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Embodiment and Therapeutic Space
(with particular reference to working with developmental trauma)
facilitated by Tim Sheard CAT psychotherapist and trainer
Friday 3rd February 9.30-4.30
Exeter Community Centre, 17 St David's Hill, Exeter EX4 3RG
£60 person (£75 invoiced) including buffet lunch
This workshop begins to explore how engaging with our own embodiment as therapists can support our work with clients suffering from the effects of significant developmental trauma. In it we will seek to open up and develop new dimensions of relational resource within ourselves as therapists that may support us in creatively addressing the relational challenges of working with more dissociated, traumatised, complex or difficult-to-reach clients.
Therapeutic or relational ‘space between’ may be lost with such clients through it being collapsed into marginalised bodily experience and acting out. The crucial CAT resource of using a map for joint reflection on difficult relational processes within the room may at times not be enough to stabilise a dysregulated client. Research in neuroscience has supported the understanding that much of trauma is mediated by our bodies and that ‘higher centres’ or the thinking mind go ‘offline’ when trauma responses are triggered. At the same time, it is recognised that we too may become dysregulated in the face of challenging relational pressures and through engaging empathically with the clients’ terrible experiences.
Consequently, integrating relational embodiment into CAT may mediate and support:
Our capacity to offer a safe enough, resilient, boundaried but engaged relational presence for the client to engage with, feel more contained by and become more regulated.
Our capacity to engage more directly and consciously with subtle but powerful relational forces that may be primarily operating on a body-to-body level. in particular our capacity to be alive in the moment to our countertransference (often embodied) responses and perhaps feel more choice or flexibility in how we reciprocate.
Enhance our capacity for self-to-self engagement when in in the room with the client on the understanding that being ‘present to oneself’ opens up relational ‘space within’ which in turns enhances the potential for therapeutic ‘space between’.
Consequent to all these a freeing up of stuck or overwhelming relational processes
Last but not least this approach may lessen the burdening and exhaustion associated with working with this client group, a phenomenon that can be understood in part to be a form of embodied collusive reciprocation.
The workshop is an introduction to embodied CAT. It will involve individual exercises exploring different dimensions of embodied attunement. These techniques can be taken away, practised and integrated. Their relational effect will be explored through embodied imagination in relation to a present (or past) challenging therapeutic relationship. Considerable time is given for discussion in pairs and the group circle. Some relevant CAT and other theory will be woven in alongside Tim’s developing model of embodiment, reciprocal roles, and therapeutic space, (see his recent paper in the international CAT journal, vol 4: www.internationalcat.org). However, the emphasis will be on experiential learning and learning from each other.
It is hoped that this workshop will begin to open up perhaps new perspectives on therapeutic and relational space, containment and how relationship may be mediated through embodied presence
The maximum group size will be 20.
The facilitator: Tim Sheard qualified as a CAT psychotherapist in 1997, has a background in medicine, and has trained in body psychotherapy, transpersonal and constellations work. He coordinated the Bristol deliberate self-harm project in which a three session CAT model was developed around the use of new ‘tools’: a set of diagrams and a counter-transference therapist self-monitoring file. His teaching and writing focus on embodiment as a creative resource in mediating important aspects of the therapeutic relationship. This is the focus of a forthcoming book in the CAT series.
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