Accessing the Optimal Future Self: A Somatically-Based Resource
A Day-Long Workshop with Nancy Napier
2018 Psychotherapy Networker Symposium
March 24, 2018
For Information and Registration, please go to: https://www.psychnetworker.org/2018/410-510-accessing-the-optimal-future-self/
We’ve all internalized rules growing up that defined who and what we could be. Attempts to break these rules can elicit powerful physical and psychological survival responses that stop us in our tracks and block our potential. But by tapping into our optimal future self—a wiser, more evolved aspect of who we are—we can access a variety of new experiences. The optimal future self can lead to new body states and perceptions, heal shame and trauma-based responses, and mobilize internal resources. In this workshop, you’ll explore how to:
• Use hypnosis, guided imagery, and felt-sense to help clients identify new opportunities, and enhance self-compassion
• Reframe limiting beliefs that block clients on their optimal journey
• Take risks such as breaking family rules that have felt too dangerous to attempt
• Fully harness the power of positive states like expansiveness, receptivity, curiosity, and strength in the change process
The Optimal Future Self: Overcoming Blocks, Accessing Possibilities
A 5-day workshop with Nancy Napier at the Cape Cod Institute, July 9 – 13, 2018
Registration and Additional information: http://www.cape.org/2018/nancy_napier.html
Working with clients, we encounter many early rules that told us who and what it was possible for us to be. These survival rules came from family, religion, and peer groups. They constituted rules of attachment and continued connection, rules of how to be acceptable to caregivers, how to belong. In a deeply embodied and unconscious sense of the consequences of breaking these rules, clients spontaneously hold themselves back from more fully inhabiting who they could more authentically be.
Often, attempts to break these early rules elicit powerful survival responses that may stop or block clients from fully inhabiting their potential. One way to address these blocks is to orient to the optimal future self (OFS). In this work, clients access the body state of the OFS, allowing the present-day body to experience directly the felt-sense of the OFS. One of the key questions we ask clients is: how does the optimal future self inhabit his or her body in ways that are different from present-day experience? Then, we allow time for the present-day body-mind to learn these new body states. This work offers a “dress rehearsal” of new body states, perspectives, and responses.
Because the OFS represents a new body-mind state, the process asks clients to let go of actively preconceiving or imagining a future, or attempting to predict what these new opportunities may entail. What the body learns the psyche tends to follow, so we emphasize the direct, embodied experience of the OFS in order to allow the present-day body to actively learn from this wiser, more mature self.
Drawing on principles from Ericksonian hypnosis, Somatic Experiencing(TM), and parts work, among other approaches, we will explore both the direct experience of the optimal future self and how to use it clinically. As with so many approaches that deal with direct experience, the more clinicians have an intimate relationship with this approach, the more we can hold a resilient and reliable container for clients’ experiences.
Workshops for Professionals in New York City with Nancy Napier
For information on workshops in New York City, please contact Sharon Kleinberg at email@example.com.
These workshops are for health and education professionals: psychotherapists, body workers, coaches, medical practitioners, ministers, pastoral counselors, and others who support clients’ health and well-being. A background in body-based approaches, or what is currently called “bottom up” treatment, is helpful.
Currently, we offer continuing education credits for New York State Licensed Social Workers.
Here are some of the offerings scheduled for 2018:
January 26, 2018: Consult and Demo day on working with parts, the optimal future self, and coupling dynamics
During this consult/demo day, we’ll focus on your specific case questions and technical aspects of working with the optimal future self, parts, and coupling dynamics. There will also be live demos, depending on interest and the presence of volunteers.
February 23, 2018: Day-long Workshop on Working with Shock Trauma
Clinicians are all aware of those times in the course of psychotherapy where a client’s process seems to become blocked by, or stuck in, a particular place. Sometimes, this “place” becomes the stopping point no matter what interventions may be used and no matter how earnestly the client wishes to change. Two dynamics that may block trauma resolution and healing through psychotherapy are the presence of shock trauma and habituated responses.
Shock trauma reflects a powerful “snapshot” present in the nervous system that becomes a constant reference point for a client’s unfolding experience. Whenever an element of experience resonates with the traumatic moment that has been frozen in time, the client re-experiences the traumatic qualities of the original shock. Working through the nervous system and with imaginal processes, clients are invited to rework the original shock to allow it to become part of memory rather than a present-day source of threat.
As part of the process, we’ll touch on the dynamics inherent in habituated responses, where clients automatically return to what is familiar in order to unconsciously move away from what are challenging or previously-overwhelming experiences. Work with shock trauma generally falls into these categories, so it helps to be able to identify and interrupt these spontaneous self-protective responses. For example, when a client spontaneously shifts away from a painful memory into cognitive activity or a client shifts into associated ideas or recollections when beginning to feel into a traumatic experience. This return to habituated responses block new experience and new learning. We’ll look at the collaborative process that can evolve between therapist and client where these habituated responses are interrupted on the spot. When therapists are able to track habituated responses, blocking them allows what was unmanageable in the shock trauma experience to begin to emerge, reorganize, and shift.
This workshop will offer didactic material, along with live demos.
For this workshop, we have applied for Pennsylvania continuing education credits, as well as the New York State CE credits for Social Workers. The Pennsylvania application is still pending.
March 16, 2018: Consult and demo day on working with shock trauma
During this consult/demo day, we’ll focus on specific case examples to explore the technical elements of working with shock trauma. There will be time for both case descriptions and Q and A time focused on the issues raised in the consults. There will also be live demos, as time and interest allow.
March 17, 2018: Day-long Workshop:
When Spirituality Enters: Including Spiritual Process in Psychotherapy
Back in the ‘80’s, when I began to offer workshops through the New York Open Center, a pattern emerged that touched me then and that I’ve never forgotten. Because I taught workshops that often centered on people’s spiritual process as part of their psychological healing, I began to get calls from potential clients from a wide range of professions. What touched me deeply was how many of these people found themselves crying when they realized that their spiritual experience wasn’t being pathologized or “psychologized”. They expressed surprised relief in being able to openly talk about their deepest and most sacred beliefs and discoveries. without being diagnosed as having mental illness.
In this workshop, we will explore how to hold space for people’s spiritual experience, regardless of their religion, belief system, spiritual practice, or approach. Through an Ericksonian-oriented approach to language, as well as a permissive and individualized stance of adapting to clients’ unique beliefs and experiences, we’ll explore how to honor spiritual realities that may be unfamiliar to you. We’ll also look at therapist’s countertransference responses to spiritual perspectives on reality that may be at odds with your own world view and yet may be commonplace in other cultures. For those who do couples’ or family therapy, it is often also important to invite clients to explore their relationship with God or with whatever other spiritual being they may have an intimate and ongoing relationship. It’s not unusual, when terrible things happen, for some clients to become angry with God and feel alienated from what, before, had been a deep source of connection and nourishment. Repair in the spiritual realm is as important as it is in any relationship, so we’ll discuss how to engage this kind of therapy exploration. We’ll also look at the often very real possibility that what a client experiences as spiritual may well be wishful thinking, misperception, unconsciously manufactured experience, or a personalizing of universal experience. There are many pitfalls on the spiritual path, and one of our challenges is to find a gentle and compassionate way to help clients find their way out of potentially damaging grandiosity, misinterpretation of subtle or multidimensional experiences, or acting on misperceived information.
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