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Over the past eight years, SPT magazine has carved a literary “path” allowing writers to network with a global audience of “like minded” practitioners.

This issue brings our path into newly discovered realms including interviews honoring colleagues who are receiving prestigious awards and columns highlighting upcoming conferences for the USABP, the EABP, and APPPAH, as well as reviews of ‘hot-off-the-press’ publications and insightful author reflections.

Each article honors a path forged by persistence and perseverance, by creativity and ingenuity. The authors whose books we reviewed, the award winners we interviewed, the reflections writers shared about their process highlight pathways that were formed one step at a time.

We invite you to read our articles and to respond to our authors. We write from a place of experience and curiosity, and we write to engage others in conversations. Each author offers an email address at the end of the article, and we have a general email option: where you can share your thoughts and we’ll pass them on to the authors.

We’re grateful for your readership and look forward to providing quality articles and reviews, personal and poignant author reflections, and more on our website:

Nancy Eichhorn, PhD Founding Editor-in-Chief

Somatic Experiencing® Informed Therapeutic Group for the Care and Treatment of Biopsychosocial Effects upon a Gender Diverse Identity.

I present to you my very first peer reviewed journal article publication: Somatic Experiencing® Informed Therapeutic Group for the Care and Treatment of Biopsychosocial Effects upon a Gender Diverse Identity. This research article discusses the process and outcomes of a study of a group of Transgender folks. Individuals participated in a 10 week Somatic Experiencing® informed support and education group. The group was designed to assist participants with opportunities to learn ways to build resiliency, to decrease the negative symptoms of depression and anxiety, and to better cope with the effects of microaggressions and discrimination.


Finding Resiliency: Regulating Trauma’s Grasp

Teacher(s): Sakti Rose
Date: 5 Mondays: January 22 – February 19, 2018; 10:00am – 12:00pm
Location: Community Meditation Center
Cost: $125 – 200 sliding scale. Code SR1C18.
Register: OPEN-Register Here

Traumatic events can leave physiological and emotional scars that alter neurological structures and functions, which in turn can inhibit our progress on the path of awakening. In this class series, we will develop a body of skills that we can use to recognize and reduce the painful effects of trauma and thereby free up energy for meditation. Together, we will explore healing practices to help bring deeper meaning, connection, and freedom to our lives and practice.

This 5-week class is designed for meditators who have encountered barriers in their meditative experience and are unsure as to why.

Both new and experienced meditators are welcome.

Teachings are appropriate for the general public as well as health care professionals. Health care professionals will be able to incorporate the tools and practices offered in this class series when working with clients. See below for more information, including attendance requirements.

February 28 – March 4, 2018
Fort Lauderdale, Florida


A 5-day training workshop presenting the theory of Wilhelm Reich and Charles Kelley, and the basic concepts of the Radix approach: Pulsation, Segments, Armoring and Counter-pulsation, Contact, Grounding, Centering, Attachment, Boundaries and Containment.

Download the Brochure

In the early 1920’s Wilhelm Reich, along with analysts Groddeck and Ferenczi , pioneered working with the body-mind for effective therapy and personal growth outcomes. Radix, developed by Erica and Charles Kelley in the 1970’s, continued and developed this work, especially emphasizing the self regulatory nature of the life force and the significance of the eyes in human psychology. More recently, neuroscientists (van der Kolk, Schore) and developmental psychologists (Tronick, Trevarthen, Beeby) have recognized the significance of early bodily experience for later healthy holistic functioning, and in particular the non-verbal nature of this experience.

The Radix Institute is offering a five-day training workshop, open to those who work with people to promote personal growth and healing, as well as to those who wish to deepen their own personal growth through a body-centered modality.  This workshop (Module 1) presents an overview of the theory, and is the basis for further modules in the training program.

CE credit for Module 1 is sponsored by Commonwealth Educational Seminars (CES). The training workshop offers 30 credits of Continuing Education to social workers, psychologists, licensed mental health counselors, licensed professional counselors, and marriage and family therapists.

Contact The Radix institute for further information.

Download the Brochure


This workshop is the first in a series of training modules. Future training modules will focus on specific content areas such as affective regulation, eye-work, and containment. The modules can be taken by themselves, or can lead to certification as a Radix Practitioner. For the Certification Program, the modular structure of the training gives flexibility as to when a trainee enters the program, begins their individual experiential work, and begins working with students or clients of their own.

For more information see the Radix Institute website.

Friday, November 10, 2017
8:45am: Registration
9am-4pm: Workshop

Center for Applied Psychology
41 Gordon Rd, Suite C, Piscataway, NJ

5.5 CE Credits
Instructional Level: Introductory

The bedrock of therapeutic healing from a neuroscience perspective occurs when therapists are able to offer their own regulated brain processing when relating to their clients. This is a foundational feature of brain-based psychotherapy and may appear as a wordless experience that occurs when the therapist is relaxed and grounded in the present moment. The therapists’ regulated state is “borrowed” by the client, thus promoting integrative neurogenesis between the limbic system and the “social brain”. Known as “the therapeutic alliance” this is one of the most important principles in psychotherapy. In addition, successful psychotherapeutic outcomes are similarly dependent upon the amount the client is in contact with their own present moment experience, as they attend to what is called a “bodily felt sense.” Body-centered mindfulness methods are shown to support right-brain integration and build the middle prefrontal cortex regions involved with self-awareness, emotional regulation, empathy, self-compassion and present moment awareness.

In this experiential workshop, you will learn to:

(1) Summarize the important brain regions and networks associated with trauma, anxiety, and


(2) Discuss the implications of attachment theory in relation to implicit memory, brain & body-

centered psychotherapy, and the therapeutic alliance.

(3) Demonstrate ways to introduce yogic practices into treatment.

(4) Practice body-based intervention strategies such as affect regulation, wordless awareness,

and presence techniques.

(5) Observe a demonstration of a body-centered psychotherapy session.





Beth L. Haessig, Psy. D., licensed psychologist, certified somatic psychotherapist, and IAYT-certified yoga therapist, is the former President of the United States Association for Body Psychotherapy ( After graduating from GSAPP, she studied 4 more years to become a certified somatic psychotherapist (Core Energetics) plus a 5th year post graduate year, and a 6th year with Radical Aliveness/Core Energetics in Mexico. She is a Kripalu-certified yoga teacher as well as a yoga therapist certified by the International Association of Yoga Therapists. Dr. Haessig began her career as a school psychologist in 1990 working primarily with children and families, before moving into alternative technologies and integrative body-based modalities for the past ten years. Her work expanded to include veterans and other trauma survivors, as her specialization in PTSD, trauma, anxiety, and other body-based challenges (eating, conversion, psychosomatic, psychogenic movement, encopresis, etc.) are highly responsive to body-based, mindfulness-based, cognitive-behavioral interventions. As president of USABP, Dr. Haessig has provided training and leadership in the field of somatic psychology. At present, she works in an urban hospital with those suffering from morbid obesity, and has a private practice in Denville NJ.

