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Posts Tagged ‘working with the Nervous System’

Maureen Gallagher was my facilitator, I volunteered as the demo (session) and was very fortunate to be picked. We went deep. This was getting long so it will be split into two parts. The last part is the juiciest – I assure you! (Surprise surprise) Oh – so I did this demo in front of about 40 ppl, some of whom I knew, most I had just met two days earlier. Let’s just say this is a great group (for me to feel safe enough to work through these big chunks).

M = Maureen, K = Kirby

So take some deep breaths. Seriously, some of this transcript might be triggering. If you notice yourself checking out, then stop reading and give yourself some comforting little squeezes to your arms and or legs.

M: What’s it like to be the demo?

K: Challenging. M: Say more about that.

K: I’m experiencing an elevated heart rate. There is charge on the front of my legs.

M: What do you notice in your entire body as you hold that feeling of charge?

K: Several things: charge in my legs, oh – I want to get up and run out of here!

M: Can you take a few breaths?… [then] Are you okay if we stick with the impulse to run for a bit?

K: Yes. M: Can you describe in your body the feeling of wanting to run? [How do you know you want to run out of here?]

K: There are micro twitches in my calves. The charge in my thighs. All over.

M: Be with the energy as it moves through your body…. Notice your breath… Do you like to run?

K: Not anymore. But I used to run a lot.

M: Was there a place you enjoyed running? [favorite place]

K: Actually, I’m remembering a magical time where I half ran, half skied down Afton Mountain.

M: Can we stick with that? K: Yes

M: I want you to tell me about this running / skiing experience while staying really connected to your body. K: Okay.

M: Start by telling me about going up the mountain.

K: Well my parents’ dog came with me but left halfway up the mountain. But my neighbor’s dog came with me all the way up to the top. There was about a foot of snow on the ground, but the top inch had iced over – freeze / thaw cycles.

M: I’m noticing your legs are moving a little bit. K: Oh, right, they are.

M: Do you want to make some movements with your feet? Like this? [She lifted her heel off the ground, then her other foot.] … Can you press your feet down into the ground, alternating?

M: So where were we? K: I’m about to go running / skiing down the mountain.

M: Have you gotten to the top of the mountain yet?

K: Oh no, not yet.

M: Okay, so you made it to the top. What is that like?

K: I accomplished my goal. I made it to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

M: Great! What do you notice in your body as you say, ‘You accomplished a goal?'”

K: It feels good. Like I triumphed.

M: Good noticing! You triumphed. Can you sit with that for a moment?

K: [takes some deep breaths] Yes…

M: Is something else here besides the triumph? What else are you feeling?

K: Oh. There is sadness. Aside from the dog, I’m alone.

M: Right. Stick with “I’m about to go down the mountain.” Can you do that?

K: Yes. M: As I say this statement, check in with your body. See if it resonates: “Going down the mountain will be fun.”

K: Yes that resonates.

M: So it is going to be fun. How is it to look at the “fun” right now?

K: There is still some sadness.

M: How would it be with your body to set the sadness aside for a bit?

K: That sounds good…. [stifles a yawn] Oh I just stifled a yawn.

M: You don’t have to stifle anything. Let it move. Okay, so you are about to start down the mountain. What do you notice in your body?

K: I didn’t realize I could go so fast. M: So that was surprising? K: Yes.

M: With the surprise, what do you notice in your body?

K: There’s something here but it’s hard to get at.

M: Take you time…

K: The outcome is enjoyable… Oh – and trepidation.

M: Can you say more about the trepidation?

K: Yes, the part of me that would run down the mountain regardless of risks. Reckless? What if I sprain my ankle? I’m all alone.

M: So there are two parts: You are aware of a need to be careful. And a desire to just start down the mountain regardless of risks. Is that right?

K: Yes. M: Okay, is there anything about that [the careful part] which wants to be felt or known?

K: I am grateful that want to abandon caution. I’m normally quite cautious.

M: Good noticing. Can you feel that gratitude now?

K: Yes. M: So there is a cautious part of you and a reckless part of you.

K: Right. M: Can you see and feel both within you now?

K: Yes. M: Good. So you are abandoning caution. What happens next? [Kirby takes a large deep breath.] Oh that is a nice breath.

K: I’m starting to take longer steps. I crunched through the ice. Would this now be able to hold me?

M: Is there a better name that you would give the reckless part of you?

K: Uhhmm… adventurer?… No, pioneer!

M: Great! Experiment with that. So you are starting to run down the mountain?

K: Yes. The snow can only hold me at a certain speed. It can only hold me if I am going fast. [Anyone else see the attachment statement inherent in this line? Wow!] It sounds like a paradox.

