Vic Okerlund

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  • Vic Okerlund
    November 8, 2015 at 7:47 pm #2426

    Hi all.. somehow I missed that there were any responses past Lisa’s.. I discovered this last week ago and now is the first time I could turn toward it. I apologize for not being more responsive!

    Johannes… I am not sure about how you hold your understanding of the “dangerous” in terms of the embodiment piece. I think there is the possibility to go too deep with our clients in any of the domains (body, emotion, cognitive/linguistic) which suggests we must understand these edges carefully… I certainly think exploration of the BA can open very deep psychological levels, some we those of us without therapist training, are not trained to handle.

    I follow my intuition when to introduce a sense of somatics explicitly with clients. It is not a field I have mastery in but am paying attention to with a bit of fervor. I had a recent client who was dealing with poor performance feedback in terms of her willingness to collaborate. She was so constricted and resentful and crushed that it was hard for her enter curiosity through the emotional world. We began to talk about her somatics; how she thought she showed up in her body – including voice tenor and level, body position; how she moved in space (with “power over” – in her words).. she even noticed a pattern of “power over” in terms of how she dressed and the shoes she wore (which affected how powerfully she could walk into a room). We wove these into the self-observations of her BA, into the continuum of progress and into the tests design. The integration helped her, I belief, get closer to her emotions and habitual patterns of protection. By entering a world not ruled by her BA, through somatic experience she learned/remembered how to inhabit her body which made the resources she had of practicing presence and calmness more available to her. She developed small body centered practices (a small shift in posture and a slight pause in breath) to help her access tenderness which helped remember listen better which help enter more effective conversations.

    Simon! I loved what you shared! Thank you! I have just become aware of Hakomi (my daughter’s counselor has included it in her therapy )

    Deborah – As I said above, I am learning and listening to ways to develop my own awareness and use of somatics. As I develop myself, I find that I access these realms more and more for perspectives, resilience and wisdom. I am still following my intuition to see whether these realms are available and potentially helpful for clients and I AM suspicious that availability is related to both personality type and developmental stage (of course that is not research based). There are clients that I would never explicitly enter this domain with – because my assessment is that it would not be seen as concrete enough for them. For others I do enter this domain and it falls flat… this just happened this week. And for others – it opens extremely resourceful territory.

    Honestly, I do use some of the questions which feel frustrating to you, with explanation.. but only to selective clients in context. The one I might start with first could be around getting a sense of their awareness of how they use their body as a part of their conversations. It might sound like: “Explain to me what how you entered the room when you were anticipating this conflict? If I were watching, what would I see? Did you sense tension, rigidness? Are you able to sense how you might have felt to the client?”… or I might ask them to describe how another team member showed up and how they felt it impacted the other’s ability to listen or the openness that she felt was available to offer feedback.

    The more I learn of Dan Siegel’s work, interpersonal neurobiology, and the more I learn about later stages of development, I see more and more the potential to integrate other domains in my coaching… so I am in curiosity about all of this.

    Thank you each for responding….. here is a fascinating article to offer in closing: The Neurobiology of Grace Under Pressure.

    With care!


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