AARM STUDY GROUP
Monday, May 4, 2020 4:30 PM
- Breaking up or chunking each segment of the AARM to better understand how to make a paradigm shift from cognitive interaction to somatic interaction.
- Relevance of Insecure Attachment Styles to the AARM
- Time frame for this study group-four more months?
Our last meet up was probably the most instructive session for me. I have structured an exercise that you can use now when you do virtual or in person sessions. Thanks for your patience. I hope this exercise clarifies a very important piece of the puzzle of the AARM.
TOPIC: Paradigm Shift-From cognitive to somatic
As you work with clients during this period of time before our next meeting on May 4th, please consider the following approach that targets the transition from informal discussion, which characterizes the beginning of each visit with the client, to a somatic process of neuro-modulation.
I do not want you to focus on “attachment summarization”, but I do want you to realize the following exercise is what you do right after a summarization of coping as a way to launch a transition where body focusing takes the experience into a right hemisphere healing realm. This is what to do when you announce to the client, following the attachment summarization, that we are moving from a conversation to an internal body focus.
Prioritize the 4 Practice Guidelines silently to yourself Clear Head Body Focus Urge to Hold on Physical Pendulations (obviously not possible in virtual world)
1. Please suspend concerns about the dominant ego state(s) at this point instead focusing on the institution of the 3 or 4 practice guidelines.
Please entertain the notion that with relative effortlessness in the client’s ability to focus on their body core, there is a strong likelihood that the client will naturally migrate into their child state.
This assumption of a body focus triggering a migration into the child ego state is based on the establishment of primitive neural networks in infancy that set a course for a lifetime to assess relative safety or danger starting in infancy. Scanning for safety is an inclination that we share starting in utero and then more intensely when we are born. We are exquisite biological machines when it comes to ferreting out the intentions of others around us, whether they are friend or foe.
Please remember that a somatic process has to be well under way before concerning yourself with ego states beyond assuming that with a sustained body focus, the child ego state surfaces. The activation of the body core will inform you, the healer, about dominant ego state shifts from that point. The client’s inability to focus on their core in an easily sustained manner is the exception. Blockage of a core body focus usually means that the guardian-protector ego state must be identified and addressed while avoiding asking the client if they concur with you. They will naturally disagree when you start to reassure the guardian-protector, but this seldom happens.
3. With a quiet tone of voice, ask the client to consider positive, neutral or negative sensation all of which possess equal importance to the healing process.
Accept anything that the client tells you as the dominant physical sensation with the following options:
- If the client reports physical sensation in the peripheral body parts, like head, neck, extremities, it is important to avoid discounting these observations. I suggest that you proceed by validating the observation of peripheral body sensation by saying: “How about you hold on to that sensation in your knee and at the same time compare the knee sensation to anything that might be going on in your core.
- If negative sensation like heaviness in the chest or abdomen is sustaining, then normalize this experience by saying: “Your system has decided for you that the priority experience is one of grieving. What most often happens is that the heaviness may temporarily increase in intensity to ensure that you are getting the maximum incremental amount of grief to metabolize and purge from your system.
- If a neutral or positive sensation is the dominant physical sensation, the client will be predisposed to discount these sensations as irrelevant and will not be predisposed to report them. Client’s instead report that they feel nothing. Remember that the ethos of healing practices have been to find the drama (discomfort). You will have to offer a host of choices from which the client can choose the description that most resonates with them. This is also an opportunity to educate the client about neutrality as the beginning point of well-being experience.
- Contrast neutral sensation against hollow, vacant, empty and numb to be thorough. If the client feels that these so-called gray areas are more descriptive of their inner experience, normalize this muted valence as representative of their inner processing. Tell them: “The hollow, vacant, empty and numb sensation may represent how they have been able to emotionally catch their breath and could possibly be their version of well-being.”
- If positive sensation is reported, it could be in the well-being spectrum of sensation from calmness-peacefulness, lightness-weightlessness, tranquility, warmth v heat (heat usually indicates shame) and occasionally visual brightness. Please remember that all of these sensations are happening in the body core, even visual brightness. The visual brightness often brings a shiver throughout the body. The normalization process means that you celebrate this emerging well-being as representative that there is an existing strength in the body or else the presence of well-being could not be possible.
The client also needs to be educated that the experience of well-being is the most important experience in the healing process and is considered the medicine. The idea that well-being is the targeted experience to realize change is a large piece of the paradigm shift. It is no longer cognitive insight, but the healing process is one of rebalancing the nervous system through the body. This achieved through filling a deficit experience of interpersonal encoded well-being.
- Monkey mind is the condition where you have asked the client to consider a body focus, but the client cannot comply due to intrusive random thoughts and/or physical sensations in the head area. What we are to learn here is that the client’s guardian-protector ego state (PES) is blocking the healing process from taking shape.
There are several places in the manuscript that offers explanation and scripts to say when the PES needs to be reassured. Check your Table of Contents to locate these scripts. Once the PES has been reassured, then acknowledge to the client that with a cleared head of random thoughts and sensations, the PES agrees to allow the healing process to proceed. The clincher for the PES to relinquish control is that they too benefit from the well-being that is also strengthening to them.
- Physical centrality means that the client’s system can access a dominant physical sensation. With physiological centrality regardless of positive, negative or neutral sustaining valence, there will be an eventual shift from the dominant physical sensation. When the sustaining sensation, let’s say heaviness, shifts to say neutrality, then the pendulation phenomenon in the system can be assessed. Also, the process can be corralled into the concept of a naturally occurring “physical healing script” that generates from the client’s natural self-organizing abilities.
This notion reinforces that the Ideal Parent Figure (IPF) that can be reinforced by saying, “I’m guessing that this physical healing script comes by way of your internalized adult who knows best what to provide you the child (remembering a body focus is likely to surface the child ego state), which is the best readiness state for healing).
- Following this course (meaning instituting the 4 practice guidelines) will ensure that the first order of business for the AARM is the institution of a right-to-right hemisphere engagement, which is decidedly different from the informal discussion at the beginning of the session, which is left-to-left brain driven. We must activate the autonomic nervous system as a prerequisite and basis for somatic understanding through the 4 practice guidelines before anything else can be accomplished. Understanding dominant ego states starts with a body sensation first, not a question. Throughout the process of instituting the 4 practice guidelines, these same 4 guidelines must be protected and reinstituted when lost throughout the healing process. The most common impediment is the PES interference.