Insight Mind Body Talk

Ep 9: Bringing the Body into Therapy with Kate Lauth (Part I)

May 23, 2021 Jessica Warpula Schultz, LMFT Season 1 Episode 9
Insight Mind Body Talk
Ep 9: Bringing the Body into Therapy with Kate Lauth (Part I)
Show Notes Transcript

In a two part conversation, Jess and her guest, Kate Lauth, MSW, LCSW, talk about bringing the body into therapy. By using the body’s experience as the entry point to treatment, they bring insight and information about the sensorimotor processing system and trauma resolution. Listeners will learn about a body-centered model called sensorimotor psychotherapy and the key concepts SP uses to create holistic change.  Episodes 9 & 10 are a deep dive into the rich understanding offered to us through the wisdom of the body. 



Continue Learning 

 

 

 

Produced by Jessica Warpula Schultz 
Edited by Jessica Warpula Schultz

Music by Jason A. Schultz
Sound Clip Editing and Mixing provided by Jason A. Schultz
 

 

Bringing the Body into Therapy (Part I)

[00:00:00] welcome to Insight Mind Body Talk, a body-based mental health podcast. We're your hosts, Jessica Warpula Schultz and Jeanne Kolker. Whether you've tried everything to feel better and something is still missing or you've already discovered the wisdom of the body.  This podcast will encourage and support you in healing old wounds, strengthening relationships, and developing your inner potential- all by accessing the mind body connection.   

Please know, while we're excited to share and grow together. This podcast is not intended to be a substitute for mental health treatment. It doesn't replace the one-on-one relationship you have with a qualified healthcare professional and is not considered psychotherapy. 

Thanks Jess. And thank you for listening. Now, let's begin a conversation about what happens when we take an integrative approach to improving our wellbeing. Hi, welcome to Insight Mind Body Talk. My name is Jess and I'm your host today. We are talking about bringing the body into therapy. I'm here joined with Kate Lauth. She is a sensorimotor psychotherapist at Insight Counseling & Wellness. Hi, Kate. Glad you're here. Hi Jess. Thanks. Thanks for having me.

Definitely. I'm really excited to talk about the body and therapy and bring in some sensorimotor information for our listeners, because I know it's been a key model for both of us in the work we do. And I know we're both really fascinated just by the sensorimotor processing system. Yeah, we are. That was how we first connected when you came to insight was about both of our experiences with doing the level one training.

So I'm really excited to dive into that more with you today. Yay. Awesome. For those who don't know, sensorimotor psychotherapy is a body oriented talking therapy. It was developed by Dr. Pat [00:02:00] Ogden and  it's a blend of thought based approaches with physical interventions. I know Kate, we are going to share a little bit about how we found sensorimotor as well, and why we are passionate about it I found myself drawn to sensorimotor psychotherapy because of the way it helps explain how we can use the body as the entry point and healing, instead of just a person's thoughts or feelings back in the day, I was a personal trainer and I was also knew I wanted to be a therapist. So I was in grad school for being a marriage and family therapist. And I wanted to combine these two worlds because they're my own experience.

I noticed that as much as I was healing my psyche, there were aspects of my whole self that weren't being addressed. And most importantly, my body, and I thought that exercise and personal training and this sort of fitness industry would address those concerns. And in some way it did, I've talked about in previous episodes, how much weightlifting and cardiovascular work has changed.

My system's ability to respond to stress, to tolerate distress, to become stronger. There's a mindfulness quality to it. And yet it was sensorimotor that really at, in the end completed the picture for me and gave me a language and an understanding of how I can combine those worlds holistically in the work I do, because I was working with myself.

I was working with lots of people who are trying to make lifestyle changes or get stronger or recover from injury. And. Yet, [00:04:00] some of them, perhaps a large majority of them weren't feeling safe in their body, or they were feeling disconnected from their body. sensorimotor gives that foundation allowing me to help someone first know that they have a body then learn from their body and then feel safe in their body. And it's during that process that we use movement and nervous system regulation and nutrition and things like that to really treat the whole person. How did you find sensorimotor? How did it find you?