In a review of the the book “The Awakening Body” by Reginald Ray

I came across the term “somatic spirituality.” What is somatic spirituality? According to Ray, it
“involves tuning in to the vast interior world of wakefulness, freedom, and joy that lies just beneath the
surface, in our body.” He explains that the body is capable of an awareness beyond what our conscious
mind can achieve, that our bodies are aware in ways that our minds are not. The consciousness of our
bodies transcends that of the mind. Perhaps it is ironic that the word “mindful” is most commonly
understood as meaning present and aware. It is our bodies that are “mindful” in a way our logical
minds cannot be. Our logical mind judges, rationalizes, and worries about the future, whereas our
bodies experience directly, unimpeded by conscious bias and prejudice. And direct experience,
especially to Buddhists, equals awareness, which facilitates enlightenment, or “spiritual” awakening.

How can tuning in to the body help us emotionally? Tuning in to the body helps us access sensations,
emotions, and information unavailable to the logical mind. The body is a warehouse of wisdom.
Somatic therapies such as body-centered psychotherapy help clients gain precious insight by listening
to our “body-talk.” In the words of Reginald Ray, “Until our emotional blockages from trauma of any
kind are known directly within our somatic awareness, no actual psychological transformation is
possible.” Trauma, in this sense, could mean an angry exchange, an unmet need, as well as violent
abuse. Overwhelming pain or even mild irritation often bypasses our mind and lodges in our bodies. A
liver can “own” anger to spare the conscience. A sacrum can hold pain to spare the heart. As a body-
centered psychotherapist I will often facilitate a dialogue with the liver or sacrum (or toe or throat or
inner child), and attend to its (their) needs. Many times just listening brings clarity and relief. The
client may gain healing insight, and/or benefit from physiological changes/energetic shifts. By attuning
to and listening to our bodies, we can viscerally know ourselves and begin the process of healing.
Some might call that somatic spirituality.

Nancy Paul, MA, LMT is available to listen and help you at Lotus Center in Chicago! She accepts
cash clients on a sliding scale and can accept clients with BCBS PPO or Blue Choice PPO insurance on an in-network basis. Other insurance plans will use out-of-network benefits. Please call your insurance company for out-of-network benefit details. Schedule your appointment with Nancy now by visiting or call Nancy at 708-289-3899.

Save the Date!!

Somatic Psychology Events Presents

” Keeping Our Bodies in the Room: The Relevance of Bodily Experience in Psychotherapy Training and Practice”

with William Cornell and Jon Sletvold

November 11-12, 2017, 9AM-5PM

David Brower Conference Center

Berkeley CA

This conference brings together two dynamic clinician-authors at the heart of the contemporary discourse on the place of the body and somatic experience in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. The program will combine conceptual elements with discourse, clinical and supervisory examples, demonstrations of training and supervision techniques, and a good deal of experiential work drawn from the speakers many decades as clinicians and trainers. This diversely formatted program will appeal to psychodynamic and analytic clinicians, those involved in the training and supervision of psychotherapists, and somatic psychotherapists  who want to experience the clinical and training styles of these internationally known body psychotherapy innovators. William Cornell MA is a body psychotherapist, author and international trainer integrating  relational psychoanalysis and somatic psychotherapy paradigms. His most recent book Somatic Experience in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (2015) is among the latest volumes in the Relational Perspective Book Series. He is the author of Handbook of Body Psychotherapy and Somatic Psychology chapters on “Entering the Erotic Field: Sexuality in Body-Centered Psychotherapy” and “Entering the Relational Field in  Body Psychotherapy”. Bill has been a central figure in the ongoing dialogue between psychodynamic relational perspectives, two-body models of therapy, and the body psychotherapy community. Jon Sletvold,  Psy.D is the author of The Embodied Analyst – From Freud and Reich to Relationality, winner of the 2015 Gradiva Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis. Jon is founding  Board Director, Faculty, Training and Supervising analyst at the Norwegian Character Analytic Institute, and former chair of the Psychotherapy Specialty Board of the Norwegian Psychological Association. He has  published articles particularly on the role of the body in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. He is co-editor of two books: Den terapeutiske dansen [The therapeutic dance] and Karakteranalytiske dialoger  [Character analytic dialogues] and the editor of Tage Philipson – Kjærlighet og identifisering [Tage Philipson – Love and Identification].

Registration and Information will soon follow this announcement.  Information on  early registration and discounts for students and alumni of co-sponsoring institutions will follow.

Professional CEUs will be available for most clinical professions.

Event Tickets:

Contact Mark Ludwig LCSW at for further information.

Polyvagal Theory: Basic Principles, Experiential Learning, and Clinical Applications
with Stephen Porges, Ph.D.

September 23 & 24, 2017
9AM – 4PM
Hotel Shattuck Plaza, Berkeley, CA

Stephen Porges, Ph.D., is a behavioral neuroscience researcher whose investigations of the evolution and expression of human autonomic psychophysiology has become a wellspring advancing the theories and practices of multiple disciplines and human service fields of practice.

In this exciting two-day conference, Dr. Porges will present a basic outline of his Polyvagal Theory, lead attendees in experiential learning, and dialogue with professionals presenting cases from diverse practice arenas. Since 1994, when Dr. Porges announced the basic concepts, Polyvagal Theory has been adopted and used productively in a wide array of psychological and somatic clinical practices. The theory is bringing alive the profound significance of our evolutionary neural organization in daily psychological and relational processes.

Participants will learn about the evolutionary emergence of a set of nerves in the brain that control the heart and face. This connection provided the structures for the Social Engagement System, which links our bodily feelings and thought processes with facial expression, vocal intonation, and gesture. Workshop participants will learn about the relationship between neural regulation of the Social Engagement system and emergent properties, including the development of many forms of mental and physical illness. Additionally, Dr. Porges will speak to developing clinical strategies to rehabilitate the Social Engagement System as an important part of any treatment.

Please join us in this exciting and informative professional education experience. Stephen is an engaging, open, and vital thinker grounded in daily living and with a wide range of experiences and interests beyond the laboratory.


