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A thin place

My friend and colleague, Terry, just sent me a poem he had written called, 'A Thin Place', so beautiful and it reminded me of a thin place I was in last week.

Sitting in an outdoor school with a Complex Trauma client and a horse. She knew exactly how far away she needed me to be and at what angle as she sensed into her ANS, (Autonomic Nervous System).

I am so grateful to firstly my Sensorimotor Training and Deb Dana, Stephen Porges, for helping me to understand how important it is for us to understand the Vagal Nerve in therapy, especially Complex Trauma. Without the ventral vagus engaged somewhat, there is no therapy. Slow is Fast in Complex Trauma.

As I sat a long, long, way from her, I watched with awe as the horse began to start a healing process, through social engagement. I am told that only we mammals have a ventral vagal, but now I am not so sure.

Firstly he hid me from her view by strategically placing himself at such an angle to accomplish this, this she told me later, allowed her to breath again and start to ground and focus in Present Moment experience. Talking to him silently in her mind, whilst swallows darted left and right, he stood very still, occasionally yawning, licking and chewing,( horses do this to release). Breathing warm breath upon her with such gentleness.

The light started to change and as tears slipped down my face I watched in awe and wonder as he touched her so gently caressing her hair, kissing her cheek, breathing and attending to her.

When a human/s has/have hurt a human so badly and there is no safety anymore, to witness a horse get so close and stay with such tenderness and love, and then end with playful gestures pulling her laces out of her boots and touching her coat and sleeves with such kindness, I know without a doubt I was in and witnessing a 'Thin Place'.

This horse is beyond, beyond. He never ceases to amaze me.

A Thin Place

And so it began, as the heat of the day surrendered to cooler moments, and these life travellers drew to gather in a meeting place, touched by the shadow of mountains that no tribe could ever own.

Smiles and curious eyes searched for the familiar and for the ‘yet to be’ as embraces and greetings were gifted in preparation for what was to come.

Intonation and accent like a vocal tapestry, heralded the first rich threads of connection. Elders wisely guided souls to meet, as if working from the script of a play that had been rehearsed in other realms.

This was no mere construction of business or cerebral exercise, as courageous spirits opened up with vulnerability to co create thin places. Let us honour this time, this place, these labours as we seek for others to join us in ‘thin places’.

- Terry Shevlin

Being connected to your Body may be the last thing you want when you have suffered Trauma , Abuse or Neglect, its something you may have been running from forever. IFS (Internal Family Systems) and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy are very gentle therapy and powerful ways to help us reconnect.

To survive we suppress our feelings this makes sense. Then we realise without our feelings we can't make sense of the World around us. We start to get symptoms, Depression, lack of sense of who we are, flashbacks, nightmares, no memories, suicidal ideation thoughts, self harm, worthlessness, Emotional overwhelm,Hyper vigilance, Generalised Anxiety Panic Attacks, Chronic Pain and Headaches, feeling unreal or out of body, Self Destructive Behaviour, loss of sense of who I am, Irritability, Insomnia, Numbing, Loss of a sense of future/ hopelessness.

Unless we make sense through Body and Mind , time and space, we can remain stuck, frozen in time. Trauma fixates it constricts, fragments stay frozen and we just can't move on and through. Once we can feel and connect to the fragments of the memory we can make sense of why we have suppressed our feelings to such an extent.

We can gain compassion for ourselves. We get to know how amazing we are to have survived, which leads to self compassion and real self awareness. We can begin to Thrive and feel liberated.

Mindfulness and Yoga along with therapy can help bring us into this very moment in time and help us to change the habits of a lifetime, never underestimate the Breath, it acts as an anchor. With knowledge of the Poly Vagal Theory, (Stephen Porges), we can realise that our Brain and our Nervous system can be re-set. We can update our system and become our True Self Again. Thank you Richard Schwartz, who pioneered this model (IFS) of HOPE IN SELF.

I heard this poem the other day and was so touched by its profoundness and wisdom.

Stop and stand

Stop and stand

on your own patch of ground

where your feet are. ( YOGA, on your Mat).

Really stand there,

all of you – body and mind.

From this place

comes all your wisdom,

comes every answer

that is possible

for you to know

right now.

And when you see hurt,

hold tight to your sword

and know that you cannot fix another.

Instead, bear witness with the ground (Stay with your helpless or anxious feelings) to that other body, to all its found and unfound wisdom.

(Don't push or run from feeling, instead invite it, little by little, drop by drop).

And when you think

‘I want to take your suffering’ (don't busy yourself with other peoples business).

just stand.

And when you think

‘I want to take your pain’ (or be a caregiver, when you show no understanding or compassion to self and become an empty well). Just stand.

And if you really must do something,

then remember love

and breathe it

and be it

And let the seams of your soul

soften and melt away

so the boundary

between me and you

is no longer there

and we are both love

and witness to love,

ground and standing feet,

question and answer.

- Rachel Holstead

Psychotherapy aids recovery from confusion. It is not advice rather it is clearing the past hurts and illusions enabling clearer vision. The therapist is there as a guide for the client and each session is tailored to the individual. This work between therapist and client facilitates a rediscovering of your own voice, finding what your own priorities are and discovering through insight gained in the sessions your true authentic self.

Your feelings then become connected and realisations are made that your body and mind are as one, each effecting the health of the other.

My Person Centred training remains the foundation for all the work I do. Scientific evidence available proves that repressed and unexpressed emotions cause physical problems.

I am an approved IFS Consultant and a Certified Therapist with the IFS Institute.

I offer One to One Clinical Supervision, Group Supervision to assist IFS Certification process for formed group of 4, for Counsellors and Psychotherapists.

Trainees as well as Advanced practitioners welcome.

I work Integratively with Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, and the IFS (Internal Family Systems), models to inform my practice.

Zoom available.

Dip Integrative Supervisor.

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