Yeah, so even before I went to grad school or had thoughts of becoming a therapist I heard about sensorimotor. I don't maybe 10 years ago when I started my own therapy and the therapist that I was working with at the time had trained in sensorimotor psychotherapy. And, at that point I had done some mindfulness and I had a yoga practice.

So I had an idea about the mind body connection, but yeah. Really experiencing as a client in therapy, how my emotional patterns, my beliefs, memories, all of that were held in my physical body. That was a totally new experience and really transformational for me. So yeah, it was, through being a client and through having those experiences that I had that desire to learn more and eventually went to grad school.

And then after grad school did the level one training because it was just such a powerful modality of healing for me personally. Wow.  That's amazing. That's really powerful. It was. Yeah. And it felt like magic almost as a client because I would come out of these therapy sessions and feel like.

[00:06:00] What just happened, you just experience, and I can't really put words to it, but something feels really different. Something shifted something reorganized. Yeah. I've seen that look in people's faces where it's almost indescribable, especially when there's sensorimotor may be combined with some inner child work as well.

And the understanding that sensorimotor and really just listening to the body, the wisdom of the body can give us. It just is that. Game changer. It really is a game changer, especially for us body centered practitioners. It's a wonderful, it is. Yeah. Yeah.  I was really open-minded to it and I would joke with friends at the time my therapist asks like, what color do I feel in my stomach?

And I said, blue, and it just made sense. And I felt this like overwhelming relief and they were like, huh. Okay. Yeah. That sounds really cool to be there you go. I promise. Yeah. Oh yeah, for sure. For sure. Yeah. One of the we may talk about it later, but Oregon is city, sensorimotor talks about organicity.

The principle of that there's wisdom that lives in us in our body and it can guide us. It can guide us in this healing process when we invite it in. And of course today isn't about people receiving sensorimotor psychotherapy through this conversation or feeling as though they can provide it for themselves.

But I do hope that listeners gain information on even how to begin to start to notice or involve the body in any moment. In our lives. And maybe tuning into what it can share and that it's possible that it is [00:08:00] sharing often. And maybe we're just not listening. Yeah. If we slow down and pay attention.

Yeah. Yeah. Exactly sensorimotor psychotherapy. You want to give a quick rundown, when did it start? Where did it come from?  in the seventies, , Dr. Pat Ogden, at that time, she wasn't a doctor, but she was working as a tech and a yoga and dance teacher in a psychiatric hospital.

And she became interested in this correlation between their clients, disconnection, from their bodies and  their physical patterns and disconnection from psychological issues. So she started to see that there was a relationship there,       this was way before the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder and Pat started seeing firsthand  and you can find this information on the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute website, but she started noticing in which many of the patients at the hospital bill were really at the mercy of reliving the past and that the past was alive in their bodies.

But the current treatment methods only seem to be triggering those reminders instead of helping heal and resolve that trauma that was within the body. So seeing that link between the body and people's mental health, she began to start forming the principles of sensorimotor psychotherapy by joining the somatic therapy, which means body somatic means body and psychotherapy into this method for healing, the disconnection between mind and body and started her own school.

After working with the Hakomi Institute with Dr. Ron Kurtz, she founded her own school again, sensorimotor psychotherapy Institute, where. Other therapists are trained on how to help  reintegrate the mind and body. We don't say integrate because it was once integrated. We were once whole in that capacity, it's just through life events and through trauma that there's a disconnection.

And so [00:10:00] how can we reintegrate that mind and body fascinating stuff.  Again, today's just us talking about why we love it, kind of stuff we use giving, sharing, spreading the word about this interesting model. But if you want to learn more, you should  Google Pat Ogden she's just a wonderful teacher. Yeah. She's really a master. 

Kate can you share with us a little bit about the foundational principles of sensorimotor so that our listeners have a better understanding of where we're coming from?

 There are four principles that are  the guiding values of sensorimotor psychotherapy.  Organicity, unity nonviolence and mind body spirit, whole ism Organicity which you mentioned earlier actually which is, honoring the intelligence and the wisdom of the body. It's trusting. But all humans tend towards growth and healing. Every person has the inherent capacity to grow and to change.

As a therapist, this means creating a condition, creating that safe relationship for clients to find their own answers, to trust that clients can guide their own healing process. Therapist is not the healer.  A lot of people who believe well, if I go to a therapist, they'll heal me or otherwise, why would I go?