Ticket Information:

General Admission: $350
Early Bird: $310 Before June 23, 2017
Registered Intern: $245
Student of co-sponsoring institutions $175 – Current student ID required 30% of tickets available First-come, first-served
Onsite $365

Event ticketing:

NOTE: No single day tickets will be offered


About Our Presenter: Stephen W. Porges, Ph.D., is Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University, where he directs the Trauma Research Initiative within the Kinsey Institute. He holds the position of Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina and Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland. He served as president of both the Society for Psychophysiological Research and the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences and is a former recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Development Award. He has published more than 250 peer reviewed scientific papers across several disciplines including anesthesiology, biomedical engineering, critical care medicine, ergonomics, exercise physiology, gerontology, neurology, neuroscience, obstetrics, pediatrics, psychiatry, psychology, psychometrics, space medicine, and substance abuse. In 1994 he proposed the Polyvagal Theory. The theory provides insights into the mechanisms mediating symptoms observed in several behavioral, psychiatric, and physical disorders including autism, anxiety, depression, ADD, PTSD, and schizophrenia. His research has led to the development of innovative interventions designed to stabilize behavioral and psychological states and to stimulate spontaneous social behavior that are being applied to autism and other clinical diagnoses.

For more information on Dr. Porges and his work, visit his website:


Continuing Education

Continuing education credit for this event is co-sponsored by Somatic Psychology Associates and The Institute for Continuing Education. The program offers 6.00 contact hours per day, with full attendance required. The CE processing fee is $25.00 per person and is payable to The Institute for Continuing Education with completed CE paperwork. CE applications will be available on site. CE verification will be mailed to workshop participants following the training. To receive continuing education credit, participants must complete CE paperwork, sign in/out daily, and complete an evaluation of the training. If you have questions regarding this training, continuing education, learning objectives, or grievance issues, contact The Institute at: e-mail:

Social Work:
The Institute for Continuing Education, Provider 1007, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB),, through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. The Institute for Continuing Education maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: 04-13-2015 – 04-13-2018. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits.

Counseling / Marriage-Family Therapy:
The California Board Behavioral Sciences accepts programs sponsored by approved providers of the American Psychological Association (APA), and the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB).

Psychology: The Institute for Continuing Education is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Institute for Continuing Education maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Skill Level: Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced

Teaching Methodology: May include: didactic, audio-visuals, demonstrations, role play, experiential exercises, large and small group discussions.

ADA: If you have special needs, please contact: or 510-387-5845

Conference Learning Objectives

Describe the primary features of the Polyvagal Theory.
Explain how the autonomic nervous system is related to social and defensive behaviors.
Describe the three autonomic circuits that support and disrupt social behavior.
Explain how the neural process “neuroception” evaluates risk in the environment and triggers adaptive neural circuits promoting either social interactions or defensive behaviors.
Describe the clinical conditions necessary to promote feelings of safety in the client.
Identify cues of physiological state in the client’s voice and facial expressions.
Explain why deficits in the Social Engagement System are core features of several psychiatric disorders.
Explain how trauma disrupts typical function of the autonomic nervous system.
Explain how maladaptive behaviors, including dissociation, may accompany several psychiatric disorders, and may reflect adaptive responses triggered by survival mechanisms.
Describe the mechanisms through which voice conveys physiological state and how listening to types of vocalizations and acoustic stimulation can aid in the regulation of biobehavioral states.
Describe a face-heart connection that defines a social engagement system that links our bodily feelings with facial expression, vocal intonation, and gesture.
Explain how trauma and chronic stresses can “retune” middle ear function and distort the ability to process human speech.

A Certificate of attendance will be available to all attendees.


Co-sponsoring Institutions & Programs

California Institute of Integral Studies, Somatic Psychology ProgramJohn F. Kennedy University, Somatic Psychology Program
Pacifica Graduate Institute, Somatic Studies in Depth Psychology
Northern California Somatic Experiencing Professional Association
The Wright Institute, Integrated Health Psychology Training Program


Directions, Transportation & Accommodations

The Hotel Shattuck Plaza is conveniently located in downtown Berkeley, CA. The Crystal Ballroom Conference Center has its own entrance on Allston Way, just down the street (west) from the main hotel entrance. Registration will take place at that door.

Public Transportation: The Downtown Berkeley BART station is in front of the hotel.

Parking is available at the City of Berkeley Allston St. Parking Garage across from the hotel. Current rates are $14 weekdays and $5 weekends all-day.

Our mailing address is:

Somatic Psychology Events

c/o Somatic Psychology Associates 614 Grand Avenue
Suite 200
Oakland, Ca 94610

Tinas Pre-Conference Workshop: 8/25,  9:30am – 12pm & 1:30pm – 4pm

Embodied Alchemy®: Awakening Spirit in the Body

“Our task is not to create more images of light, but to release the light that is trapped within the darkness.”               ~ C.G. Jung

How do we evoke the light in the dark body? How do we embody the soul spark, bring it to consciousness, and live it more fully in our daily lives?

In this workshop, we will explore the impactful role of embodied experience and the spiritual dimensions of the healing process.  Participants will have an opportunity to engage the Alchemical metaphor in relation to the embodied individuation process in healing and development. Elements from Jungian theory will be interwoven and further integrated through movement, drawing, and discussion.

The Alchemists’ aim was to study nature and to learn from its profoundly regenerative capacities, discovering the ‘gold’ in matter.  Alchemy’s basic elements can deepen our understanding of embodied transformative processes, experienced spontaneously through natural movement rooted in Jung’s Active Imagination process.

These practices bring awareness to what we least value, ‘cooking’ unwanted material to generate new life.  Alchemy provides an ancient map of the stages in the individuation process: our journey to wholeness. Such a map can help orient people in their therapeutic work, particularly when they are immersed in unconscious material that may cause feelings of anxiety, impatience, or dissolution.


Tinas Keynote Session: 8/27,  9:30am – 10:30am (Panel: 11am – 12pm)

Body & Soul in Transition

“The symbols of the Self arise in the depths of the body.”        ~ C.G. Jung

Alchemy is most often understood as a primitive scientific attempt to create elemental gold, yet alchemy also sought the ‘inner gold’. So too, modern psychotherapy has the capacity to transform prima materia, the unwanted material of everyday life, into something meaningful, thus helping us find the ‘gold’ in the shadow.

In this presentation images will be shown from a painter’s journey in becoming her true self, the treasure we all seek. Her images take us from life’s earliest beginnings, through the stages of growth, death, dismemberment, despair and new life reshaped by the transformative elements of fire, water, wind, and earth. Here we see the alchemical process at work. Participants will have an opportunity to witness the process as a whole, and to engage the alchemical metaphor in relation to bodily experience.

