Do you want to get to the root of the
Do you want to know why you sometimes...
- feel out of control?
- find yourself over-reacting?
- repeat old patterns?
- feel you have lost meaning in your life?
What do you want: To Live or just Survive?
Identity Therapy works with emotional and psychological trauma, and its impact on our identity, our sense of who we are. It helps find the roots of our internal splits and external conflicts.
In most of our lives there comes a time when we realise our reactions and behavior are affecting the way we relate to people and ourselves. We see ourselves repeating the same patterns and mistakes but don't seem to be able to do anything about it. We react first and regret later. Our behaviour seems to be out of our control.
Our relationships with our loved ones suffer. We may yearn for more connection but not know how to change. We become distanced from our family. The distractions of the outside world, shopping, television, adventure, alcohol,food or sex can only give temporary relief.
The path to understanding the subtle and not so subtle behaviours that come from our unconscious mind, and that drive us through our lives, can take us through many challenges. Identity Therapy can give direct access to the different drivers in our unconscious. Giving voices to these drivers in our life can help us more clearly understand and resolve our behaviours.
(Identity Orientated Psychotrauma Therapy, IOPT)
What does a session look like?
Before the session I ask the client to consider what they want to explore in the session. After a period of reflection, the answer to this is brought to the session and written down in the form of a sentence of three to five words or aspects. This “sentence of intention” becomes the safe container for the session.
The client chooses markers for each word from this sentence and lays them out on the floor in any pattern they choose. The client or facilitator will then stand and “resonate” with each word. By trusting the feelings, sensations and images that arise in the body of the “resonator”, a picture of the roots of the issue gradually emerges. This may include survival states, parental and family behaviors, traumatic experiences, and healthy helpful parts of our behavior.
This may sound difficult, but it is actually remarkably easy once witnessed and tried.
The recognition and integration of these memories and survival strategies allows the client to reconnect with themselves at a deeper level in a safe, step by step manner.
How does it work?
"Resonating" with a "word" is thought to occur primarily through mirror neurons and limbic resonance in our brain. Our ability to empathise with each other is based in the limbic brain, and enables us to resonate with a part of another person's brain.
This resonance can be experienced in many ways in everyday life. We are thinking of someone and then they call, or we know before someone speaks that they are pregnant. These events are tied to our subconscious awareness and are sometimes labelled 'intuition'.
When we see someone cut themselves, we often have a physical and emotional reaction that in some way 'mirrors' that person's experience; in this instance the mirror neurons that fire in the brain of the person who is hurt also fire in our brain.
Starting with the premise that all our memories from conception onwards are held in in our bodies, Identity Therapy uses resonance to give the client access to the memories that are relevant to the "sentence of intention" that we start the session with.
Trauma is an experience we are unable to psychologically process and it becomes split off in our psyche, generating unconscious behavior. It is likely to be a part of all of our lives in one form or another. The most influential traumas often occur in early childhood, but it is worth remembering that we have also been affected by trauma that happened to our parents or grandparents, because the effects of trauma influence the availability of our parent's love and attention to us as children.
For most of us the trauma that we manage every day is from a time in our life that of which we may not have a conscious memory. This is for two reasons: one is that generally the way we deal with trauma is to split the experience off and relegate it to our unconscious, thereby erasing it from our memory. The second reason is that the traumas that probably have the most influence on us are from a time before we had developed the capacity for cognitive memory (around the age of two), perhaps even before we were born. But it is becoming clear from many different areas of research that we do have a memory before that time; it is held in the cells of our body. In fact everything we need to know in order to heal our trauma is within us, available when we are ready to access it.
Who am I and What do I want?
These two questions are fundamental to any psychologial issue that we meet in our lives. In the process of enquiring into why we react and behave the way we do, patterns begin to emerge. We see that our emotional reaction patterns have been with us most of our lives.
To understand who we are, we also need to understand the coping behaviors or survival strategies that we have put in place just to survive. The process of uncovering these strategies and the spit off traumatised parts, is a gradual step by step process of uncovering and feeling them.
Read more about this in Vivian Broughton's book, "Becoming your True Self"
I work with one to one sessions from my practices in Exeter, Lyme Regis and Newton Poppleford.
Sessions can be booked for 1½ hours or 2 hours.
I charge £75 for a 1½ hour session or £90 for 2 hours.