But really the therapist job and in this regard at least is to create that context or that container in which the client right. Can trust and heal from within. Absolutely. Yeah. And that actually. Is a good segue into the next one of the principles which is unity. unity Acknowledges that we're all interconnected and we're all interdependent.

Valuing the collaboration, that collaborative therapeutic relationship  me as a therapist, you as a [00:12:00] client, there's no hierarchy there where we're humans that are relating. ]

  The next one is nonviolence. More broadly, that means the therapist has an attitude of non-judgment, that there's no criticizing or pathologizing or giving advice.

It means observing the client's experience with curiosity and compassion. The therapist is not pushing an agenda or challenging in a way that feels threatening to the client , which is a really good point. 

If things shift it's really the client's safe space to allow whatever unfolds in the session and for the therapist to hold that with compassion  from this lens of understanding and compassion and organicity, it's not coming at it through a critical lens  it's really understanding, the inherent wisdom or best intention of how the client is making choices or behaving or thinking and realizing, seeing how Every person has the inherent capacity to grow and to change.

definitely. That's absolutely true. And the last principle is the mind body spirit, whole ism,  that means acknowledging  the mind, body and spirit are constantly interacting and they all make up our experience as humans. So sensorimotor psychotherapy values, the body is the primary source of intelligence and information and change.

But all significant mental, emotional and spiritual experiences are  registered in the body  agreed. Jeannie. And I talked about that maybe even in our first or second episode, that traditional Western model of medical or managed care treatment is we treat the body here and we treat the mind over here, but where is [00:14:00] that whole self, whole person approach honoring how you can not have one without the other, and that they will show up together   

I want to share with our listeners of video of Dr. Pat Ogden, speaking to  does sensorimotor psychotherapy treat trauma, or does it treat attachment issues? And before we listen, I  want to explain a couple of  key words she's going to be using. So in therapy, when we talk about attachment, we're actually talking about a child using their primary caregiver as a secure base to explore the world,  when a child has an strong attachment, they have a safe Haven, a place that they can go to at any time.

And then when they feel ready, they go out into the world. Even if that means they toddle over to the bookshelf, right? And then maybe the dog walks by and spooks them and they come right back to mom. That's practicing secure attachment. I have the safe place to go to. So she'll talk about attachment issues or attachment disruptions in this video 

she also uses words like hyper arousal and hypo arousal, and hyper arousal means our body and your system are in high alert because of a trauma. Even if the danger is not present, the body responds or believes it is so hyper arousal can look more like anxiety, worry, flee, fight, this activated part of our system and hypo arousal is actually an under response.

Because of a threat or a danger, our system starts to immobilize freeze or shut down, maybe feelings of depression, feeling numb dissociated. That's a hypo aroused state. All right. So let's listen in. 

(Audio ciip: transcript unavailable) After hearing Dr. Ogden speak on trauma and attachment  Kate, I don't think we can talk [00:16:00] about bringing the body into the therapy room, unless we first discussed trauma . Not just thoughts and feelings, but within the body, within the whole system, 

I would explain trauma as an event or a series of events  it could be a real threat, like being an occurrence or it could be a perceived threat where someone is threatening you and you don't know if they have the ability to hurt you, but it feels like they do  you're sensing that threat is real. And it's overwhelming to your system, your body, your mind.

 And some response happens in an attempt to survive in an attempt to keep a person safe. Janina Fisher and other sensorimotor psychotherapy list says, we now understand that traumas imprint is both psychological and sematic long after the events are over the body continues to respond as if danger, wherever present.

 Yeah, trauma  shows up in the body. It shows up in our emotional state. It shows up in our cognitions or in our thoughts in the body, it can look like changes in your heart rate, changes in your breathing, changes in digestion, It can be. Chronic pain or tension from muscles tightening. It can be numbness. Long-term, it can have other impacts on the body. There can be nightmares or, real physical disorders that can result from these patterns over time, 

it's important to know that because it helps us address trauma and look at how can we help people be healthier, not just mentally, but physically, and to address.

