What to expect at a one-day workshop

The workshop takes place in London at the Open Centre – a few steps  from Old Street underground station.

OC entrance   OC map

in a spacious room similar to this one:-

OC.room

Directions are here.

After a short introduction, we will do some warm-up exercises to put you more in touch with your body.

Next comes an extended experiment in pairs or triads, exploring what the body can tell us about our sense of boundaries, and our experience of contact.

Physical contact is NOT required.

After discussion in the smaller groups, and with the whole group, not only of what was observed but also about how it might be applied in practice, it will probably be time for lunch.

There are plenty of places to eat locally, or you can bring your own lunch if you prefer. Tea and coffee is available on the premises.

The work after lunch will be a mixture of discussion and experiential work, still focussing on themes of Boundary, Contact, Engagement.

Its content and direction will be determined by what has emerged in the morning session. It may include embodied supervision, demonstration sessions, movement to music, as well as more didactic exposition and small group experiences.

After the workshop you will have access to a “follow-up” web page with further references and reading suggestions.

CPD certificates will be emailed to those who require them.

We expect this experience to be informative and enjoyable, and to feel safe and supportive, while offering opportunities to challenge yourself if you so choose.

 

Why come to our Workshops?

At our workshops we invite you to attend to and connect with you own body experience so that you can:

enhance your awareness of the rich and diverse stream of information that your body sensations  offer about your own and your client’s dynamically changing states;

differentiate more finely what is your own from what is your client’s material;

explore the intra- and inter-personal meanings of body states and dynamics;

bring the vitality of your embodied presence to your therapeutic attunement and engagement;

experience boundaries as something lived rather than thought, and feel from the inside how they relate to contact;

empower yourself for lively engagement and sensitive or challenging encounters with whatever your clients or patients bring.

For psyche and body are not separate entities but one and the same life.
– C.G. Jung, Collected Works Vol 17

For those who are primarily accustomed  to working verbally, becoming conscious of the underlying “somatic markers” (Damasio) for boundaries and contact, and experimenting with them, can be a revelation.

It can help refine and deepen your understanding of, and responsiveness to, your own and your client’s process, as well as giving protection from vicarious traumatisation and burnout.

In these experiential workshops we will be guided by insights from the theory and techniques of Biosynthesis, Radix Education in Feeling, Somatic Trauma Therapy, and Mindfulness, supported by influences from Transactional Analysis, Gestalt, Imagework, Object Relations, and both Psychodynamic and Analytical Psychological perspective.

Why “Boundary and Contact”?

Boundaries are fundamental to relationship in general and to the therapeutic relationship in particular.

Contact is the experience of boundary between “me” and “not-me’

…Relationship grows out of contact. Through contact people grow and form identities.’

Yontef

boundaries

Our sense of boundary is something that is dynamically changing moment by moment, especially in situations that are in any way emotionally charged, such as the consulting room.

The body is continually offering information about the state of our boundaries and the quality of our contact.  It may also be offering suggestions as to how we may best regulate our contact and maintain, or relax our boundaries.  All too often we may not be attuned to the wisdom our bodies are offering.

Tuning in to our body awareness can enable us to recognise our boundaries and to take care of ourselves, sustaining a resourceful state as we work with even the most distressed or distressing clients.

This ability is vital for the practitioner’s self-care in preventing vicarious traumatisation and burnout, as well as enabling us to be appropriately available to the needs of our clients.

In Help for the Helper, The Psychophysiology of Compassion Fatigue and Vicarious Trauma: Self-care Strategies for Managing Burnout and Stress (p103)

Babette Rothschild cites research to show that:

“In those clinicians who indicated lower incidence of vicarious traumatisation, body awareness was the key
“Again, common sense: The more adept you become at recognising, tracking, and evaluating the level of arousal in your own body, the better you will be able to regulate your arousal and mediate your own risks for compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma and burnout.”
Making conscious and experimenting with the underlying “somatic markers” (Damasio) for boundaries and contact is a revelation not to be missed.   To purloin a phrase from Allan Schore, it is a part of the craft that underlies “the science of the art of psychotherapy.”

Once a felt sense of boundary is established it is possible to learn simple, somatic ways of deliberately firming up or softening our boundaries. We can also refine our sense of the boundaries of the other, and what this may imply.
personal area

Introducing the Workshop Leaders

Brian and Michael met as part of the London Radix Workshop programme in the mid 80’s.  This grounding in body-focused personal work became an inspiration and a foundation for both.  Each went on to become a Certified Radix Body Psychotherapist, with Michael training in Europe and Brian in the USA.

