Recently I went under a general anesthetic for a small surgical procedure. When I woke up, I felt tense, disoriented and a little anxious. The nurse stood next to my bed and asked me, “Are you okay, madam?” She was a very calm and confident presence in the room I was in, and that also made me quieter.
“Are you warm enough?” she asked. When I indicated that I was cold, I a gorgeous, preheated blanket was put over me. I got a cup of hot tea and a sweet cake, because I hadn’t eaten anything before the operation. Then she asked if I wanted to call someone or get someone from the waiting room.
The warm presence of the nurse and the fact that there was someone there who simply took care of me, was just as important as strict medical care. I felt reassured, warm and safe.
When I think back to that moment of waking up, I can still feel the warmth of that preheated blanket. That blanket and the reassuring presence of the nurse contributed as much to my recovery as treating the wound.
The ordinary things are important
It’s the same in trauma situations. Ordinary things are just as important as the therapeutic process. So important that we’ve moved away from the traditional methods of trauma therapy, where there was a focus on telling and reliving the trauma. Now we focus more on reassuring the nervous system through body work. This method, which can be used in good harmony with Transactional Analysis (TA), is called Embodied Therapy and Coaching.
Embodied Therapy and Coaching
Three principles are central to the Embodied Therapy and Coaching programme.
- Quality of presence
The therapist / coach learns to be present in a good way. By being present in a session in a reassuring, calm manner, you help the client to become calm themselves. Stress is contagious. Rest is also contagious.
- Learn how to use what happens in your own body
We all know that communication – for a very large part – happens non-verbally. When we communicate with each other, the result of the communication is largely determined by how our nervous systems respond to each other. In the course ‘Embodied Therapy and Coaching’ you will learn how you can use your own physical experiences to plan your interventions to the client.
- Focus on the survival resources and not on the trauma story
In stress and trauma-related complaints, it’s better to focus on how people survived, rather than on the trauma itself. In traditional therapy, the client spoke about the trauma. It has been demonstrated that this re-experience can also be traumatizing and often burdening the nervous system. The temptation to focus on the trauma and the pain is great for both the coach and the client. The art we learn is to understand that traumawork is actually very uneventful. If too much happens in the therapy, you are actually not doing well.
The core of the training is that you teach the client to link the stress in the body, which is result of the trauma, to the resources that the client has. In this way the client themselves learns to regulate the inner stress. Resources can be family or friends, but also music or drawing. The client can learn to use these resources to deal with the pain every time they feel the memory in their body. Instead, they learn to have respect and to be happy with the way he survived the trauma.
What we often see is that people who have stress or trauma-related complaints try to solve them themselves. Because they’ve not learned how to do so in a healthy way, they bury themselves in their work or grab alcohol or drugs. This reaction is very understandable, but also very difficult to reverse. It’s too complex to deal with that therapeutic challenge in this blog. This problem is discussed in detail in the Embodied Therapy and Coaching programme.
Apply for Embodied Therapy and Coaching
Are you, as a coach, therapist or nurse, after reading this blog, interested in applying Embodied Therapy in your practice? Then you are welcome in the ‘TA expertise centre’. This course starts again in the new year. Do you want to know more? Then look at this page. You can also register here.
You are welcome.Yes, I want to know more about Embodied Therapy