. You use the word de pathologizing, which just, for anyone listening means helping us realize it's [00:18:00] not us like this. Isn't just, Oh, I'm anxious. I have anxiety. There's something wrong with me. It's no, these life events happened and now they're causing these symptoms.  Trauma survivors have symptoms, right? Yeah. Yeah. I've heard trauma symptoms described as a normal response to an abnormal event. Completely. And I think we'll get into that in a little bit, actually talking about how our brain responds and our body responds to trauma and that it's so natural.

All of these survival responses we have are because our brain and our body are taking care of us and so fast.  One thing I would add is  our body and our nervous system perceives threat before we can cognitively process it.

Our body is responding to the threat,  from that from the lizard brain, were not responding in choice.  I love yeah, Jeannie and I tackled it, but I really liked saying it in every episode in case this, if this is the only episode you've ever listened to, just so you know, these survivor responses, we do not choose for them to happen.

 

This isn't a conscious choice  fleeing, wanting to get out of a room. Why they walk out on me, even though I was talking to them, or why do they get so upset so fast? Or why am I getting so upset so fast? Or why do I seek reassurance from other people when I'm feeling overwhelmed? Sometimes we take these as character flaws, but  is not our choice and it's automatic, but mindfulness and watching and observing that gives us choice.

And then we can change how we respond. Yeah, exactly. Thank you for bringing that up, Kate.  

So let's start talking about the triune brain  how our brains get overwhelmed, how our brains even get hijacked by trauma.    [00:20:00] And brain is the frontal cortex  the mammalian brain  And the reptilian brain

 all humans  have the frontal cortex. the part of our brain, that's in charge of logic, reasoning language The midbrain is where the limbic system is located. That's our threat response system. I'll talk a little bit more about that. Second in sensorimotor, we also refer to it as the mammalian brain, because all mammals have this area of the brain.

It's where emotions lie and where attachment comes into play. And then the base of our brain, It's  brainstem and cerebellum the oldest response the most ancient area of our brains called the reptilian brain. Because reptiles.

Don't have attachment, they don't have emotions, they just have pure instinct. And that's really important to know as we talk more about this, but shifting back to the front of our brain, 

it's our cognitive processing system. What does that mean? Cognitions or thoughts? It's where we think it's where we have regulation. So we can't regulate ourselves unless we're in the front of our brain, unless the front of her brain is activated.   Why is mindfulness so important it brings us in the front of our brain, where we have regulatory abilities. We can process our thoughts. 

It's where the going on with everyday life self exists.

So when we experience a threat our brain shifts to the middle part of our brain, sends a signal to our thalamus, the part of the brain  in charge of all the sensory information  heart rate, breath, tension, our five senses. And then our thalamus sends a signal. And again, milliseconds, Mila of milliseconds, whenever a Mila millisecond is, I don't know, but it's fast.

It goes to our amygdala. A part of our brain that is  like the fire alarm in a way, going off saying danger, and it tells our nervous system to respond. We mobilize,  our brain tells our body to [00:22:00] flee. So maybe there's tension in our limbs tension in our legs. Our heart rate picks up our pupils dilate to see threat,   we flee or we fight, or we seek an attachment figure, which is called an attachment cry response. Or even we try to befriend the threat  I'm going to solve this problem by being super non-threatening and friendly. And then the threat will pass all mobilization strategies. Yet if the danger becomes a life threat.

Again Mila milliseconds, our brain decides, and our body decides if that strategy will work, it will go into the back of our brain, which is the reptilian brain and brainstem. That's where we have automatic instinctive responses where we either freeze or we shut down or dissociate.

 If we're triggered, the reptilian brain can take over, can bypass, it can shut down the front of your brain.

So often. When we're living in the middle of our brain or in the back of our brain, we have a hard time being mindful and feeling connected to our body. And part of the work we do as sensorimotor therapists is to help someone process the trauma through the body.

And if we can address the trauma that lives in the body we can get back to the front of the  brain, where we have regulation where we have regulatory abilities. We can process our thoughts. Emotions 

It's where the going on with everyday life self exists.   , I'm just thinking, oftentimes people who experienced trauma might not have a memory of the event because the prefrontal cortex shuts down.