Both since trained in Somatic Trauma Therapy with Babette Rothschild.

Brain has recently completed a training as a Biosynthesis Somatic Depth Psychotherapist.

Almost thirty years of learning, practice and collaboration underlies the EveryBodyKnows project.

Bios below:

mg.BS.pic

Brian Stirner is a certified Radix practitioner and Biosynthesis Somatic Depth Psychotherapist.

He is a member of the Radix Institute and the International Institute for Biosynthesis, and is trained in Somatic Trauma Therapy.

He is also a director of theatre, television and film, and has taught acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art for more than thirty years.

MG.cu

 

Michael Gavin is a Certified Radix Body Psychotherapist and Certified Somatic Trauma Therapist.

Having ended his London practice in 2012, he now focuses on training. He is editor of the Safe Trauma Recovery website.

For more than twenty years he has been co-leader of the London Radix Workshops programme, and from 2007 to 2015, was External Clinical Supervisor to the London Underground Counselling and Trauma service.

Introducing EveryBodyKnows

EveryBodyKnows

THE WISDOM OF THE BODY FOR PSYCHOTHERAPISTS

A series of workshops for psychotherapists and counsellors with

Michael Gavin and Brian Stirner

                                  MG+BS

 

There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy   Nietzsche

Our bodies communicate to us clearly and specifically, if we are willing to listen to them.                                                                             Shakti Gawain

EveryBodyKnows is a project imagined, and now realised by two Certified Body Psychotherapists with decades of experience between them.  We want to share with our colleagues in the “talking therapies” some of the mysteries of our craft, to enrich, to enliven and to make safer the process of therapy, and to make more accessible and intelligible the whispers from uncertain world of embodied experience.

Recent developments in psychotherapy, in areas such as Neuroscience, Mindfulness, Trauma and Energy Work, have brought the body and what it has to tell us out of the closet and into the limelight.

Authors like Antonio Damasio (The Feeling of What Happens), Allan Shore (Affect Regulation Trilogy, The Science of the Art of Psychotherapy), and Dan Siegel (The Mindful Therapist etc.) among others, confirm this central importance of somatic experience.

Many concepts in the foreground of contemporary psychotherapy – empathy, attunement, affect regulation, mindfulness, “vitality effects” (Stern), “a state of vitalising attunement” (Schore), involve capacities that depend on a sensitivity to our own and our clients “somatically expressed affects”(Schore).

With Psychoanalytic Energy Psychotherapy Phil Mollon takes a bold step beyond “talking therapy.”

In particular in the field of trauma the body has been afforded a central role by many leading authorities: Babette Rothschild (The Body Remembers), Van der Kolk (The Body Keeps the Score), Peter Levine, founder of Somatic Experiencing, (In an Unspoken Voice, Waking the Tiger) Pat Ogden (Trauma and the Body.)

How can you the practitioner learn to recognise and give due significance to body experience – your own and your clients’ or patients’ – in your clinical practice?

How does any of us learn our craft?  Of course we must study, attend trainings, and carry out supervised practice; but isn’t the heart of our learning the holistic experience of “being in therapy” in the modality that we are preparing to practice? This experience creates implicit and procedural memories that underlie our conceptual understandings, and gives us (to borrow Damasio’s phrase) “a feeling of what happens” in therapy.

We are the more firmly convinced of this because of our own experience of extended analysis (under the aegis of Freud and Jung respectively), which, seconded by reading and study though not by formal training, has deeply enriched our own clinical practice and frame of reference.

In most trainings, and in most of the personal work of practitioners, the body has not been in the foreground. What is the remedy?

Having attended, with enjoyment and enlightenment, seminars by luminaries such as Allan Schore, Dan Siegel and others, we have come to believe that there is even more to be done to integrate body experience into therapeutic practice than simply thinking about it and talking about it, or indeed reading about.

As body psychotherapists, of course, we have a training in and an experience of our own body focused therapy that steeps us in somatic experience.   However, we are not proposing that everyone should undertake a course of body psychotherapy!

It is our plan to create a series of experiences that will enable people to get more deeply into touch with their own body experience and how it resonates with others. In this way we hope  they may be able to develop a greater appreciation for and engagement with the Wisdom of the Body as something real, informative and personal.

Our forthcoming workshop is the first step in this programme.

This post has been recovered from early 2015, in preparation for our first workshop in March 2015.