Conference Information:

The ancient art of alchemy – the transformation of base materials into a nobler form – continues to captivate the imaginations of artists, poets, scholars, seekers – and depth psychologists.  One of the earliest material technologies found throughout the world, many alchemical traditions over time developed into highly elaborate esoteric systems until nearly being eclipsed at the dawn of the modern scientific era.  C.G. Jung was synchronistically introduced to Daoist alchemy through Richard Wilhelm’s translation of The Secret of the Golden Flower, catapulting Jung into the world of alchemy, capturing his imagination and profoundly influencing his scholarly output for the remainder of his life.

This weekend symposium draws upon the rich influence of Jung’s alchemical psychology, while expanding it for a new generation of scholars, seekers, and practitioners. Scholars of alchemy and Jungian analysts of international renown join to offer diverse perspectives of cross-cultural alchemical systems and their implications for analytical practice and personal growth and transformation.

Join us at Pacifica for this inter-disciplinary odyssey into the rich and diverse worlds of alchemy and depth psychology as they are brought into creative dialogue.


Pre-Conference Workshops

  • Robert Bosnak
  • Tina Stromsted
  • Kwame Scruggs (Alchemy, Inc.)

Conference Sessions

  • Stanton Marlan
  • Dominic Steavu-Balint
  • David Gordon White
  • Tina Stromsted
  • Kwame Scruggs (Alchemy, Inc.)
  • Joseph Cambray

Click here for more information and registration.

Title: Embodied Research Methods
Editor: Jennifer Frank Tantia, PhD
Routledge Press

Embodied phenomena have been explored in research in many fields of study such as psychology, expressive therapies, social sciences, anthropology, medicine, and education but to date there has not yet existed a collection of work that describes the specific ways in which embodied data collection and analysis can contribute to traditional styles of inquiry. Embodiment is an essential element of human experience, yet often missing in research data. This book will serve as an edited textbook that emphasizes embodied data in research methods. We are seeking chapter contributions that describe innovative research methods in both qualitative and quantitative approaches to embodied experience in research.

Please send the following short proposal to Jennifer Tantia –* by September 15, 2017:

Proposed chapter title:

Name, country and contact details: Submission content: (500 words; APA format):
• Introduction
• Theoretical background and description of methodology
• Description of method: data collection (interviews, observations, etc…) and data analysis (identifying patterns and establishing a relationship between data and unknowns)
• Summary that includes the relative usefulness of your proposed embodied method pertains to the extant literature in your particular field.
• Key Words (3-5)
• Key References (6-10)
• Brief biography of 75 words outlining professional qualifications, previous publishing experience, etc.
• A sample of material (draft acceptable) or previously published material to evidence writing competence.

*Please use: “Embodied Research Methods Proposal” in the subject line of your email.

DOWNLOAD PDF – CALL FOR PROPOSALS.Embodied Research Methods.7.4.17

Submitted by:
Frances Sommer Anderson, PhD, SEP
140 East 40th Street—Suite 12A
New York, New York 10016
“All the Rage (Saved by Sarno)” has been held over after a successful screening that began June 23. It was the highest grossing per screen indie film to open this weekend with a box office of 9700. It will run for at least 2 weeks.
There are 5 showings daily at 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 pm at Cinema Village.
For all who are interested in integrative treatment of somatic pain and other stress-related conditions, we recommend the documentary, “All the Rage (Saved by Sarno),” created and directed by Michael Galinsky in collaboration with Suki Hawley and David Bellinson. Galinsky is also known for his documentary “Battle for Brooklyn” in 2011, among others. ( In All the Rage, he tracks his history of back pain and his recovery, with the help of John E. Sarno, MD. The documentary, a work in progress for more than 10 years, features a wide range of integrative medicine practitioners as well as mental health professionals and appearances by celebrities who have publicly acknowledged Dr. Sarno’s help in healing pain.
The filmmakers have invited me to answer questions after the 5pm showing on Saturday July 1.
The theater is located at 22 East 12th Street.
You can pre-order tickets now by going to the Cinema Village website.

You can also pre-order tickets now by calling the theater at 212-924-3364 (box office) – or stop by the theater to purchase tickets.

Jeanna Gomez, LCSW, LADAC, SEP, BASE-P

Gomez Counseling and Consulting Services

Trauma Healing and Recovery Center

Presents the following  workshop in Houston Texas August 10-11, 2017, Mending Boundary Ruptures A Somatic Intensive for Clinicians

About the Workshop:

During this intensive workshop Jeanna will utilize her experience in using Pia Mellody’s Post Induction Treat‐ment (PIT) model and Peter Levine’s Somatic Experiencing, a body oriented approach, to work through the col‐lapse, shame, rage and feelings of helplessness that exist as a result of boundary ruptures. As well as allow for our natural defenses and protective barrier to heal and mend.

Workshop Cost: $550.00 per person. This includes the 2 day intensive workshop and materials. There is a $10.00 additional fee, if you are wanting CEU credits. The workshop is 2 consecutive days, Thursday –Friday 9:00am-5:00pm. Space is limited so register early. $50 discount if you sign up 30 days before the workshop date.

CEU information: 13 continuing education credits are available. In order to obtain a certificate of completion, you must attend the workshop in its entirety. No partial credit will be given. No exceptions. GCCS is a CEU provider for the Texas State Board of Social Workers Examiners and the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors.


Workshop will be held at The Hope and Healing Center.
NOTE: Please type in 5025 Riverway Dr. on GPS for accurate location.
Website address is 717 Sage Rd, Houston, TX 77056

I hope you all can make it.  If you have any questions contact me:


Thanks.  Jeanna Gomez



Do you want to be able to practice emotional aikido with anything life throws at you? Wouldn’t it be great to navigate even your most potent emotional triggers with more ease? SHIFT can help! With SHIFT you can: Discover how to stop overwhelm in its tracks before it hijacks your day. Be empowered to go after what you want instead of feeling stuck. Experience internal freedom as you make peace with inner critics and becoming more self-accepting. All that and more: SHIFT is video-based training you can do anytime and anywhere you want.

Get started with SHIFT here:

An Experiential Workshop for Psychotherapists, Counselors, Body Workers
and others in the helping professions
PRESENTER:  Narelle McKenzie, MA
 August 16, 2017                9:00 am – 5:00 pm     
Sandman Suites on Davie, Vancouver, B.C.
Registration Fee CAN$125

Today we live in a world where nothing is certain. We no longer live in small communities where everyone is known. No longer is there a job for life. We don’t know what to trust in the media—is it true or is it false? Our lifestyles have become more fluid, which can be challenging for our personal relationships.
Living in such a world brings unsettling disturbances to our sense of the ground beneath our feet. We long for more certainty in our lives and less unpredictability. Perhaps, however, the question is not “How can I make my life more predictable?” but “How can I develop confidence in living when I don’t know or trust that I have the resources to deal with the unpredictable?”