And that's part of the survival response of getting through a traumatic moment often is your body responding in a way your  brain responding in a way that you don't remember the event because then your brain's effort to keep you safe is protecting you from [00:24:00] the overwhelm of that experience.

But I think that's a helpful explanation. Cause often people will say it's so weird that I don't remember, their memories, but parts that are just blank. And that's actually, that was, really adaptive and that was part of the survival response to,  make it through that traumatic event.

That's such a good point that the body, the body doesn't remember things chronologically.  when we're in the front of our brain, we make what's called explicit memory. Explicit memory is the memories we remember. It's like kindergarten and on, I can kind of remember my first day of kindergarten explicit memory.

Implicit Memory is stored in our body. That's the memory that's stored in the right side of our brain where it's body memories. There's no link. It's implicit. And that's okay. When we're in utero, when our nervous system and body are forming, they're organizing around the energy of our mothers and their nervous systems and their bodily responses.

And then as we're children and toddlers, just because they're not making Explicit memory, doesn't mean what's happening to them. Isn't shaping the adult. They're going to be  because the body remembers implicit. 

so if you experienced a trauma, when you were five, 1550, and it feels like you're reliving something in that present moment, you are it. You're not making, bring it up the body. Doesn't. No, you're not five or 15 or 50 anymore. It is activated in the now. 

 and you talked about this a little bit earlier about how we don't have choice in the survival response that's happening, but if we can bring mindfulness to our body, into our thoughts and our emotions, we can start to notice.

Okay. When [00:26:00] my mom wrinkles her face like that at me and my heart rate increases, let's pause and notice what's happening. And is there a way to get curious about that and respond to that? Okay, so I'm having a reaction right now and is this, is there a present moment, danger?

How do I ground myself in the present to bring the prefrontal cortex back online to assess, okay, no I'm safe right now. And how do I how do I want to respond to this moment and not let you know that hijacking happened, that triggered over and overwhelmed my system? Exactly. So that mindfulness, that awareness racing heart, Oh, I feel tension in my body.

Oh,  I kind of want to get up, but no, society says I should sit here and not get up and walk around. ] , I'm supposed to sit here politely and maintain eye contact and keep this conversation going. And yet if you listen to the system and it feels like it needs to get up in the body feels as though it may be, wants to walk around.

That's a potential moment where you can follow through on that survival response  and that's often how trauma gets truncated in the system is that when those survival responses that we have naturally are not allowed to be followed through on, in small ways and in very large, distinct ways, it can get stuck.

 Let's say the survival responses to flee.

What would happen if you got up and just walked around while you were talking, would that even be enough to engage the system to mindfully, allow the body to take the response it wanted to long time ago? Yeah. Yeah. 

So you talked about hijacking, let's go into [00:28:00] that a little bit and how being hijacked in our world means the reptilian brain took over real fast and flooded someone either with an emotion or thoughts, but  usually it's a body sensations, in order to understand what's happening  I'll break it down a little bit more.

We have, what's called top-down processing,  top down means you're working with first, the front of your brain, the frontal cortex, and then maybe some midbrain emotion and then processing the body's response. Working with cognitions, CBT is a very popular and well-respected, top-down processing technique where if there's a thought that's not helpful, you look at what triggers the thought and you look to challenge the thought and reframe it.

 Working to reframe those thoughts and hoping that this helps their psyche feel safe. So the thought  I'm all alone in the world. Okay. Let's notice what triggered that  when I asked my partner for support to take over a task this week, cause I'm feeling overwhelmed and they said they couldn't because they were too busy.

I felt I'm all alone in the world and top-down processing would start with  Can we look at that thought? Is that logical? Are you really alone in the world?  Okay. No, I'm not. I'm not alone in the world. I know. I'm loved.  Okay. Can we look at what triggered that thought?  Can we reframe, can we practice saying I'm not alone in the world? I know my partner loves me, but they just don't have time to take on that task. And  that's helpful to work on. But what it doesn't do is address doesn't acknowledge the body's response  A lot of traditional talk therapy does top down processing only. And the way we bring the body into the therapy room is sure we do top down processing.

