April 2012 Newsletter

April 2012 Events

In the next few weeks we are running the following events - (click on the green wording for more detailed information on related website pages.)

Depression and Anxiety Seminar Monday April 16
Healing Depression and Anxiety Workshop Saturday April 21
Polyvagal Theory and Relationships Seminar Monday May 14
Free Introductory Talk on Body Psychotherapy Monday May 21
Grow Your Success Workshop Saturday May 26
Body Mind Day Retreat Sunday May 27
Please feel free to contact us if you wish to enquire or book into any events.

The Fear of Life and Fear of Anger that Runs People's Lives

Fear, Joy, AngerOne of the key presenting problems that clients bring to therapy is a pervasive belief or sense that they are not safe or that life is not safe for them. This conclusion about life often stems from early life trauma which did at that formative stage make the person unsafe. If the person suffered trauma they now probably evoke survival responses such as frozen fear, immobilisation, flight or dissociation as these are now ingrained into the personality as trauma re-enactments.

A related but not well understood problem is the fear of anger that many people have in life. Many people fear anger in others and so also the anger they hold within themself. As a consequence they now fear anger in general and have an unhealthy relationship to anger which results in fear as a consequence.

In an article published in the Easter weekend Sunday Times newspaper it was reported that our unhealthy relationship to anger can create health issues in the body, and mental/emotional issues in the personality. Unresolved anger was found to result in an “angry” personality whilst suppressed and unexpressed anger was found to create issues such as hyper-tension, stress and elevated risk of heart attacks. The article pointedly found that expression of anger was essential to overcome these types of issues.

People who have fear and anger issues often had problems when young with gestures, sound and touch from their caregivers. They came to not trust these aspects of being embodied and relating to the world and others from their embodiment.

They will as adults continue to distrust not only the gestures, sound and touch of others but also their own. Where the gesture, sound and touch of caregivers was faulty or unsafe we now find that the learning process in infants which we call mirroring and modelling was compromised.

The child and then later the adult struggles with making meaning and sense of interactions with others. They learn to have fear and to mistrust such interactions, and to mistrust their own ability to engage in interactions and relationships with others because of this.

The meaning making process for adults who were affected as children in this way will now occur through a distorted filter of mistrust and suspicion which more or less keeps them in fear much of the time. These persons tend to isolate and withdraw from life and become distrusting observers who see negative in everything around them. Some may deal with their fears by becoming extremely controlling to make themself safe.

Because the mirroring and modelling process was corrupted in some way we now find that these type of people lack strong boundaries. Boundaries are learnt in part from mirroring and modelling of respectful boundary relating by parents, and we learn and how and when to make contact with others. When this is corrupted then boundaries do not properly form.

Some people will go on to create instead over-emphasised fear based defences which become hard fortress like walls from which they peer over at the world. Others will have no real boundaries at all and leave themself open to invasion and enmeshment or abuse.

Good boundaries give us protection and they give us the resources from which to say “no” when we feel a boundary invasion occurring. The state of having no boundaries creates a lack of safety whilst the hard defended walls that substitute for boundaries have as their bricks a mix of fear and anger as their primary material.

One of the key differentiation points between Body Psychotherapy and conventional counselling and psychology is how the body is viewed and treated in the therapy process. We use the body with grounding, charging and discharging exercises, to create a set of boundaries through the body with clients.

The exercises also assist in the release of trapped trauma in the body through the reworking the bodies unconscious disposition in body and muscular posture. The exercises shift one away from tense fight or flight contracted holding, and instead take the person into an unconscious body resting state of relaxed safety within the brain and nervous system.

These set of exercises also make a person grounded which means to live in a present time, embodied state of awareness moment to moment. Unless we are grounded it is very hard to have the flexible and operative set of boundaries that makes us safe in life.

An ungrounded person without boundaries must retreat into their heads in a hyper-vigilant stance from behind the fortress of their defensiveness where they try to analyse everything from a place of mistrust and paranoia. In this state they live in fear much of the time and may exert control in order to feel safe.

Alternatively they can dissociate a lot of the time which means they “go away” or are “off with the fairies” a lot of the time and so avoid feeling their bodies or making contact with environments or other people.  These defences were possibly those we used in childhood to survive our problems, hurts and traumas and now they have become primary defences in the way we deal with adult life.

It is common for these people have a need for a large boundary of safe space around them which is at odds with how the majority of society engages in social dynamics. Other people appear unsafe as they appear to “invade your space” when in fact they are operating from what is regarded as safe neutral space to a majority of others.

The issue is that as children the appropriate safe boundaries and lessons on social engagement failed to be learnt and the person is now socially dislocated. Such a person will typically exhibit accompanying awkward behaviours in social settings and so may set themselves up for bullying or teasing or rejection. This outcome will only reinforce their conclusions about life and others being unsafe.

One of the real problems is that such people fail to see their role in such dynamics and effectively become victims to life circumstances because of it. They may communicate a verbal “yes” when in fact they want to say “no” but do not. They sabotage their own rights by not being able to communicate their needs and wants when it is appropriate to do so.

For the more extensive article on this subject follow the link to the article The Fear of Life and Fear of Anger that Runs People's Lives.

April 2012 Events

This month we are running our Depression and Anxiety Seminar on the evening of Monday April 16.  Please note that our talks and seminars are temporarily being run out of The Rise in Maylands.  Our workshops continue to be held at the Ballroom in the Dome Cafe in Maylands.

This month we are also running our Healing Depression and Anxiety Workshop on Saturday April 21. This signature 1 day workshop is both an educational and an experiential workshop for attendees to start to come to grips with their own issues, to understand and assist a loved one with theirs, and to become resourced to commence and continue the recovery from all forms of stress, anxiety and depression. It has an essential bodily inclusive component and exercises as part of the scope of that workshop.

Places are limited at all of my workshops so everyone gets personal attention. Please make contact at the earliest opportunity if you wish to know more or book in as I will not admit anyone to one of my courses once numbers have been reached to create a full event.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any queries or wish to make a booking for private therapy or a group event.

Enjoy your month!

Richard Boyd

Director, Energetics Institute

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