My approach is regulating the nervous system with people using touch, presence, and verbal skills, then addressing the more difficult parts, touching into the pain briefly, then coming back to a place of resource. This person needed tissue mobilization. Her muscles where hypertonic, or really tight. I oriented her toward positive states as I worked on her hurting body using massage. I asked, "How do you most like to feel? Tell me about a time when you felt that way." I usually apply what I call the Principle of Three, that is, asking her for three specific experiences where she felt most like how she wants to feel. She told me stories of hiking in the natural world, of being surrounded by field of flowers, and about other things that happened on some of her travels. As she talked, I slowed her down and asked her to notice her body. Gradually, a pleasant state of warmth and flow arrived in her back, arms and legs.
When we got to her chest there was a distinct difference between the left and right sides. The left side, the side of her heart, felt frozen. The tissue was cool to the touch and very hard; it hurt to have it worked on. The right side was normal, warm and yielded to my touch. As I worked on her tissue, I had the left and right sides of her body talk to each other. The left spoke about the pain of the heart break, the right side spoke about self care and compassion. I had the client feel her body after each pass of the conversation. It was beautiful, intimate and authentic.
I recently read a presentation about holding space by therapist Jodi Hall. All that was truly needed was presence and the capacity to help someone feel safe in their body. This is Jodi's list regarding holding space:
1. Holding space is not prescriptive
2. Sit in uncertainty
3. There are no spaces that can be absolutely safe, but they can be safer
4. Shine the light
5. Become curious
6. Practice unknowing
8. Nurture self-compassion
8. Show up
9. Maintain Boundaries
10. Decompress, de-brief, empty the container
I felt my client gently decompress her hurt as I helped her feel better with my hands, attention, tempo and the many years of training helping people recover their lives from stress and trauma. Please come and get relief from what ails you.