Embodied Therapy

promoting growth ......healing trauma

......workshops and professional training  with Michael Gavin

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It's not about me (3) - What I would enjoy

Posted by Michael Gavin on March 25, 2012 at 6:30 AM

“what I could offer, what would I enjoy offering, what I would love to offer, in the way of Training and Professional Development. “

I enjoy teaching.  In a former life I was a teacher for twenty odd years, most of them spent teaching Inner London youngsters designated “ Maladjusted” (- we talked like that in 60s & 70s-)  who later came to be labelled as having Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties.  I learned a lot from those times and those young people.

I would enjoy teaching some of the things I learned then about maintaining personal presence and personal authority ( what Cesar Milan, the “Dog Whisperer”calls Calm Assertiveness) in the face of strong, unbridled affect- about holding a boundary without aggression and without backing down even though you are scared.

I would enjoy sharing what I have learned about the elegant and accessible concepts of Transactional Analysis since I passed my TA 101 exam in 1982.  Though a wave of ME/CFS shut down my formal TA training after a couple of years in the late eighties I have kept a close contact with the TA world and world view, presenting regularly at ITA Conferences throughout the years. (Catch me at Harrogate this April, presenting on the Structural Dissociation model.)


It was that debilitating illness, which stopped me in tracks, that propelled me towards Body Psychotherapy. I could not understand how my body could let me down like that.  I learned so much in my Radix training about emotion and its expression, about the embodiment of script and of character, and especially about working with high energetic charge and discharge. I would enjoy sharing that knowledge and the ways I have learned in my own work and with the people I supervise, to integrate it with talking therapies.

During the Radix training I first me Babette Rothschild, herself a former Radix practitioner, when she came to talk to us about Shock and Trauma. Having just had a member of our training cohort commit suicide, we were all ready to listen.  Looking back over the twenty years that have passed it is astonishing to realise how uninformed we all were about trauma then. Judith Herman’s magnificent and trail-blazing Trauma and Recovery was published in 1992.  I joined Babette’s first training programme in 1994 and that changed the direction of my work.  In the last two years I have assisted babette in two twelve day training programmes and it was fascinating to see how much of the principle and practice has remained the same over the intervening years, and how much more sophisticated the course has become.  I enjoy passing on the principles and the practices that come from Somatic Trauma Therapy.

Back in the late nineties, influenced initially by my long time friend and colleague Ray Little, I did several intensive trainings with Richard Erskine who was developing an  essentially relational approach, integrating psychoanalytic and  humanistic (TA and Gestalt in the main) concepts and ways of working.  I became a member of what has proved to be a long lived and immensely valuable professional development seminar where we looked in depth and over time at Object Relations, transference and counter-transference phenomena, and how those psychoanalytic perspectives can be applied in our own practice.  I enjoy sharing what I have learned about these ways of working and how they fit with a somatic approach.  In the words of Alan Schore, how to develop : “a state of vitalizing attunement to the patient” and “an awareness of the clinician’s right-hemispheric countertransferential  visceral-somatic responses to the patient’s transferential, automatic, facially, prosodically, and somatically expressed affects.”  In my words, how to use body awareness to pick up on the client’s state and unexpressed feelings and needs.

I enjoy showing off a bit too, and we don’t get much chance for that in our profession, so teaching, training, doing demonstrations and the chance to look wise and knowledgable is fun for me.

But it's not about me...

Let me know what you would like:  comment below; join the discussion on LinkedIn, or take the survey (and get the Compassion Satisfaction and Compassion Fatgue Self-test, and the Self-remembering email series.)

Michael Gavin

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