Yeah, it makes sense. We use that when it's appropriate, but we also do, what's called Bottom up processing Bottom up processing acknowledges, [00:30:00] Hey, the body responds first to everything. Let's get real. It responds way faster than our thoughts due to any situation. There's a reason why we at the last second catch ourselves and don't trip over a box. That's randomly on the floor. The body already noticed it and then told your brain, Hey, look at that box right there, do something about it.

And then we responded, all automatic. So when we work with the lower levels of the brain, The base of the brain STEM, and then the mid brain and the limbic system and how these influence our emotions and cognitions. We can start to see how our physical behaviors and actions create the foundation of our mental actions.

So our body's experiences are shaping our emotions and thoughts.    bottom up is reptilian brain up through the limbic system and the emotional processing system to the front of our brain.

What do you think, Kate? This is a key concept and sensorimotor. Also one where our clients are sometimes like, Whoa well,  the go to your example from the top down processing. So say a client comes in and they're like, I feel totally overwhelmed and alone.

I asked my partner to help me out and they said, I can't, I'm too busy. I can't take on that task. How would you approach that from a bottom up perspective? Great question. So I'm going to close my eyes. You can't see me, but I'm closing my eyes. I think I'm closing my instinctually to see what my body would feel like in that moment.

More than likely I would pull it back even a few beats before that, if I'm asking for a request for help, I'm probably already feeling overwhelmed. Most likely. I'm probably already in the middle of my brain. Or even in the base of my brain, where [00:32:00] depending on what was happening, if I'm feeling overwhelmed, maybe I'm even teetering and freeze a little bit, or a little bit of sympathetic activation.

So perhaps my heart is racing and there's tension in my body, but I'm feeling stuck. I would just create awareness of how did I even feel before the request was made. And then what tone did I use in that request? Was I mindful in that moment or was I already overwhelmed? And I don't even quite recall how I said it or what I did, because if I'm not mindful, that means I'm not in the front of my brain and I'm not going to remember the event as well.

So maybe when my partner says, no, I can't this week, I'm really busy too. I'm sorry. I wasn't able to really read the sincerity in their voice. I wasn't able to look them in the eye and see that they're the care about me, but they just can't do it this time. And so I would explore how is my system reading their response?

Was there any past events, maybe they crinkled the brow the same way a parent did or something, or maybe they felt bad. So they looked away and  my system. Shifted let's say, based on their response, how did my system respond to their saying, I couldn't do it. Did it disconnect?

Did it have a different body response? I would just be curious what was being informed? How did I feel what sensations were present? And we would look at it through the five minutes leading up as much as we can remember during, and then how I felt afterwards. How did my body organize that experience afterwards?

And then how did my body influence my emotions? And then how did my body, my emotions influence my narrative and my story. Did I feel more shut down? Where did I have a fight response and say you never helped me and start a [00:34:00] fight. Maybe my system responded with fight. Maybe my system responded with, Oh, I really am all alone in the world. See there's proof and it shut down further and it disconnected and exploring then through my body, what happened? How did I make meaning of all of it? But I really worked to observe rather than interpret what was happening, just be curious. Yeah, no, that's a really good point. The I think we like to have a story about what's happening our mind likes to jump in and create the narrative or cling to a narrative about something. Oh yeah. But I

can read well, this is just this is just further proof that my partner doesn't care about me and I have really alone. So how do we set aside the narrative and observe  and be present with what's happening in the body and, allow for some exploration    yeah. What do you notice about your body as we're talking about that experience?

Thinking in my stomach. And is that familiar, right? It's such a key point. Yes. So I was in the past with working through that and you did exactly what a really good sensorimotor therapist would do is you said, how does your body right now? Feel, because we work with what's happening right now. Even if the event is in the past, because it's still lives in the body right now.

And that's where we can mindfully work with it and change it. Cause it is amazing. Even if you're talking about a past event, the sensation is always present. Even if you're recalling something that happened last week, if you're telling the story, your body is experiencing it in a way as [00:36:00] present.

And so you can still tap into that experience, even if the narrative is in the past. Exactly. Which is also really helpful for when trauma survivors don't have memory. So I don't recall what happened. I'm just living with these. Symptoms of hyper arousal or hypo arousal of anxiety or depression. And they come out of nowhere or it's chronic.

