Over the years Dzmitry and I have worked with many hundreds of people on our courses, these were Psychotherapists, Counsellors, Psychologists, Alternative and Complementary Therapists of all kinds and people who just came out of interest and for the healing.
It gradually became evident that our approach works especially well with people who have suffered from trauma. Dzmitry is an expert in this field and he has found that, before doing any therapeutic work, a client must feel safe and must have some resources around him and within himself. Our Complex Trauma (Stage 1) workshop looks at how to establish safety and resources.
We have also both found, as have many others, that working with trauma can affect us and distress us deeply. I think that, before embarking on doing this work, all helpers would benefit from some ideas about how to ground themselves and keep boundaries. These are not just physical boundaries, such as keeping regular appointments and structure around the therapy session; we also need to learn to establish boundaries inside ourselves to prevent us from becoming overwhelmed.
A very important aspect of working with trauma is to be aware that trauma lodges in the body and the emotions, those parts of us that are managed by the more primitive parts of our brains. When a traumatic event happens our rational, thinking brain switches off. This is the part of the brain that has language. So, talking therapy does not work with some clients. We have to do something else. This is where we have found Focusing to be so useful. It begins with the body, finding a felt sense of an issue, and it develops into a dialogue with a part of ourselves. During this process, the thinking brain is engaged and the trauma can be transformed into a normal memory and stored in the usual way, rather than triggering us into fearful emotions.
Our Complex Trauma (Stage 1) course covers preparation for doing the work and gives an introduction to finding felt senses in the body. To some people, paying attention to the body can be a new and interesting experience. We give several exercises that can be used with clients, once the participants have tried them out for themselves.
We believe that it is important for people to attend this course before they go on to enrol for some of our others, because the concept of working with the body is quite new to many and we would like people to have a grounding in the work before going on to more advanced ways of working with felt senses.