Holy Moly! Every day in this country seems like a roller coaster ride and you know what, a part of me welcomes this new wave, especially the “bad” and “ugly”. Some people think it’s being exaggerated since our new administration took office but that isn’t so, the status quo is now merely being exposed. I see this as a good thing. America must awaken to sexism, classism, heterosexualism, and unsustainable ecological practices. Beyond obvious prejudice, behind superficial masks of equality, beside our continued denial of rights to the vulnerable and the disenfranchised, we must openly acknowledge insidious issues that have been both denied and accepted as long as human beings have been alive. Exposing what has been obscured is essential to facilitate change.
When we think of an anniversary, we usually think of the yearly advent of a wedding, birthday, beginning of a business. But there are subtle anniversaries that do not correspond to a date on the calendar. They are reminders, often even unconscious, of a significant event in the past. These may have been positive events or negative events.
Sweetie Pie Syndrome typically starts in childhood — it is usually characteristic of females, but it does occur in males. This condition begins as young children are either ignored by or are demeaned by a parent or parents. This behavior can also be role modeled by a parent. As a result of this chronic neglect, abuse, for example, these children develop a sense that a) there is something wrong with them, b) they are basically unlovable, and/or c) if they do not do things to be accepted, they are unworthy. They then develop a behavioral repertoire of constantly trying to do good things and help others to gain a sense of worthiness and lovability. But no matter what or how much they do, the dysfunctional parent perpetually ignores or fails to respond with recognition, positive reinforcement and love. So, the children invest in doing more.
In a clinical world of diagnosable disabilities, there are those who create theories, those who propose methodologies, and those who ascribe to them. And then there are people who simply do what they do, intuitively, without knowing the science behind their actions. I recently met such a couple, Michelle and Troy Wheeler. They founded Dream Theatre Inc., eight years ago in Roseville, California, as a year-round, full-time theater arts program for adults with disabilities (ages 18 to 64). The program was designed to instruct, develop and guide students with disabilities who want to become actors, musicians, dancers, visual artists and behind-the-curtain technicians. While many day programs teach daily living skills, the Wheelers guide students in relationship building and maintenance with a focus on the social engagement skills necessary to facilitate them (i.e. inter and intrapersonal communication skills, self and co-affect regulation, trust, self-confidence, and more). Within the context of classes and annual performances, students learn how to be part of a working community that involves team work and personal responsibility.
Will Davis recently shared a paper he’d written on the role of connective tissue in character and armour development. After re-evaluating Reich's concept of muscular armour, Will offered a different perspective: he felt that the holdings in the myofascial system were primarily present in connective tissue (CT), not the muscles per se as Reich assumed. Will emphasized the connective tissues’ protective response to stress, and its plastic ability, during certain conditions, to return to the prestressed, healthy state. A matrix, he says, that acts as a non-neural, instantaneous communication system throughout the body, is formed because of the semi-conductive quality of connective tissue. When I received his paper, I noted that it was 20 pages long. My initial instinct was, What? Magazine articles average 1500 words in length, not tens of thousands. And still, to honor my colleague, I read his paper. Thank goodness I did. I was fascinated by the content and pleased with the writing style—figurative language, first person, logical comparisons, concrete examples shedding light on conceptual renderings. I learned new content and enjoyed the experience. As such, I am sharing his paper with you. I offer some excerpts from his text (not in linear sequence as presented in the paper) and a link to download the PDF to print and read at your leisure.
Many people, myself included, believe that the ability to clearly sense emotions and to experience bodily sensations is crucial for our mental, emotional, and physical health, but it does not come easy for everybody. The following pedagogical suggestions are based on my personal experiences and difficulties with mindfulness meditation and my studies of and experiences with Gurdjieff awareness-work, the Alexander-technique, Eugene Gendlin’s Focusing, Fritz Perls´ gestalt therapy, and especially Wilhelm Reich with his appreciation of “the how” when it comes to bodily expression, specifically contact with reality, with the body, with the emotions, with the self and with the “other. I offer that one can argue that to be concretely aware of one’s body's experiences connects us to the “here and now” and to the experience of reality, as opposed to self-deception in diverse forms, and that it is to be expected that the endeavor will be met with resistance and that assistance may be sorely needed.hat are reported (like stress reduction, attenuation of diverse clinical symptoms etc.)
I was intrigued when I first came across Stephen W. Porges’ Polyvagal theory in 2008 reading his article entitled, Don’t Talk to Me Now, I’m Scanning for Danger. Porges’ Polyvagal theory redefined our former understanding of the autonomic nervous system, an understanding which has been in place since the mid 1800’s. In 2010, at a Somatic Experiencing® training, when my co-trainees and I were grappling with how to apply the theory, we made up lyrics and sang them to the tune of “I Loves You Porgy” from Gershwin’s 1935 opera “Porgy and Bess.” “We love you Porges, we’re polyvagal, We love your theory, though it’s complex, We want to use it, just please explain it, Write a synopsis, that would be best. We love you Porges. . . .” (I’ll spare you the rest, but you get the point.) Repeated requests at workshops and conferences for a user-friendly synopsis of his scholarly information as presented in The Polyvagal Theory, Neurophysiological Foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, Self-Regulation (2011) prompted Porges to create his more recent publication, The Pocket Guide to the Polyvagal Theory: The Transformative Power of Feeling Safe (2017). Going another step forward, Porges and co-editor Deb Dana published their newest anthology, Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory: The Emergence of Polyvagal-Informed Therapies (2018). Now, Dana offers her well-developed method of incorporating the Polyvagal theory into clinical practice. In her book, The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy, Dana offers the Polyvagal theory to psychotherapists as an elegant new science-based way of working with the body.
As many of you may know, SPT Magazine will no longer send emails to our subscribers—simply put, not enough people opened our notes to make it fiscally responsible. We will still be publishing our excellent features and articles, our reviews and author reflections. And you can still access everything via our website at www.SomaticPsychotherapyToday.com, we just will no longer send out our twice a year links for our publications. And we have heard from many of you that you do not do Facebook. Serge Prengel has generously offered to share our links and our articles with his LinkedIn group, Somatic Mindfulness in Psychotherapy at http://linkedin.somaticperspectives.com and via his Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/somaticmindfulness/ . He will also share our information in his newsletters. We are grateful for Serge’s support and his willingness to share our publications beyond our website and our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SomaticPsychotherapyToday/
The EABP and USABP are seeking applications for their new Editor-in-Chief (an EABP member) and their new Deputy Editor (USABP member). The role starts January 2019. Editors will work with their new managing editor, Antigone Oreopoulou, thus forming the IBPJ editorial team. The team is responsible for: identifying the journal's aims, scope and direction maintaining the professionalism and quality of the Journal content publishing the journal They are seeking experienced clinicians with good writing skills (having published one's own book or articles) and a good sense of the English language (knowledge of APA style and formatting is also necessary), organizational skills and communications skills are also needed. If you are interested, please contact Antigone Oreopoulou at ManagingEditor@IBPJ.org
SPT is pleased to introduce our newest columnist: Defne Dinler from Denver, Colorado, USA. Defne is a licensed somatic counseling psychotherapist, specializing in body psychotherapy....