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Posts Tagged ‘pre- and perinatal therapy’

Hello Dear Readers,

I hope you are finding my recent posts palatable and engaging. You should know however that we are extremely busy here at massage school – think we are busy most weekdays from 7 am until 7:30 pm with two one-hour breaks for breakfast and lunch. So if my writing has seemed a little raw as of late, well, that’s because I’m a bit raw  =^P

Let me just provide a little context. Because of my years of experience of doing bodywork (Craniosacral Therapy, Visceral Manipulation, Zapchen Somatics, Working with the Polyvagal System, some birth process work), I made a promise to the director of this massage school that I would keep the angels of beginner’s mind and humility on my shoulders at all times. Most days I am doing good with that. Keeping my mouth shut, keeping my head down and overall attempting to take a modest position.

With that said, I told myself that the only subject where I am not willing to keep my mouth shut is if someone starts teaching about working with babies and they are saying the wrong info or if they are causing secondary trauma to half the audience because their delivery is faulty. So let’s just say I spoke up a little today.

So today we went through a morning of learning about working with babies. A woman with 30+ years of doing infant massage came to talk to us.

Let me play the devil’s advocate with myself. She is a very well-meaning person. She does have decades of experience working with babies. And she is one of the only resources for this in the area (teaching about babies in general). Also, she is older and I suspect it would be very difficult to retire on baby massage wages alone. So I want to make certain it is obvious I have compassion for her as a fellow human being.

Having established that… I want to mention ways in which she could have taught us in a well-contained, safe, resourced, settled, integrate-able manner.

To say everything I would like to tonight would literally take 10,000 words. And I obviously don’t have that kind of time (see above). So I will touch on a few things and mention resources for you to go look something up if you want more info.

Speaking of resources, here’s a good website to look at Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, Polarity Therapy and working with the autonomic nervous system: John Chitty’s site for somatic therapies

By the way, whenever I say the acronym PPN, that means Pre- and Perinatal therapy or birth process work. It can also refer to pre- and perinatal psychology.

Back to my topic at hand – how to present information on working with babies without leaving half your audience scarred by secondary trauma (or re-triggering primary traumas).

First I want to mention what should be a glaringly obvious fact if you want to become a birth educator of any kind: Do Not Talk About Activating Subjects without establishing serious levels of support and resource – I’m talking weeks or months or years of resource and support. DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR TO LOOK AT PREVERBAL WOUNDS without a sustainable amount of resilience in the audience’s system. This is basic information if you study with Ray Castilleno – Ray Castilleno’s site for PPN therapy training

Why do I say this – do not open the door to preverbal wounds too early? Because we want this work to be kind, relatively gentle and safe. Key word there – SAFETY. If I don’t feel safe, guess what – I hop right out of my cerebral cortices and I am suddenly in sympathetic activation – that would be the Sympathetic branch of the ANS. And that means I am wary, looking around for threats. And learning goes right out the door. So does having fun, smiling, laughing with ease, being present as my body in my body – all that goes too.

That is number one. It has to be honored and approached carefully. There is a reason that Ray Castilleno only wants people in his trainings who have taken some degree of embodiment-promoting bodywork training or therapy, etc (e.g. Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy or Somatic Experiencing).

Second, a good birth educator has done enough of their inner work such that they are able to look for, discover and easily lean into resource and health. If we are confronted with a trauma that we have not dealt with in ourselves, guess what? See above about how we hop right out of our creative intellect and jump down into reptilian instinctual threat-scanning brain. Therefore we must have done a lot of our inner personal growth work – including and especially our pre-verbal wounded parts work – to be able to present this information in a settled, safe, sustainable manner.

We look for resources in people and situations. We give the doctors the benefit of the doubt – yes some hospitals have a ways to go before they become baby conscious – but the obstetricians are doing the best they can with the evidence-based medicine they have at their disposal. We see that basically all parents are doing the best they can. We don’t blame parents unless something egregious is going on – and even then we look for ways to make repair. This means we look for the good, we look for the health, we look for ways that people are coming together – connecting, creating and innovating. We look for ways to teach that are fun, that are life-affirming and that identify the health that is never lost.

This critique is about to get heavier, so gird your loins. In other words, find your inner resources – connect with wisdom beings, think about someone you trust implicitly (if you are lucky enough to have that in your life), think about your favorite pet who you felt really close to and possibly even supported by, connect with an animal totem if you have one, etc.

Speaking of resources, one of my main teachers in PPN material is Myrna Martin – Myrna’s website for PPN training

So the educator today did not have a clearly defined intention. I’m not sure she even had a plan for what she wanted us to come away with. Then there was the fear spraying.

I don’t mean to sound judgmental or condescending or didactic, but I could have taught today’s lecture in a safer, more resourced manner. You do not mention rape, breach birth and prematurity within ten minutes of each other – period. The amount of ancestral (or direct) wounding that she might have stirred up in those ten short minutes is colossal!

Then she seemed extra focused on showing how unbonded (disorganized attachment?) babies grow up without a conscience and they are the ones who become mass murderers. Okay, saying that once is chilling – especially in this context. But then she mentioned it at least twice more – focusing on what is wrong with the situation or society rather than mentioning the dozens of potential resources out there about what is going well! Not only that, she mentioned the word serial killer at least three times and she actually named two or three mass murderers… Ugh! Serious overwhelm in the audience. Some people who are more numbed out fared better than the ones who are working on feeling their stuff arising and today’s lecture what too much to handle.

I only spoke up when it was getting particularly icy in the room or I mentioned several areas that things are better than how she was describing them. I also talked about the research on the Vagus nerve and how the autonomic nervous system can reflect wounding and how this is connected to addiction (I will write more about this soon).

All in all though, today I was left feeling that I was just ripped off. This massage school costs $8,000 in tuition for 12-weeks. That comes out to be about $135 / day. And I could have taught today in a manner that would not have left the audience lying around in comatose napping positions. It is not my job to resource, support and assist my fellow students. I shouldn’t have to!

Yet another great resource: Kate White’s site for many PPN resources Kate White is one of my teachers and she is the Director of Education for APPPAH – the North American Pre- and Perinatal Psychology organization. APPPAH’s website (so worth a glance!)

So basically this post boils down to this: First, have the Principles in place such that everyone in the group feels safe to begin with. Go slow when considering whether or not to teach birth dynamics. If you are unsure, you should not do it. If you are triggered by the current news about school shootings (in such a way that you cannot find your inner resiliency and inner resources and inner feeling of being settled), you should do your inner work first before teaching. Move through your fear, terror, anger, rage, jealousy, etc with an established efficacious modality – like Somatic Experiencing or Birth Process work. If you are able to read the energetic field of a group, then make that your benchmark – you must be able to notice if you have started to overwhelm your participants or students. If overwhelm starts to show itself, you must have solid resources already set up ahead of time to help to move people back toward resilience and supported safety.

These are my two cents. I am not an expert. I have been extremely (!) blessed with my teachers and learning opportunities. And hopefully there won’t be too many more of these bizarre days here at massage school.

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This material is copyrighted by M. Kirby Moore. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. Thank you for visiting this site and enjoy your time here!

So on the way back from retreat, I was very fortunate to stop over in Portsmouth. Not only did I not have to drive as far (it was a nice little cushioned landing after a deep retreat-mind-that-was-not-quite-ready-to-drive), but I also got to visit a beautiful Yoga center – actually calling it an Ayurvedic center is more accurate. Here is a link:

A Link to the Sattvic Space

My friend, an experienced and wizened yogi who lives in that area, helped to start and found this center. I am very glad I got to visit it and get a tour!

It was built entirely by volunteers and small donations (which is really rather miraculous considering how large it is)!