For those of us in the helping professions, this issue is even more complex. How do we suspend our training and knowledge and the transferential pressures of our clients, to be truly present in every session while still being with them in their uncertainty? What assists us to enter the world of our clients with an openness to their experience and process, at times not knowing where we are going?
This one day workshop will be blend of didactic and experiential sessions for members of the helping professions. We will explore how we can access our body and its inner resources so that we may develop greater confidence in living with both “knowing” and “not knowing,” and trusting in our capacity to deal with the unpredictable, as it will inevitably arise. We’ll explore how we might work with others to develop this capacity for themselves. Participants will experience how working from this framework enhances their comfort with not knowing, empowers the process of the client and embodies the spiritual with the emotional and the physical.  In particular, emphasis will be given to how attending to our body and theirs can help us be able to sit with our clients in their difficult feelings without necessarily trying to make them feel better, but in fact, to be able to increase their tolerance for those uncomfortable feelings.

Presenter  Narelle McKenzie is a registered psychologist and somatic psychotherapist in Melbourne, Australia, with over thirty five years experience of working in private practice with adults, adolescents, families, couples and groups. She has a Masters degree in developmental psychology and extensive experience and training in psychotherapy.   As part of her private consultancy, Narelle has led experiential and training workshops in somatic psychotherapy throughout Australia and in the USA and has taught courses in these areas at undergraduate and graduate level at universities in Australia.  She is the Director and a Senior Trainer of the Australian Radix Training Centre and The Radix Institute, USA, which offer national training programs in Radix body-centered psychotherapy.Visit or email for more information.

Radix Workshop Vancouver

The International Body Psychotherapy Journal is pleased to announce the publication of volume 16, number one, Spring 2017, available online and in print now. The issue is dedicated to hope, and the Journal’s Editorial team hopes the papers might inspire and ignite curiosity and hope in the readers. Papers include: a discussion about when the war ends—dialogues between reality and fantasy, healing and psychotherapy; ways to end therapy; embodied conflict resolution (combining body psychotherapy, Gestalt equine psychotherapy and Aikido); and the development of the LIFE Questionnaire, a body responsiveness questionnaire validated on a European sample looking at the mediation between body awareness and affect, and connection with mindfulness, body, and physical activity. There is a paper discussing the development of the Levang Inventory of Family Experience designed to operationalize and validate Pesso-Boyden System. And, you can also read about the two body psychotherapy conferences held in 2016 sponsored by the USABP in Providence, Rhode Island and the EABP in Athens, Greece.

You can access the Journal free online at and print issues are available to our subscribers.

Eugene T. Gendlin, the American philosopher and psychologist who developed the mind-body connection practice called “Focusing,” died on May 1 at the age of 90 in Spring Valley, New York. His death was announced by the International Focusing Institute (, which was founded in 1985 by Dr. Gendlin to promote the practice of Focusing and the philosophy behind it, which he called the “Philosophy of the Implicit.” Focusing is an experiential, body-oriented method for generating insights and emotional healing. Gendlin’s philosophy falls under the branch of philosophy called phenomenology. Significant influences on his philosophical work included Edmund Husserl, Jean-Paul Sartre and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. A nearly exhaustive library of his work is maintained by the Institute in the Gendlin Online Library.

Eugene T. Gendlin Press Release and Obituary

National Conference June 30-July 2, 2017.
Misericordia University, Dallas, Pa. CEUs available.

This groundbreaking event is the first major conference in the U.S. focusing on the topic of yoga and mental health care. It is designed for mental health and rehabilitative health professionals as well as yoga teachers and therapists. Topics include using therapeutic yogic interventions to reduce or heal dissociation; subtle breathing pattern dysregulations; autonomic nervous system dysregulation; anxiety; substance use disorders. CEUs available.

Pre-Conference Workshops; Keynote speech by Amy Weintraub, author of Yoga and Depression; In-depth Saturday Workshops; Sunday panel discussion.

Conference early-bird price go $150 before May 1.

Register at:


When we help clients neurobiologically separate out early shame from grief, we bring them to the awareness of how present day experiences are actually a confusing entanglement of calling cards from the past. As the responses separate and integrate with support into the client’s present day self, a felt sense of choice and autonomy emerge.

A Client Scene:

“It happens every time no matter what I say or how nice I try to be. My husband starts scolding me and I collapse.” Megan’s gaze sadly drifts to the left.

“When you feel that in your body, how old are you?” I ask.

“Young. It’s like I want my father’s love, and I know I’m not good enough.” She shrugs.

“How does this feel to the adult you?”

“Well, I know the not being good enough is not true.” She shrugs again. There’s silence.

Read More here at Inside Shame Transformation Blog by Caryn Scotto d’ Luzia, MA, SEP, AST Model Developer

In this book, Deirdre introduces a unique exploration of attachment-based approaches, integrating yogic psychology to bring relief and ease in treating trauma.

From the Introduction:

“Every child should have had the gift of safety from birth onwards. In that state of grace, a child flourishes, steps beyond their comfort zone, makes mistakes, reaches for reassurance, learns and grows from mistakes without shame.

Returning to a safe haven after stretching out into the world, the child finds out from others that they’ll be okay despite anything untoward that happened.

In this cocoon of care, a child naturally develops psychological safety (Bowlby, 1988; Holmes, 2001) with a native impulse to explore themselves and the world.”

This workshop introduces participants to the basic principles and skills of the Hakomi Method to support personal and professional development. The goal of Hakomi is to uncover and alter unconscious motivations, beliefs and outdated frames of reference that negatively affect mood and relationships with self and others. The method uses experiments conducted in mindfulness and body awareness to gather information about unconscious processes. These techniques, coupled with the attuned presence of the therapist, access implicit memories and gently reorganize entrenched neural patterns.

In this workshop, you will: Learn how to turn awareness inward for self-study, and how mindfulness can infuse this exploration with a sense of curiosity and compassion. Explore ways the body archives experience and expresses our deepest beliefs about life. Practice using mindful experiments and the body to identify and eventually transform unconscious, limiting core beliefs.

The workshop will consist of a balance of talks, experiential exercises, discussion and personal reflection, with an emphasis on skills that can be readily applied following the workshop. This workshop offers the opportunity to experience the Hakomi method of psychotherapy. It is suitable for those working therapeutically with clients and those wishing to deepen their own self understanding. It will be of value to psychotherapists, counsellors, psychologists and other practitioners who are interested in learning more about Hakomi or are considering enrolling in the Hakomi Professional Training.

LOCATION:British School of Shiatsu-Do, London, England

DATES: 26-28, May 2017

SCHEDULE: Friday 17.30-20.30 Saturday 10.00-18.00 Sunday 09.00-15.00

COST: Early Bird Registration 280£ if registered by April 1, 2017, 310£ thereafter. Meals and accommodations are not included. NOTE: This workshop is a prerequisite for the Level 1 Professional Hakomi training.

CONTACT: Noella at or visit

Our Winter issue is online now.  The current focus is on prenatal and perinatal psychology and health. We have articles on birth and rebirthing, early trauma and ways to heal it, and body-centered pregnancy.

Erik Jarlnaes shares an in-depth view of his rebirthing process while Sharon King talks about her Matrix Birth Reimprinting and the need for a new paradigm. Kate White and Ray Castellino write about the Womb Surround Process and Alex Lobba discusses Leadership: The Art of Relationships. We have book reviews and author interviews/reflections with Stella Acquarone, Terry Marks-Tarlow, and co-authors Joann O’Leary and Jane Warland.

We invite you to visit our new website, subscribe to our RSS feed and our magazine, follow us on Facebook, and be part of our new energy as we transition from a quarterly publication to a weekly news feed. Our goal is to share articles, current events and information, videos of interest for viewing and more on a daily to weekly basis.


In gratitude,

Nancy Eichhorn

Founding Editor-in-Chief, Somatic Psychotherapy Today

Embodied Recovery 

A trauma-informed, relationally-oriented and somatically-integrated treatment

for eating disorders.

Embodied Recovery – is a cutting-edge approach to the treatment of eating disorders that draws from the latest research in traumatology, interpersonal neurobiology, and child development.

This pioneering somato-psycho-social approach highlights the body as a “re-source” in the recovery process rather than a source of distress to be managed. Our core principles address the intersection between somatic organization, the subjective experience of self, and our basic human need for attachment/bonding and protective defenses. The science behind the training is supported by the contributions of pioneers such as Peter Levine, Dan Seigel, Stephen Porges, Pat Ogden, Bonnie Bainbridge, and Allan Schore.

Participants will:

  • Learn basic symptomology of and DSM V diagnostic criteria for Eating Disorders.
  • Understand benefits and limitations of traditional ED treatment for In-patient, Residential, PHP (intensive outpatient), and outpatient levels of care.
  • Understand the ethics, efficacy, and protocol for usage of a team approach to treating eating disorders.
  • Gain skills in comprehensive assessment using the somato-psycho-social model.
  • Increase ability listen and communicate through the language of the body to access unprocessed trauma and attachment injuries.
  • Expand knowledge of the nervous system phases and strengthen skills to support affect regulation in individuals with eating disorders.
  • Deepen understanding of the neurobiology of trauma and attachment and their effect on eating and digestion.
  • Select specific somatic resources to facilitate embodiment, increase somatic attunement between client and therapist, and enhance effectiveness of current

Visit our website: for information on our upcoming NC training designed for somatically integrated providers. 

Active Pause is about the simple, down-to-earth ways in which we step out of “automatic pilot” to be more actively involved in what we do. In other words, we see “mindful” as “engaged” – – the opposite of being disengaged, of doing a task mindlessly.
So, one of the things you will see over time in our newsletter, is people sharing specific approaches and experiences. The key word here is “experience”: This is not dogma, this is what people actually do, and how it works for them. This is an invitation for you to experiment with it, and to adapt it to your needs.
In this spirit, Linda Ciotola is sharing the approach to mindful eating that she practices and teaches.
There is an audio conversation with her, together with a printable PDF transcript, at:
Linda has also prepared a “self coach tool” about mindful eating, also a printable PDF, that you can find at:
Linda Ciotola is a Certified TEP (trainer-educator-practitioner of psychodrama) and the co-author of a book on healing eating disorders.

Please share your feedback about this, as well as comments and suggestions about Active Pause, as a reply to this email or through the Facebook group:

The Second National Conference on Integrating Yoga into Mental Health Care is scheduled for June 30-July 2, 2017, at Misericordia University, Dallas, Pa. It is co-sponsored by the Misericordia University Social Work Department and The Wellfleet Collective. CEUs for various mental health disciplines are pending.

You are invited you to submit a proposal to present a 90 minute workshop. We are particularly interested in applications of yoga to various mental health disorders, in 2 workshop tracks, Introductory and Intermediate. Please include a workshop description, any special materials or equipment needed, and biographies of the presenter(s), including relevant credentials. Workshops will be presented on Saturday, July 1.

Proposals will be due as close to February 15, 2017 as possible, with decisions made by March 1. Workshop presenters will receive free tuition and space to display their publicity. A small stipend may also be available. Please address any questions, and email the proposals, to Dr. Susan McDonald at:


Improving social engagement through the use of Core Energetics’.

Please join us for this FREE 6 week process group for adults with Aspergers’ Syndrome.

We will use Core Energetics’ techniques to help connect with the self and with others in an aligned way, while strengthening self awareness, and body consciousness. Using movement, breath work and interactive therapy we will explore the energetic blocks in the body that hinder self development. Core Energetics’ is founded in Bioenergetics body work and adds a spiritual component. It has been successful in healing depression, anxiety, and trauma. Body work with consciousness creates a rich experience unique to the individual. Core Energetics’ is a pathway to the True Self.

Beginning: Monday, March 6, 2017 from 6:30pm – 8:30pm
The Mariner Center for Human Development
67 School St. Auburn, Ma 01501

Please contact Anna Smith at 508-735-3838 or to schedule your intake interview.

People who have experienced traumatic events can have significant changes in the neurobiology of their brain. The right brain holds emotions, relationship information, and unprocessed trauma, often in the form of flashbacks, body memories, intrusive thoughts and dissociated feelings. It is always turned on by an overactive amygdala. The left brain’s coherent function, which provides meaning to stay in the here and now, is interrupted by stress hormones as the result of danger signals from the amygdala.

Participants will learn to use the Body Double (BD) intervention to work with the energetic body and the ‘rhythmic rupture’ it suffers, along with the physical body and the brain, due to traumatic events. The brain-in-action, along with attachment structures, are taught through demonstration and live supervised practice and can be used immediately following the workshop in individual, couples and family therapy, as well as by educators and community organizers. This workshop expands the repertoire of students and practitioners of EMDR, EFT, sensory motor integration, as well as drama therapy and psychodrama.

Download flyer for more details:
Brain & Trauma Training 3-2017

THIS WORKSHOP OFFERS a framework for avoiding compassion fatigue, boosting resilience and promoting wellness. The core skills of Awareness, Balance, Connection (Saavkitne & Pearlman, 1996) and Self-Compassion (Neff, 2013) are explored in theory and in action. In addition to full psychodramas, brief action structures and theoretical processing, this workshop offers optional yoga, yoga nidra and massage so participants can practice selfcare during the four-day experience.

Over her 30+ year professional life, Cathy Nugent has held the vision to offer opportunities for dramatic transformations—deep healing, powerful learning and high-level wellness leading to more enriched and fulfilled lives. For this workshop, Cathy is joined by her long-time friend and colleague Linda Ciotola. Recipient of the 2008 Zerka T. Moreno Award, Linda is a highly experienced and creative psychodramatist with special expertise in holistic health and self-care practices.


4 Day Non Residential Workshop June 2017

This intensive residential workshop is designed to give practical, ready-to-use tools to psychotherapists who wish to extend their professional experience to incorporate the role of the body and emotions in their clinical work with original and effective practices based on the Radix approach. Radix is a psychotherapy approach centered on the body which stems from Wilhelm Reich’s intuitions and promotes healthy changes which can be presently perceived by patients. The word “Radix” means root but also source; it indicates the life stream present in every human being which generates and integrates emotions, body, mind and spirit.

The Radix approach attends to this stream to free clients from unhealthy body and mind habits; it enables them to reach a higher level of vitality.

Clients with early developmental traumas may not have a solid character structure. They may also lack energy. These factors may make it difficult for them to bring the insights they gain in a psychotherapy session spontaneously in their everyday lives. With a body-centered approach that is sensitive to the resources of these patients, it is possible help them develop a will, originating in a felt sense of the body, and they will be better able to connect what happens in their sessions to their everyday lives.

Wilhelm Reich inaugurated a precious field in psychotherapy working on the eye neuro-muscular segment movements. The Radix approach uses its principles and develops them, also in the light of Stephen Porges’s research. The patients’ eyes become an element of diagnosis, a way
to monitor the patient’s state of consciousness at once and an area of great therapeutic importance. The work on the eye-segment is the most distinctive tool in the Radix approach, differentiating it from other body- centered approaches.

Workshop Leaders: Narelle McKenzie, Director of Training of The Radix Institute, and Melissa Lindsay, Trainer with The Radix Institute.

Location: The “Centro d’Ompio” is an international center located by the Orta lake in northern Italy that hosts international seminars, workshops and trainings.  To view it visit

Registration Fee: The 5-days Intensive Workshop fee is of Euro 600. Cost of accomodation and food at “Centro D’Ompio” is Euro 200 all inclusive.  See brochures for details.


by Sheila Rubin, LMFT, RDT/BCT

How do you deal with profound disappointment? With things not going the way you wanted—or expected?

How do you deal with disruption/change/shock/disorientation/feeling like the bottom just fell out and you don’t know which end is up? Several clients have spoken lately of feeling confounded: “…Like being in the middle of deep water, so I can’t touch down anywhere, and I don’t know which way land is. There’s nothing to hold onto. I’m disoriented and don’t know what to do—but I can’t stay where I am and have to do something.”

We are living in interesting times. Recently we had an election that is likely to be affecting all of us in a big way. Some people are hopeful. Some are feeling profoundly shocked or disappointed. Some are struggling with friends and family who don’t share their perspective; they feel angry and are wondering how to deal with it.

One client speaks about her family members as dancing on the edge of a progressive pin, trying to figure out who to blame when there is no right action. Some teens and adults are marching to protest and stand up for dignity, showing their feelings, opinions. How could that go against family values? But sometimes it does. How can we have a deeper discussion beyond politics and into real issues? On several therapy listservs there are therapists asking each other how to support their clients who are suddenly dealing with an increase in hate, oppression, violence in their school or community—somehow it is in fashion to put down people who are different. Even in California, bullying has increased in some schools. I read in the paper that Gavin Newsom declared Bay Area schools to be bully-free zones with zero tolerance for bullying, whatever the reason.

I tell my clients about the paradox: If we see the others as haters, and we “hate the haters,” don’t we become haters too? In this paradox there may be no familiar or right answer. But if we hate the others we all become enemies.

After the election, clients came in in different stages of frozenness or shock. And my work with them was to help them find their way forward or find their way to acknowledging the shame of feeling less than and thinking that something was going to happen that didn’t happen.

When we don’t get what we want, there can be grief. Familiar stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.

We may also respond with any or all of the four responses to shame:

  1. Attack Self
    For example: Shaming yourself for not making sure your friends went to vote or not knowing how to take helpful action yet.
  2. Attack Others
    Find the bad guy. When we blame or shame others, there is such a possibility of derision and a breaking down of family or community. This is where bullying and aggressiveness comes from.
  3. Denial
    “It doesn’t matter anyway.”
  4. Withdraw
    Some people just want to withdraw and not be political, not be part of the conversation, not be part of what’s going on. That is a common reaction to shame.

How do you hold yourself when you’re going through emotional turmoil? How do you not just survive but make it a meaningful experience?

There is the possibility of honoring grief, honoring what is lost, by finding a way, through creative expression, to build something to remember what has been lost. Rather than using anger to harm ourselves or try to destroy the other person or idea, we find a way to deal with our grief or shame that can go into a poem or song or work of art. Then there’s the possibility of hope.

The Jungian archetype of the shadow is being unleashed in these times of turmoil. This is the part of the psyche that is usually hidden or repressed, or denied. It’s like the tarot card of The Tower, where everything is turned upside down.

This is a time of shadow when maybe we don’t know darkness from light, right from wrong. Our careful job is to find our way through. Shame and the shadow? Shame is the shadow, the parts of ourselves we want no one to see. Shadow often gets projected onto others in order to try to ignore it or not deal with it.

My students and clients reminded me that the election results fell on the anniversary of Krystallnacht, “Crystal Night”—also referred to as “Night of Broken Glass”—on November 9 & 10 in 1938, when the Nazis started going after the Jews, torching homes, burning synagogues and killing close to 100 people. Before anyone in the world could even imagine what would happen. It was the beginning of something profoundly dark. Some of my clients, whose ancestors went through that, are reliving the terror of that time as they fear for their families now.  After I listen with great care, I’m reminding them that there is a difference this time. The difference is that our eyes are open now. And we can make a difference.

What can we do? We can put love first, put family first.

And we can use the idea of healthy shame to help us get through, take us to a place of seeing the big picture. What can we do differently to express our views more clearly? Maybe, at some point, have more humor about the situation. (But maybe not yet!) If we see someone being bullied or attacked, can we say something and not turn away? When we see someone hurting can we show up? Can we have compassion? Compassion is counter-shaming, it is connecting. Compassion is love in action. The best part of compassion is being able to love ourselves and talk kindly to ourselves and others whom we maybe don’t understand. If we can do that, can we extend that compassion to a relative who is different? Can we still love them? I hope so!

One way to move beyond these reactions to shame is to work with what is coming up with through creativity—which could take the form of a poem, a creative gesture… Ultimately it’s about choosing a creative action rather than a destructive action.

On the day after the election, when many of us were in shock, my neighbor asked me how I was doing and if I wanted to hear something hopeful. Then he played me something his granddaughter had posted on YouTube. She was saying, “Well, if you’re down, you just pick yourself up, and then you try it again and you get stronger.” It was inspiring to hear the strength in her young voice!

Wishing all of us some light to see in the darkness.

This article originally appeared on

© 2016 Sheila Rubin

By Sheila Rubin, LMFT, RDT/BCT

Once I was working with a woman who was feeling very lost in her life. She wasn’t sure if she even wanted to start a new job or a new relationship. I asked her what her picture was when she imagined getting a new job, and all she could picture was what happened in her last job: her co-worker and even her supervisor putting her down. I asked her what picture she imagined when she thought about a new relationship and she couldn’t even imagine that; she just kept saying over and over, “The last one wasn’t very good, so there must be something wrong with me.”

One day she came into the session with a dream. In her dream, she was seeing friends from long ago. I asked her how it was to see those friends from long ago.

She said, “There must be something wrong with me because they stopped being my friends.” I said, “It sounds like when you want to move forward, you get these thoughts that there’s something wrong with you.” She said, “Yes,” looking down.

I asked her to draw what it felt like inside when she had that thought. Instead of choosing any of the brightly colored chalk, pencils, or markers, she picked the blackest black and slowly covered the whole page with it. I said, “Wow…. That’s really something. No wonder you can’t move forward.” I asked how it was to draw her picture like that and to have it so black and to fill the whole page. She seemed encouraged by my support and said, “There’s more.” So I asked her to draw the “more.” And then there was a whole other level of black on top of the black.

It was very black, kinda take-your-breath-away black. So I wanted to acknowledge the darkness so she wasn’t alone with it. Then I brought in play. We started playing with this picture of the blackest blackest black. First we positioned it right in front of her, then slowly I moved it until it was all the way on the other side of the room. We began a process of acknowledging this black from the different distances. When it was far away from her, at one point she started to feel a little bit of hope. Then she remembered a tree she used to climb back when she was a tomboy, before she started wearing skirts and having to act “right.”  I had her draw the image of the tree and then I had her feel the sensation inside of her of the tree supporting her, back when she was a tomboy. Slowly we began to work with this symbol of protection. The tree would protect her from the blackness. When she started to have thoughts that there was something wrong with her, she could imagine sitting in the arms of tree and the tree saying to her, “It’s okay. You’re going to be okay.”

A while after that she had another dream that she brought in. This dream was about the boss who had put her down. We worked on symbolism and talked about the different roles in the dream and worked in the Imaginal Realm with the psychodrama technique of surplus reality and Jungian active imagination. Surplus reality is an extension of ordinary reality where we can use imagination to have a conversation with someone as we wish we could or to complete something we wish we had been able to complete. We can call on support from memories, TV, movies or dreams. With my client I suggested bringing in images that might protect and support her. She imagined the boss and then imagined a serpentine monster coming up and wrapping its tentacles around the boss, who was trying to run away. The monster was saying, “Listen to her.” Then we brought her into the picture. She was eventually able to say to her boss, “I wrote those reports but you put your name on them.” And then we brought me into the picture. I named what was going on and said to the boss, “That shamed her.” Then she said, “I felt discredited. I felt like I didn’t exist.” And so I said, “She felt like she didn’t exist and that was shaming to her.” Finally she got to say what she meant to say all the time! Eventually I had her go back into the scene. This time the boss said, “I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to shame you.”

When later I asked her to do another drawing of how she felt, instead of the blackest blackest black of her original picture, she used all these different colors—orange, blue, yellow—and the image was kind of like a butterfly. I asked her what the butterfly was about and she said, “I’m feeling a lot better today. Lighter.” I told her that the butterfly is a symbol of new direction and transformation and, some people believe, resurrection—coming back to life again. For her it was a powerful symbol because there was movement, color and lightness. Even though the real boss in real life had not apologized, even though the situation hadn’t actually changed in reality, she felt very different inside. Instead of “There’s something wrong with me” she was able to realize there was something right with her. As she healed from the constriction of all-pervasive shame, her life force energy came back to her. And she now was able to go out on job interviews and eventually get a job that she loved. Even though the work with her was just in my office, we were working with her imagination. We were able to work with the shame so that it wasn’t holding her back anymore. She was able to be different in the world.

At one point she asked, “Do I need to call my ex-boss and tell him what an a**hole he was?” I asked her if she needed to do that or if she felt different enough from the work we had done that she didn’t actually need to tell him anything. And she realized she was fine and didn’t need to do it.

The Imaginal Realm is a place where I can gently guide the client if the shame is all-pervasive, when their thoughts or their body is stuck. By leading them through an expressive arts, creative drama therapy artistic process, I can help them find a different role they have inside. In the case of this client, she was stuck with the automatic thought “There’s something wrong with me.” CBT seemed to work in our early sessions but would not correct her automatic thoughts “something’s wrong with me” and core belief about her worthlessness when she was out in the world. When we challenged her automatic thoughts she would try on the new belief of “There’s nothing wrong with me,” but then she’d feel embarrassed because she didn’t actually believe it and didn’t want to admit that. So she hid her shameful thoughts from me during the session—more shame to hide. By working in the Imaginal Realm, we were able to bypass that part of her that was judging her and keeping the shame so stuck. I was working with the introjects in the client’s imagination, which is more effective than working directly with her issues out in the world when there has been all pervasive shame.

Using imagination: This is Winnicott’s “play space,” this is Moreno’s “Tele,” it’s the Jungian Imaginal Realm, Psychodrama’s “surplus reality”… By guiding a client skillfully into it and then out of it back to their life, we can heal their shame in the Imaginal Realm and give them back roles to re-incorporate into their life, including roles that they’ve never had before. This woman eventually chose to becoming a big sister and mentor for kids (tomboys). She found her next job with delight and anticipation and enjoyed her new role of survivor rather than victim.

In dipping into psychodrama I want to acknowledge Jacob Moreno and his wife Zerka Moreno, who created psychodrama. Zerka just passed away recently. Thank you also to Adam Blatner and Eva Leveton and Sylvia Israel from whom I learned directly about psychodrama and surplus reality.

© 2016 Sheila Rubin

This article originally appeared on – more information can be found at: