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Trauma and the Body: a Somatic Approach to Healing Trauma

November 2016, Wilbury Clinic Hove
October 2012, Brighton Therapy Centre

Workshop description:

 This introductory workshop is aimed at counsellors and psychotherapists interested in using body awareness to help safely manage and release the affects of trauma in their clients and in their own counter-transference.

Based on the work of Peter Levine and Babette Rothschild, it will focus on bringing compassionate attention to the felt experience in the body as a means of helping to regulate and integrate the experience of trauma.

Traumatic symptoms are not caused by the event itself. They arise when residual energy from the experience is not discharged from the body. This energy remains trapped in the nervous system where it can wreak havoc on our bodies and minds’. Peter Levine

The workshop will combine theory, practical demonstration of techniques and experiential work. Participants will have the opportunity to practise in pairs, share, reflect and ask questions, in order to integrate their learning.

Course content will include:

  • Learning about symptoms of trauma and how these are stored in the body memory.
  • How traumatic symptoms may manifest in the therapy room
  • A sequenced range of techniques to work with trauma.
  • Exploring how to release trapped energy and renegotiate the fight/flight response in order to free body, feelings and mind from fixed responses.
  • How to build safety through pacing, sequencing, grounding and resourcing in order to avoid re-traumatisation in client and therapist

The aim is to go beyond catharsis by building awareness, so that freedom and choice are restored. The techniques can be used to work with any charge or discomfort in the body. This approach involves bringing mindful awareness to body sensations and embodying supportive images, rather than the use of touch.

The course is open to qualified counsellors / psychotherapists. Second or third year trainees will be considered, dependent on experience and if they are in personal therapy.

Trainer biography:

Catherine Bishop works in private practice as an  integrative and transpersonal psychotherapeutic counsellor with individuals, couples and children. She completed her training at the Institute of Psychosynthesis, London, where she attended additional training in using somatic awareness to heal symptoms of trauma.

Her experience of dance and movement led to an interest in working with the body in therapy: bringing mindful awareness to the body as a means of creating safety and helping clients ground their experience, where words alone could re-traumatise or lead to disassociation. She uses the techniques when working with symptoms related to a variety of traumas, for example: addictions, developmental or relational trauma, abuse, accidents and loss. She has completed training in using the arts with Children and Couples at the Institute for Arts in Therapy and Education and Time2relate and is an experienced teacher, trainer and group facilitator.

Catherine will be assisted by Tom Lockyer. Tom works in private practice as a  reg. MBACP Psychotherapeutic Counsellor. His core training is in Transactional Analysis. He studied Tai Chi and worked for many years as a professional actor before starting his therapeutic training. He has a long standing interest in the relationship between mind and body, what happens when that relationship is disrupted and how we can soften the impact of historical trauma on our every day lives.

Their approach to training is interactive and flexible. It aims to combine delivering a core objective with space to be responsive to participants needs.