Have you experienced a moment of sitting with a loved one as they express their emotional pain, listening with all your being; at the same time aware you are feeling completely alive and somewhat expanded in your body? I believe this to be the experience of bringing Presence to another.
In a recent online talk 'Treating Trauma Master Series' by a panel of experts in this field, including *Bessel van der Klok, MD, and **Stephen Porges, PhD, discussing the ways the therapist can help heal trauma, the speakers agreed that bringing Presence to the client assists the person heal their trauma. Sounds simple doesn't it?
My experience includes this and goes a step further. I feel bringing Presence to another also helps heal my trauma. A good example of this is when I am in a Focusing Session. This involves bringing my attention into my body whilst being listened to for 25minutes by my companion, and then swapping to listen to her, still holding my attention within my body. I've been doing this with my Focusing Buddy approximately once a week for nearly two years. What I've noticed over this time is my sensitivity has increased to my and her 'feeling' experiences. I've noticed that when I'm listening to her express pain, my own body is simultaneously responding and silently expressing its pain; and in this moment I am aware I am holding Presence or allowance for both expressions. I've come to learn the more I relax into the experience, that is, not chasing pleasure or rejecting pain, the more aliveness and Presence comes to my bodily awareness.
Another example, is the use of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) - a powerful communication tool in its own right; becomes a wonderful starting point for the healing of trauma when applied to the body with care, compassion and patience. I've been privileged to practice bringing Presence to couples that come for relationship coaching with Alistair and myself. Recently a couple arrived expressing breakdown and possible ending of their relationship, however in a few hours of slowing down communication, whilst being coached by Alistair in NVC and listening to each other, they left the session with a renewed sense of connection and intention to move forward together. They gave us feedback a few days later to say: "...[we] walked in very despondent about our relationship and after your session, have walked out with an about turn in our thoughts of our future. We are quite in awe."
In my experience, bringing Presence, to another and myself, really does contribute to bringing healing to all parties.
Melinda Blair Paterson
Relating with Presence - Deepening into NVC Consciousness
Conscious Directions offers Relating with Presence retreats where we deepen into Nonviolent Communication consciousness and the practice of bringing Presence. Our next retreat will be in Byron Bay, Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th November, 2018. This event is for you if you have noticed the difference applying NVC makes to your relationships and life, and yet, you sense it has potential to create a deeper more authentic and spiritual connection with others in your communications. More information.
Relating to Connect - NVC Foundation Training
Attending a NVC Foundation Training is a prerequisite for attending the retreat. Our next Relating to Connect training will be in Melbourne, Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th November, 2018. More information.
Focusing is a simple mind-body awareness method that helps you find greater ease, clarity and freedom from old emotional patterns. It is a process that you can learn and have with you every day. You can use it at any time, driving the car, working in the garden…doing anything that doesn’t require intense concentration. More information.
*Bessel van der Kolk is a Boston-based psychiatrist noted for his research in the area of post-traumatic stress since the 1970s. His work focuses on the interaction of attachment, neurobiology, and developmental aspects of trauma’s effects on people.
**Stephen Porges is a "Distinguished University Scientist" at the Kinsey Institute, Indiana University Bloomington and professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in North Carolina. In 1994 he proposed the polyvagal theory providing insight into the mechanism mediating symptoms observed in the brain. The theory has stimulated research and treatments emphasizing the importance of physiological state and behavioral regulation.