Mind is Body: What We Think and Feel is Physically Represented in, and Accessed Through the Body; A Session of Body Centered Energy Psychology with Emily Wingeier                              

 

by Emily Wingeier, MA, CMT, CNC

 

    A man whom I will call John came in with shoulder pain.  He is a cameraman and was told to avoid using his shoulder.  But, that is where he rests his camera, so when offered a job filming a gig that would offer him a plethora of connections promising future jobs as a photographer, he came for help.  “What is my body trying to tell me?” he asked. “My heart says this is the right direction for me but my body is not allowing me to take the next step in this direction. My shoulder, which holds my camera, is saying, ‘No.’”

    Once on the table, John tuned into his shoulder pain, a 7.5 on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being severe.  I checked muscles involved in shoulder movement.  Most of them were over facilitated, meaning they were working too hard at doing their job, like he felt he was in his life, straining to keep the flow flowing.  I checked for where the energetic center of his being was and found it across the room, in front of his body.  “Do you feel like you are always trying to keep up?” I asked him. “YES!” he replied emphatically. “That is because your “center” is in front of you,” I said.  I held acupressure points to connect Heart and Self, and his lower Dan Tien moved from across the room to below his navel, the hara, where it belonged, at his center of gravity. 

   Once he was “back in his body,” I checked his amygdala for stress - the kind of stress that shocks the system enough to make you feel “out of body.” Points that relate to frustration-anger-rage were “on fire”.   As I held them, he became aware of the frustration he held and expressed himself openly.  His acupoints indicated that the stress dated back to when he was one year old.  He told stories of his childhood.  He expressed that he never felt safe, with a mother who was paranoid that someone wanted to kill her and whose days were counted due to terminal illness.  After a circuitous route through a number of troubling childhood memories, me holding acupoints all the while, using kinesiology muscle monitoring to trace and Acupressure to disperse the stress traversing through his body and brain, he started, yelling, “Why can’t I do this!? Why can’t I do this?!  His voice echoed someone else’s energy, and I asked, “Who is telling you that? Whose voice is that?” 

   “My father’s.  He was always telling me I’m not good enough, I can’t do it.” His shoulder contracted as he sobbed.

   “Notice how your body feels where you are experiencing this pain,” I told him.  He described his sensations and where he felt them occurring in his body.  I asked, “How old is that boy who is is feeling this, and who is hearing your father say this to you?”

    “6 years old.”  I guided him to “distance himself” from the little boy who was showing himself, so that he could witness this boy’s pain from a place of compassion and caring curiosity.  I guided him to feel the boy’s pain, not allowing it to take over his experience, while maintaining that sense of compassion and caring. I asked him to also allow the boy to become aware of his Self Presence, as a caring witness to his experience, open to hearing and seeing whatever the boy wanted to share about his story.  

     After a while, once the inner 6 year old developed trust in John’s Self Presence, I guided the boy to join him in “present time.” The boy showed a healthy skepticism, discerning whether this was “a fantasy or not,” and whether it would be “wise” to trust the invitation.  Other parts stepped forward to express opinion and emotional charge surged through his system, overwhelming it electrically.  His indicator muscle that I was monitoring while checking acupoints, to follow the trail of stress through his neurological system, locked up, indicating physiological overwhelm.  I drained off that electrical stress using acupressure points, as I guided him to ask those parts who suddenly appeared out of concern, to step back if they can feel safe enough to let the process continue, and to feel appreciation towards the healthy skepticism that the boy (or a companion part) had developed to discern between fact and fiction, (while under the care of a delusional mother, too sick to create a sense of safety for her children).  This discernment undoubtedly must have served John’s system well as a child and as an adult.  Pointing this out while holding acupoints regenerated the prior sense of safety that was there before. The protective parts stepped back as trust was re-established. 

   At this stage of the process, when skepticism took hold, the brain areas that were showing stress were, interestingly, of his Emotional Modulatory Circuit, involving the cerebellum. The cerebellum modulates not only our physical balance, movement, and orientation in space, but also our thoughts and emotions, ensuring that we don’t jeopardize our egoic and physical survival by behaving inappropriately or thinking ineffectively. It was after dispersing stress from this system, that the boy decided he could trust the situation enough to “come to present time” where his grown up self exists, and “leave behind” the situation that actually did jeopardize his well being as a child. This is like closing a personality split, bringing a part stuck in the past, into the present where he can unload the burden or wound. This unloading ceases “living in the past”, thereby regenerating an old, useless and self-limiting situation in one’s present life.

      The unloading process was done in John’s imagination through a “fire ceremony” held in a “sacred place” that presented itself in a vision.  As the “fire ceremony” progressed, John’s shoulder began to shake, dispersing the stress that was held in his musculature.  I continued to hold points to assist this dispelling of muscular tension that was caused by emotional tension from held memories and a self-limiting beliefs.  While being amazed by the spontaneous shaking in his shoulder, John continued to stay focused on his emotional state and his unfolding vision of the fire ceremony.

  Once I noticed a marked decrease in intensity, in his body, I asked him, “What is your 6 year old feeling now?”

  “He’s playing,” he said. “He feels playful.”

  “Allow that feeling of playfulness to fill your whole body,” I guided.  More holding of points helped to instill that new sense and to change his energy system’s configuration to make this new sensation to become gelled in his being, replacing the frustration and fear that he had come in with.

   Finally, I asked him to return to each of the key memories he had visited earlier in the session, before the 6 year old inner child took center stage in his process.  As he visited each of them, he found them absent of the charge that surged through him earlier in the session, when they emerged in his memory.  His body remained calm and his mood peaceful.  He was awed by not getting triggered intensely by these memories, that surface in him regularly.  I explained that I had drained the charge that each memory invoked in his flight or fight system, starting with the amygdala and moving on to other brain areas, glands and organs that the emotions affected, or came from.  Once the charge had been discharged, the trigger was gone, and a peaceful kind of enthusiasm, like a serene playfulness remained in its place.

  With shoulder tension gone, and a new sense of playfulness in its place, John was able to hold his cameral painlessly, and enjoy progressing on his unfolding path as a camera man.

  This process is the process of Internal Family Systems Therapy, however, this process can often take multiple sessions over weeks, months or even years to come to conclusion.   The ability for this entire process to come to pass in one session was made possible by the draining of stress that surged in the nervous system, making progress safe and efficient for the client.

 

 

Emily is a BodyMind Therapist who combines Acupressure and Kinesiology with Internal Family Systems (somatic & transpersonal) psychotherapy. She is a certified Bodyworker and Nutrition Consultant, who integrates modalities as they are needed.  Sessions with her are available at the Interpersonal Healing Clinic. Energy Psychology and Kinesiology sessions like the one described above last 1 to 2 hours and cost $100/hour.  Sessions of Massage and/or Acupressure are $70/hour. Appointments may be made by calling Emily at 303 517 3132.