M: And you noticed that… Feel your arms and your legs.

K: I feel more free. I was leaping and bounding down the mountain. It was like a once in a decade type of moment.

M: More like once in a lifetime moment! [Kirby exhales audibly with a sigh] Notice that breath and allow whatever else is present to arise… What else wants to come in?

K: It’s non-verbal. I can’t get at it.

M: It’s not verbal. Notice what’s happening in your body… See if you can just meet it… I hear you… I’m here with you… Now what do you notice?

K: I feel like holding a baby part of me.

M: How does the baby part respond to you holding it?

K: It appreciates it. Gradually. Like it was numb but it is slowly coming to… I’m feeling a headache around my frontal bone. [cranial bone]

M: I want you to slowly sense into your legs. What do you notice?

K: [Nods yes] M: Maybe there is something distressing?

K: Yes maybe in my chest.

M: Keep feeling your legs. Say, “this gets to be here and you can feel your legs.”

K: I’m feeling coolness… cold around my calves. It’s moving a little.

M: Can you see what you feel as it moves?

K: I want to do some squeezing. M: Good, do it. [Kirby takes some time to squeeze his calves on both legs, twice.]

M: How does it feel to squeeze your calves?

K: Grounding. Warming. Containing.

M: The coldness in your legs is some freeze energy coming out. Can you push your toes into the ground? Alternating feet. [Kirby does it for a bit.]

M: Now check in with your chest. What do you notice?

K: It feels… numb… no not numb. It feels a little collapsey?

M: Sense into that area with just a few tendrils of awareness.

K: In chest? M: Yes.

K: You want me to stay on the edges of it?

M: Yes… Oh can we do a couple guppy breaths? K: Yes. M: Let’s do them together. You open your mouth just a little… slowly… [They do guppy breath together.]

M: Now what do you notice?

K: I’m curious about my chest.

M: What do you notice there?

To be continued! And it is about to get juicy… 🙂 (stay tuned!)

Thank you for visiting!

KM

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Hello Dear Readers!

I am pondering teaching a webinar on Working with the Polyvagal System. This is a topic I have been studying and practicing since 2010, and I have assisted Janet Evergreen in her teaching of these classes multiple times. Below you will find a poll to see who, if anyone, might be interested in signing up for an on-line teaching!

  • In this webinar, we will start to differentiate normal functions from stress responses (and why this is important).
  • We will cover a bit about the Autonomic Nervous system (ANS) including discussing the newer Social branch of the ANS, its role and how it fits in with the older Para- and Sympathetic branches.
  • We will cover the Functional Range and how to notice if clients are within it or if they are having stress responses and being activated or depressed.
  • Then we will go into actually Working with the Polyvagal System: starting with the Skin, gradually moving deeper into the Fascia, touching into the Gut and all the Vagus nerve connections within it and finally wrapping up with working with the kidneys.

What is the Autonomic Nervous System? This is the branch of the nervous system (to keep it simple for now) which controls involuntary functions in the body – heart rate, breathing, peristalsis of the digestive tract to name a few of its functions.

What is the Polyvagal System? The Vagus Nerve (the 10th Cranial Nerve) innervates many organs and systems in the body – including respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive and more. Previously, the Vagus nerve was said to control the Parasympathetic branch of the ANS – the “rest and rebuild” side of the ANS. Newer research is showing that the Vagus nerve also plays a role in some aspects of the Sympathetic and Social branches of the ANS as well. In the workshop, we will touch on techniques to up-regulate (or down-regulate as the client requires) the Vagus nerve to keep the client within their healthy Functional Range.

What is the Functional Range? As simply as possible, the Functional Range is the amount of adaptability the nervous system has to stressors. If we are very resilient, we can be confronted with changes and surprises and still be in our body and deal with the new situations with a clear head. If we have a history of trauma or unmet developmental needs, then the Functional Range can be quite narrow and we might become activated or overwhelmed with just a couple of new stressors. The way we react to overwhelm is also important and we will cover this in the webinar.

Why would anyone work with the Polyvagal system? There are at least two significant benefits to working with the Polyvagal System: we become more embodied (one) and two, we become more resilient. We can begin to increase our Functional Range and eventually we can benefit our clients in working with staying in their healthy range.

This is the second time I would be teaching something like this on my own, so the cost would not be too high. I am thinking something in the range of $120-$150 for 15 hours of material. I would need to teach it again to start the certification process with NCBTMB – which would eventually allow me to give Continuing Education credits (not this time around however). I would be happy to send Certificates to participants who complete the Webinar.

Thank you for participating and have a great week!

~km

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