Also, I asked my friend if I could share a little meditation I learned on retreat. Knowing that I was all charged up with potency after retreat, and that my heart was probably more open than it would be for a few months, I knew that this was a good time for me to be sharing something.

He said “Sure.” After chatting about it, he said he could give me 15 minutes, which I said was fine.

It was a 6 am class that he leads 3x / week. That would normally be pretty early for me, but on retreat I was waking up between 3 and 5 am most days. I was quite surprised to see 9 students there so early.

The teacher introduced me (and considering I was sitting next to him in the front in a position of teacher, it would make sense to acknowledge me!) and he had very high praise for what I do – working with the Vagus system, working with trauma resolution, craniosacral therapy, etc.

He actually gave me 35 minutes to work with which was a pleasant surprise! But it worked out fine.

We did a meditation which involves our very slowly, gradually and mindfully moving our hand from about 18 inches away from the heart, toward the heart. It takes at least 5 minutes for hand to reach heart because first we feel into the heart, to feel our longing, our yearning.

What does the heart yearn for?

When is it that we feel the yearning to touch and be touched?

Then we bring our presence back and forth from hand to heart and back. At times, we even explore moving the hand away from the heart. What is that like?

We really got into some subtleties. It was fantastic.

Because this was a mixed group – some seasoned yogis and some beginners and I believe some people who have never encountered this level of slowing down and being kind to ourselves…

Once we touched our hearts and experienced what that was like, I tasted a metallic taste in my mouth. This is a sign that someone (or more than one!) in the group has done enough. I sensed it was time for a nap.

So we got to explore what it was like to rest the heart back. What is it like to rest the heart down?

I did a little bit of teaching and direction from a prone position, and then I sat back up and waited until I sensed that the energetic field of the group was ready for me. I think they took a 10 minute nap. It was so great.

We wrapped up and then at the end, people came up to me with questions and they loved it. Several said how they felt this magnetic pull from heart to hand – like it was difficult to resist touching their heart. I said, “That is very good!!” ❤

And guess what? It turns out that I will be leading a workshop down there in May. If you are in the Tidewater area – you should come and join us! (I will keep everyone posted)

It will be an Introduction to Working with the Vagus system – during which we will also have some time for more loving-kindness type meditations like I just went through above.

Thank you for reading!

~km

Donation to Kirby’s blogging efforts

Hi dear Readers, Help me buy tea so I can continue blogging. So if you enjoy what you are reading, please make a little donation. Thank you very much!

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This is some of the wisdom I gleaned from my time in Canada, where I spent 2-weeks at a birth process work intensive workshop. Then I taught a 3-day workshop on Salt Spring Island on working with babies (primarily from a Craniosacral perspective, but we definitely included a lot of Polyvagal tracking of the autonomic nervous system and wisdom and techniques from the birth process work / pre- and perinatal therapy arena). I realize that previous sentence might have a few words in it which could be unpacked. See below for links.

First of all, I have been studying bodywork since 2003 starting with Reiki energetic healing.  Every year or two, I added another modality to my repertoire, including Zapchen Somatics, Spiritual Astrology, Craniosacral Therapy (both biomechanical and biodynamic), Polyvagal work, birth process work, etc. Such that, for the past 12 years or more, I have mostly been heading toward appropriate self-care and moving toward health. I have been confronting patterns of stagnation, depletion and negativity along the way. And what this all means is that, even if I wanted to avoid health, right now that would be difficult. I have a full Jupiter return of health and well-wishing toward myself under my belt. In other words, I don’t exactly know what is next for me, but I know it will be good. I am not bragging – I still have my ups and downs. But when we put the causes and conditions into place, we can (mostly) control the result.

I really deepened my awareness of the energetic field while in Canada. Now, it did not all come at once – I have pretty much been able to sense these things in the past, but now I am very confident in my ability to discern what is mine from what is arising in the field. I am able to name what I am sensing, and I am now quite accurate, which is awesome. What does this mean? Here is an example: maybe I am working on someone (bodywork), they have had several sessions with me and they are looking to deepen their experience. I am hearing a good mother message in my mind. See the Ray Castellino or Myrna Martin links below for more on good mother messages. Back to the example: I am hearing in my mind, “I love you for who you are, not for what you do.” I ask my client if it is okay if I share something personal with them. They usually say yes. And sometimes it is so resourcing for the client’s little one (younger parts of themselves who may not have gotten all of their needs met). Occasionally mentioning a good mother message goes right to the heart of the issue, and their tissue will change rapidly under my hand when I have them say the message to their little one. Sometimes it will cause a cathartic reaction – they might start crying as I hit on a vulnerable area with this message. And we take the time to resource these younger (potentially wounded) parts of them. It is not a rapid process of healing overnight, but we go slow and this work sticks. Over 5 or 7 sessions, we move some energy which may have been stuck for a long time. And typically it helps that I can read the energetic field with ease now.

I became a lot clearer about double binds. I know when a client mentions one now. Previously, I could feel the confusion in the tissue, or the stuck-ness and know, “Hey, I think we are on a double bind.” But that might have been all I could do a year ago. Now, I can pinpoint both sides of the double bind and assist my clients through these deep conflicts. It really requires bringing their little parts along as well. One thing that Myrna Martin mentioned (she led the 2-week intensive) that really stuck with me is this: when we attempt to remedy a symptom that derives from unmet developmental needs, we have to bring those younger parts along with us, or they will feel threatened. Below is an example: (I would first recommend wiggling some toes, feeling your feet and legs, noticing your seat and pelvis, what are you sitting on and where do you feel that contact? And finally notice your breath. Maybe take a deep breath now.)

Let’s say we want to rid ourselves of anxiety which cropped up a few years ago. Now we might think that this issue is more recent and has nothing to do with the past and our younger days. However, what if our mother or father had serious anxiety problems? What if it took some major stressor to kick us into anxiety which was sort of dormant since we were born? If this anxiety issue does stem back to a young part who did not get all of their needs met (in spite of our parents’ doing the absolute best they could!), then that young part is probably kind of stuck somewhere in processing that unmet need. And likewise, that young part only knows about whatever was causing their anxiety. And if we try to fix the anxiety without including the younger parts in the process, these younger parts will feel like we are trying to stifle them or worse, kill them.  And sometimes this will make the symptom (in this case, anxiety) worse!

[Ever been to a chiropractor for a neck or back issue that always comes back no matter how many sessions you go to? Well guess what? It is possible that is a birth issue trying to complete, but without ever bringing awareness of the baby parts of ourselves into the process, it will never have the chance to complete! I love chiropractors and I go to see a network practitioner myself here in Charlottesville. I’m not trying to single them out at all. This analogy applies to many doctors, psychotherapists, nutritionists, etc etc. Sometimes we need to do a few months of birth process work to really get at the core of an issue.]

What all of this adds up to is this, I am much more confident in working with people of all ages. I taught a workshop in working with babies and I ended up working with newborns, infants and toddlers. And I am much more confident in offering long-distance work. I have been taught (by a different teacher) how to discern in my body what a distance client is noticing and how to slowly move them back toward health and well-being.

I was gone off and on for most of the summer, so I am looking to build up my practice again. So whether you are in Central Virginia and you can see me in person or you would be a long-distance client, I am happy to discuss working together.

Keep in mind I am an Embodiment Coach and a certified bodyworker. I am not a psychotherapist. If you have a mental health or psychiatric issue, make certain you are working with a license medical practitioner first.

Craniosacral – https://www.craniosacraltherapy.org

Polyvagal work – https://traumahealing.org

http://www.somaticpractice.net

Pre- and Perinatal Therapy (aka Birth Process Work) – http://www.castellinotraining.com

http://myrnamartin.net 

https://www.ppncenter.com

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