—I recently returned from leading a 3-day training for 35 peer mental health workers in Alaska on healing emotional trauma. The training drew on my studies in somatic psychotherapy, process oriented psychology, meditation, and dance, as well as my own healing experience.
My workshop was experimental and wove together basic ideas from trauma theory and process work into simple and useful tools.
On April 19 14 people joined me for a presentation at the Process Work Institute in Portland to report back on the Alaska training and have a collaborative dialog on how to use Process Work concepts for teaching a broad audience about trauma.
(I left out the discussion part of the audio recording of the presentation to be sensitive to the personal disclosure in the group.)
Some of the things we covered in the training were:
- working with the felt sense in the body as a counterbalance to dissociation
- a somatic model of trauma based in the work of Peter Levine and Pat Ogden
- how this model converges with and differs from process work
multiple levels of the brain as a way to understand traumatic experience
- intrusive memories as organismic attempts to complete and resolve trapped traumatic energy
- exploring how trauma survivors lose the capacity to say “no”
- supporting a congruent “yes” in the person we are supporting
- how to strengthen our sense of grounding and resourcing in our bodies before we explore trauma
- adding felt sense and grounding awareness to active listening skills in helping others
- contacting proprioceptive trauma memories creatively to “melt” dissociation
- using the ‘magical helper’ exercise without retraumatizing or overwhelming
- the force behind trauma pushing transformation and new identity
Handouts, slides, and resources for the training are found on my website, willhall.net especially books by Peter Levine, Judith Herman, and Pat Ogden, as well as Arnold Mindell.
Listen to the presentation below: