Boundary, Contact, Engagement
A somatically informed approach for therapists and counsellors
A two-day workshop experience
with Michael Gavin and Brian Stirner
at the Open Centre, Old Street, London EC1
Saturday and Sunday November 18th & 19th
10 am – 5.15 pm
We will use the longer workshop format to give more time to explore
- theories both somatic and psychological, underlying the experiential work
- application to your clinical practice, both for self-care and self-regulation and for interventions with clients
-going deeper into personal meanings you discover
At this workshop we invite you to attend to and connect with you own body experience so that you can:
- enhance your awareness of this rich and
diverse stream of information about your own and your client’s dynamically
- differentiate what is your own from what is your client’s material;
- explore the intra- and inter- personal meanings of body states and dynamics;
- bring the vitality of your embodied presence to your therapeutic attunement and engagement;
- experience boundaries as something lived rather than thought, and feel from the inside how they relate to contact;
- empower yourself for lively engagement and sensitive or challenging encounters with whatever your clients or patients bring.
It is if
The workshop takes place in a spacious room, similar to this one, at the Open Centre - a few steps from Old Street underground station.
Directions are here.
After a short introduction, we will do some warm-up exercises to put you more in touch with your body.
Next comes an extended experiment in pairs or triads, exploring what the body can tell us about our sense of boundaries, and our experience of contact. Physical contact is NOT required. After discussion in the smaller groups, and with the whole group, not only of what was observed but also about how it might be applied in practice, it will probably be time for lunch.
There are plenty of places to eat locally, or you can bring your own lunch if you prefer. Tea and coffee is available on the premises.
The work after lunch will be a mixture of discussion and experiential work, still focussing on themes of Boundary, Contact, Engagement. Its content and direction will be determined by what has emerged in the morning session. It may include embodied supervision, demonstration sessions, movement to music, as well as more didactic exposition and small group experiences.
We begin once again with a body-focused warm and check-in.
The day will develop according to your expressed needs and interests:
client applications, including somatic supervision,
somatic aspects of self-care and self-regulation,
understanding personal issues raised by the experiential work.
After the workshop you will have access to a "follow-up" web page with further references and reading suggestions.
CPD certificates will be emailed to those who require them.
We expect this experience to informative, enjoyable, and to feel safe and supportive while offering opportunities to challenge yourself if you so choose.
In the preceding sessions we have addressed distance exploration, boundary formation, grounding, centring, contact, energising, the "war dance" that prepares us for challenging encounters, self-protection, focusing, safety. These workshops are an evolving project of reflective self-awareness and collaboration.
Brian is a Certified Radix Body Psychotherapist and a member of the Radix Institute, with a practice in London.
He has completed trainings in Somatic Trauma Therapy with Babette Rothschild and in Biosynthesis with David Boadella.
He is also a director of theatre, television and film, and has taught acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art for more than thirty years. He regularly uses aspects of Radix work with actors.
Michael is a Certified Radix Body Psychotherapist and Certified Somatic Trauma Therapist.
Having ended his London practice in 2012, he now focuses on supervision and training. He is editor of the Safe Trauma Recovery website.
For more than twenty years he has been co-leader of the London Radix Workshops programme, and since 2007, External Clinical Supervisor to the London Underground Counselling and Trauma service.
Boundaries are fundamental to relationship in general and to the therapeutic relationship in particular.
‘Contact is the experience of boundary between "me" and "not-me’…Relationship grows out of contact. Through contact people grow and form identities.’ Yontef
Our sense of boundary is something that is dynamically changing moment by moment, especially in situations that are in any way emotionally charged, such as the consulting room.
The body is continually offering information about the state of our boundaries and the quality of our contact. It may also be offering suggestions as to how we may best regulate our contact and maintain, or relax our boundaries. All too often we may not be not attuned to the wisdom our bodies are offering.
Tuning in to our body awareness can enable us to recognise our boundaries and to take care of ourselves, sustaining a resourceful state as we work with even the most distressed or distressing clients. This ability is vital in preventing vicarious traumatisation and burnout, as well as enabling us to be appropriately available to the needs of our clients.
Once a felt sense of boundary is established it is possible to learn simple, somatic ways of deliberately firming up or softening our boundaries. We can also refine our sense of the boundaries of the other, and what this may imply.
Making conscious and experimenting with the underlying "somatic markers" (Damasio) for boundaries and contact is a revelation not to be missed. To purloin a phrase from Allan Schore it is the craft that underlies "the science of the art of psychotherapy."
A developing awareness of Boundary and Contact leads to a richer sense of the dynamics of Engagement, in the therapy relationship, and indeed in life.