Where Intention Goes, Energy FLOWS
Transforming Touch® is an attachment-focused, neurophysiological method of hands-on healing. I see touch as the missing language of Developmental Trauma. After years of using talk therapy with a severely traumatized population without a clear story to match the symptoms, I began a search for a way to communicate with a non-verbal system. I kept hearing in my head, "How do you expect to bring about healing in a system that speaks a different language?"
As a psychotherapist, my options seemed limited. Most of the scholars of Psychology leaned heavy on talk therapy. So, I had to look deeper and further to find something that not only seemed effective for clients but also was effective for me. User Friendly so to speak. While attending an EMDR conference in Denver, they had a speaker named Peter Levine. He talked about Somatic Experiencing and healing trauma. This was my first real introduction to Somatic Psychology. I signed up for the next class coming to Austin and started the training. I wish I could say it was a breeze and everything worked just right, but that wasn't my experience. It was clearly a stepping stone for me to move into touch. I met Kathy Kain at my advance training and got a sniff of touch and that seemed to resonate for me.
I moved on to train and assist Kathy in her work and eventually co-developed Somatic Resilience and Regulation with Kathy. Later we co-authored "Nurturing Resilience", a best seller on Amazon. This allowed for the birth of Transforming Touch®. Using it with my clients, I continue to grow and learn new ways of using touch to assist my Developmental Trauma clients with their own healings.
For most, it seems that they experienced an unavailable caretaker in the nursery. Either during the pregnancy or within the first six weeks of life. Alan Shore has done lots of research on this and sees this as the most important time for someone to develop a healthy attachment system. Combining Shore's work with Stephen Porges' work on Polyvagal Theory, and my own work with threat response and autonomic regulation along with dashes of Somatic Experiencing seems to have been the force behind developing Transforming Touch.
If Shore is right, about forming a reciprocal relationship in the nursery, then what better way to communicate than through touch. When we touch someone, they are naturally touching us back. The subtle repair of early attachment ruptures begin to repair as the body and mind interweave with one another. Transforming Touch allows and holds space for the client to begin to re-pattern there earlier experiences that are held in their somatic awareness. The client begins to grow in their healing somatically which affects their Spirit. The relationship holds the opportunity for a reciprocal relationship between client and practitioner.
"Where intention goes, energy flows" is a distinction in Transforming Touch. Bringing the practitioner's mindset into the client's sense of healing. Listening to the client and their story and most of all, their desire to heal. In Transforming Touch, through touching into different systems and patterns, while holding attention and intention for the client, we begin to find a sense of resonance within our client's autonomic nervous system. We see this moment as the moment the client moves into their now spacious window of tolerance and sometimes for the very first time.
We begin with our own presence and focus on the resonation and dialogue between client and practitioner. The more we are capable of being present in our own bodies, the better the chances are for our client's bodies to reach out and find a connection. An experience for most with Developmental Trauma that they have never experienced. Every intention we have for your clients can be felt in our bodies. This mirroring helps to strengthen our clients sense of self and allows their body to find a new pattern of healing. The initiation of intent, based upon what each person is perceiving, may be shared consciously and/or unconsciously by both people. This is the type of non-verbal repair that is necessary for our clients to create a new narrative about their lives.
Perception and Imagination are often times ruptured and suffer the most in a survival oriented system. Allowing the client to be where they are in life or the moment without judgement and brining in a sense of curiosity to the session can begin to heal the body. Allowing for a sense of pedulation of information and time for integration free the soul.
Transforming Touch relies on the somatosensory system. This system connects with all the sensations we feel such as hot, cold, rough, smooth, pressure, pain, tickle, itch, vibration and more to name a few of the sensations recognized in the body. Within the system, we are aware of four main types of receptors, mechanoreceptors, thermoreceptors, pain receptors, and proprioceptors.
Mechanoreceptors perceive sensations such as pressure, vibration, and texture. When employing Transforming Touch® we apply supportive touch to the skin in specific locations of the body. Thermoreceptors perceive temperatures for the most part. Pain Receptors transmit pain and proprioceptors sense the position of the different parts of the body in relation to each other and the surround ing environment.
To soothe the nervous system and restore a sense of safety and trust in the moment, it helps to use the power of touch. Warm, safe touch activates the release of oxytocin—the “tend and befriend” hormone that creates pleasant feelings in the body and is the brain’s direct and immediate antidote to the stress hormone cortisol.
Oxytocin is one of a cascade of neurochemicals that are part of the brain-body social engagement system. Because being in the presence of other people is so critical to our well-being and safety, nature has provided this system to encourage us to reach out to others and connect. That’s why touch, along with physical proximity and eye contact if the client can tolerate, evokes a viscerally felt sense of reassurance that brings the system back into the window of tolerance.
Somatic memory holds all the traumatic memories within our bodies. While working with non-verbal and early traumas, Transforming Touch® is a way or reaching those traumas.
Transforming Touch® is not always about using physical touch. It can also be the intent of Transforming Touch® that can affect change in the system.
Transforming the Experience-Based Brain uses Transforming Touch® to activate change and is taught during the classroom process.
Mayo Clinic. "Gut Touch" Mayo Clinic Researchers Discover Important Trigger for Serotonin Release. (8/21/2018)
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