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Resources and Overwhelm - in the cranial context

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Cathryn Brooks

Resources and Overwhelm - in the cranial context

Posted by Cathryn Brooks 1289 Days Ago


Resources are essential to health and healing. Resources can be defined as anything that supports health. All healing occurs in relationship to the amount of resources that we can bring to bear in a given situation and, as we begin to connect with a client as therapists, our first priority is often to establish someone’s ability to find their resources and in addition, whether they can manifest present time, embodied awareness of those resources.

It is very different treating someone who is in a stable, happy family/relationship environment, has a strong network of friends, is fulfilled in their work, is able to express creativity, likes where they live, has a relationship with the natural environment and has a strong sense of their body, from someone who is isolated, feels unsafe, is disconnected from their body, has little or no contact with the natural world and has very little stability.

Resources are very personal, and are a mixture of external events or object and internal beliefs or frameworks. They tend to generate body sensations of ease, calm, warmth, space and stillness. There is an inner sense of being alright, strength, hope, vitality and safety when we are in a relationship with our resources.

Resources are not fixed and cannot be imposed from the outside, and the right fit of resources will emerge through the therapeutic relationship and will evolve as session work progresses.

Developing resources needs to be handled creatively and with a light touch; too much insistence and a formulaic approach on the part of the therapist working to support a client to get in touch with their own resources may get in the way.

Helping someone take control of how the room is organised and take control of where, when and how contact is made can be incredibly productive negotiations that can be played out over a number of sessions.

Supporting a client’s journey towards awareness that, yes we do have emotions and sensations but that we do not need to become them is very important. Stepping back and finding a wider context and other sensations is often a transformational shift:

  • Present-time embodied sensations as resources
  • Memory of resources
  • Fantasy of resource
  • Awareness exercise: finding places of health in your body

Trauma can be defined as anything that overwhelms our resources (Levine 1997). When we are overwhelmed we rely on very primitive responses that are hard wired into our physiology. Understanding our responses to overwhelm is clinical gold dust.