A variety of studies all support the idea of working with physical ways to cross the body mid-line (think spine) with appendages to help regulate emotions. In yoga, a posture that incorporates this form is the eagle pose. This practice of wrapping the arms and legs and resting in a comfortable position is commonly taught in elementary schools to foster emotional management skills. Thankfully, this exercise works for all ages. Give it a try and see if you feel any results when you’re feeling triggered or activated. Teaching this to your clients can be hugely impactful.

Dr. Heather Corwin’s Take a Tool and Run is a monthly vlog that offers quick and effective tools to share somatic centering practices.



Michael Ostrolenk is a licensed psychotherapist who completed his MA in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology at John F. Kennedy University and did post-graduate studies in somatic psychology at the California Institute for Integral Studies .  He is certified in Spiral Dynamics and Wade Mindsets.  Michael is Head Instructor  for SEALFIT’s Unbeatable Mind Academy as well as a personal development coach. Michael is also the host of #ORadio , a podcast which explores individual and social transformation.


Listening to Your Body: How to Include the Body in a Therapeutic Conversation

Take a moment right now and see where you stand with your body. Close your eyes and bring your awareness to your inner experience. Do you feel intimate, comfortable and confident in this physical space? Place a hand on your abdomen. Do you feel connected and loving? Or, are you distant, awkward, or judgmental?

Human Baby, Human Being . . .

Matthew Appleton in conversation with Emma PalmerThe 8th and 9th of June 2019 will see the hosting of a fascinating two-day conference here in Bristol in England. The Human Baby, Human Being: Contributions from the emerging field of pre and perinatal psychology conference is being organised by Conscious Embodiment Training and ehealth Learning. An important aim of this landmark event is to bring together professionals interested in the long-term effects of prenatal and birth experiences.

Blossoming is Mandatory, Sparkling is Optional.

The Sacramento sky is scattered with fluff. The trees, covered in pink and white blooms reminiscent of the bedspread my mother chose for my childhood bedroom, are on a mission to make me sneeze. As I hold a tissue to my nose and behold the beauty around me, I wonder:Do flowers ever get tired of blossoming? Does it start feeling like the same old thing year after year until there are no surprises left?

The Body is a Portal: The Way Through

How many of us have been studying trauma resolution for many years?I started healing prenatal and perinatal trauma 20 years ago when a client remembered her birth on my table during a Biodynamic craniosacral therapy session. At first, I was curious about her experience and wanted to help. But, when I started tracking feelings of anxiety in myself while working with her, I committed to learning more about prenatal and perinatal experiences. It turns out we had similar birth experiences as babies. I asked myself, How could her experience affect me in present time? That question opened the way for my energy to flow into the work that has become my passion.

Safety in Therapeutic Interactions: A Polyvagal Influence

My journey involves a deep and prolonged exploration of the Polyvagal theory (Porges, 2011). In my quest to understand when intimacy, emotional expression, and connected communication are possible, I delved deeply into Porges’ research with the vagus nerve and its role in the evolution of the nervous system. His insights provided a road map for me and my clients to a fuller emotional life as we connected with our interoceptive awareness of emotions that motivate our behavior, their influence on our relationships, and the conscious choices we have.

Prenatal and Birth Experience: Shadow and Potential

Much of pre- and perinatal therapy orients to early traumas. While important to acknowledge, understand, and liberate from shadow, my mission in this field is to also highlight the amazing potential of little embryos in the womb developing from one tiny cell into complex individuals. How much of that potential to become also hides in shadow?


RSS Somatic Perspectives: Conversations on Psychotherapy

  • Deb Dana about the Polyvagal Theory in psychotherapy July 1, 2019
    This conversation is about using the Polyvagal Theory in clinical practice. Deb Dana talks about how a focus on experientially understanding the role of the autonomic nervous system helps to creatively involve clients in their healing process. Audio only: Deb Dana, LCSW, specializes in treating complex traumatic stress and lectures internationally on the ways Polyvagal […]
    Somatic Perspectives
  • Alaine Duncan & Kathy Kain: Restoring inner balance May 1, 2019
    Combining Eastern and Western trauma physiology, Alaine Duncan and Kathy Kain introduce a new map for body-oriented clinicians to help restore balance in their clients. Using concepts from Acupuncture and Asian Medicine (AAM) alongside descriptions of the threat response from Western bio-behavioral science, they describe common physical symptoms, emotional presentations, and paths for healing for […]
    Somatic Perspectives

Relational Mindfulness with Serge Prengel

Active Pause® Part 1- Featured Article

I am inviting you to look at the pause within the context of the process through which we interact with our environment. I am going to use a metaphor to make this more concrete. Let's imagine that the flow of information that comes at us, as we interact with our environment, is represented by the metaphor of a mighty river. Please see my series in the Featured Article Area of the website.


Book Reviews

Power of Attachment – Review

Written by Diane Poole Heller, PhD Reviewed by Nancy Eichhorn, PhD Do you long for connection? To feel that special moment of meeting when someone feels...

The Elusive Obvious: The Convergence of Movement, Neuroplasticity & Health

Feldenkrais wrote The Elusive Obvious in his mid-70s, three years before his death, with the intention to offer a "coherent and comprehensive statement of his theoretical point of view" (xii). His writing style intrigued me, his conversational tone engaging. His conversations about words and movement, about science and acceptance, about learning and awareness pulled me deeper into his philosophical stance on health and healing. He offered that the content only provides information necessary to understand how his techniques work. He deliberately avoided discussing why. "In science," he wrote, "we really only know how" (pg.1).

Unshame: Healing Trauma-based Shame through Psychotherapy

I follow Carolyn’s blog because her writing fascinates me. She helps people (mainly in the UK) recover from trauma, abuse, and dissociative disorders, heavy stuff. Yet, she writes with a light hand—her use of figurative language, strong nouns and verbs, pacing, structure, and characterization create stories that share the confusion, the pain, the doubt, the suffering, and the dread that come with trauma as well as the desire to surmount it all and be healthy without miring the reader in an abyss of drop-dead emotions. When I learned about her new book, Unshame: Healing Trauma-based Shame through Psychotherapy, I requested a reviewer’s copy.


The Power of Attachment – Author Reflections

When I began speaking with Sounds True about a written book following my audiobook, Healing Your Attachment Wounds: How to Create Deep and Intimate Relationships, I wasn’t sure what to expect, as I have always considered myself more proficient with the spoken than the written word. Nevertheless, we started the journey to The Power of Attachment, which I actually started over 12 years ago, but somehow, it never felt finished to me. I found that progress often stalled with new research and trying to contain everything about attachment theory between the covers of a single book.


Dr. Jacqueline Carleton

Jacquie’s Pick of the Month

Dr. Jacqueline Carleton has guided interns in the art of literature review and academic critique for decades, and SPT Magazine has thankfully shared their reviews with our readers since our inception 8 years ago. It’s a pleasure to write with up-and-coming psychologists and researchers, to share in their discoveries and their opinions regarding books that are ‘hot-off-the-press’, the ones we prefer to publish. Older books, however, those published two years ago or more, have not been shared with the thought that they’ve been reviewed by many others that it was redundant news. Until now.

Shift into Freedom – The Science and Practice of Open-hearted Awareness.

Shift into Freedom by Loch Kelly is a great primer on mindfulness. Surprisingly, he doesn’t rely on the cache of overused words like meditation, mindfulness, or awakening to legitimize his approach. While the western world often uses words like awareness and attention interchangeably, he defines attention as using the mind to focus, while awareness is a heart-centered way to experience life.