And I don't know why well, you know what? You don't have to know why, let's just work with what is here. We don't have to rehash the past. And while that can be really helpful for some who perhaps need a safe container to tell their story safely for the first time or to work with their body and the story safely, that's not necessarily how we need to pursue every moment in therapy with the body. We can, as we just talked about, we can mindfully process bottom up in therapy. We can mindfully process bottom up on our own in our own time, but when we feel triggered. Or as we've called it hijacked, that's when it automatically happens to us.

 When it just happens without our permission and we're flooded 

 I think I've told you this before. I had a hijack experience. When I was, co-facilitating a conference I was in the middle of, I was in my professional self and feeling good. I'm happy with the day.  And I started walking down the steps and suddenly I was brought to tears and my body just needed to go cry because a smell hit me and I walked behind see it's even alive in my body right now. Like I can feel my throat changing. I can feel my face, get flushed. I'm very tingly in my legs.

And if you, yeah. And [00:38:00] this smell just like my husband's grandfather hit me and we had lost him within that year. . He's really special to all of us for so many reasons. It must have been someone I was walking by. Right. And it smelled just like pop-up and it knocked into me. And my whole system got hijacked and I left the moment and I pulled myself over around the corner and  let myself be with it and cry and feel it because there's all sorts of emotions, some good, cause it's almost like you were with someone you've lost and yet there's grief as well.

And let it run through my system. And, having that understanding of what was happening was really helpful versus being really confused and perhaps even  overwhelmed by it. So that's an example of when our brain and our body take over without us even understanding what's going on.  our frontal cortex gets shut down when we get hijacked I just want to say that I love that you shared that story, the personal story, and thank you for sharing that. Cause I think that's such a beautiful example of how psychoeducation, how educating ourselves about what's happening allows for some relief, right? It's okay, what's happening right now.

I don't need to be scared or, avoidant of what's going on. I can allow this to happen. And and that you gave yourself the space to do that. That you can, you didn't just say I'm at a conference and I'm in professional mode and I can't cry. I need to keep going and push through this.

But you really gave her a moment to be present with that experience. And my guess is then it moved through you. Right? You allowed that to be processed and you felt those feelings and then you went on. Yeah. Yeah. I think that, yeah, it's just, it [00:40:00] really highlights how, if we are mindful of our experience and we can slow down, it allows us to fully process, and a lot of times we're going through our day and it's Oh, there's some feeling there, Oh, I don't have time. I need to respond to this email or I need to get to this meeting or pick up my kids or whatever, there's a sense of urgency that we don't have time, the time to pay attention to that.

But what you're saying is really, it took a few minutes to pause and to allow yours to cry. And,

I was still pretty mindful, when we're truly hijacked or triggered the front of our brain gets shut down. Why to preserve energy for survival. And that's why, when people say, I know I'm supposed to breathe deep, but I don't remember to do it when I'm overwhelmed. I know I should meditate, but meditating is not going to work.

Why don't all these  front brain based strategies work when I'm triggered well, because you don't have access to your front of your brain at that moment. So what can you do for your body first? How can we connect to the body? 

What we want to do for example is just observe, like you're talking about with curiosity in therapy, we learn new actions, new resources, new ways to regulate so that when we are overwhelmed in those moments, we have something to go to that helps us get back to the front of the brain, and that's a lot of the work I do in sensorimotor psychotherapy with my clients is building enough resources. So that we can even get to the front of our brain where those cognitive interventions work.

 And that's the goal for everyone. Anytime we do that kind of work from small moments, small events in our lives to  traumatic experiences or chronic or complex trauma. That's the goal is to help the body, heart, soul figure out a new way of being.

 All [00:42:00] right. Kate and I are going to pause here. We're thankful to be sharing this information with our listeners and we're excited to have you join us again next week, where we continue our conversation about bringing the body into therapy. 

I have really enjoyed having you here today, and I can't think of anyone better to help share this information with our listeners thank you, Jess. I always learned something in our conversations, so I really appreciate taking the time to do this.

Thank you again for joining us on Insight Mind Body Talk, a body-centered mental health podcast. We hope today's episode was empowering and supported you in strengthening your mind-body connection.

We're your hosts, Jeanne and Jess. Please join us again next week as we continue to explore integrative approaches to wellbeing. Until then, take care.