Trauma is often misunderstood by both clients and professionals. Clients experiencing trauma or symptoms of PTSD, often don’t know what exactly is going on for them and all parties agree that application of more holistic, integrative and innovative treatments and improvements in service availability are needed.
Change in Action Experiential Group and Mindful Practice in Recovery (MPR) Group aim to provide a platform for a more, comprehensive approach to include prevention, earlier recognition of the acute and lingering effects of trauma as well as tools and self-regulation ideas for stepping forward into trauma resolution.
Experiential Group Therapy - Change in Action - A 6 Week Rotating Themed Group
The Experiential group will rotate over a six week cycle, moving through the following positive and negative themes: Anger, Joy, Shame, Excitement, Depression, Love.
Change in action is a dramatic enactment of real or imagined life situations or conflicts that are unresolved or out of balance. Through warm-up exercises the group chooses a central player or “protagonist” whose issues best represent the central concerns of the group. Facilitated by a director, an experience unfolds as if the group were in a rehearsal exploring different ways of staging an event concerning the protagonist’s issue.
Through their active collaboration and playing of roles (e.g. relative, employer, lover, etc.), all participants experience an immediate and vivid connection to the dynamic of the drama. As such, participants are co-creators in the dramatic process, integrating their intuition, emotion, thoughtfulness, and physical action through their roles. At the close of the drama, the group reassembles to process their experiences in the roles, as well as the meaning the drama may have held for them.
Experiential group therapy is a powerful and highly evocative method that relies strongly on the clear focus and support of each participant.
New groups coming Autumn 2018
Healing The Defecits
As well as dealing with particular negative memories that have led to PTSD we need to address what is known as Developmental Trauma Disorder (Van Der Kolk 2005). Those suffering from DTD are not just struggling with particular memories but the pervasive impact of having both their perceptions of life and their concepts of self changed, often during their adolescence or childhoods.
Problems with DTD compared to PTSD are:
Attention - being able to focus in on something and to engage with something in a very steady, consistent way. They get thrown off focusing or sticking with something, concentrating and filtering out irrelevances.
Affect Regulation - we have our emotions in order to tell us what to do or where to go, to organize our bodies and minds to the realities around us. Traumatized people's emotions become too large or too quiet and they become stuck or hijacked by the trigger, unable to let go. They try to deal with the hijacking by trying to calm themselves down in any way they can (substance abuse, self harm, eating disorders etc). They are chronic adaptations to this affect regulation problem.
Relationships - perceptions of the world and people are distorted (I will be hurt, not safe, helpless etc) so you position yourself in the world as someone who is going to always protect yourself, or be aggressive, arrogant or distant or dependent on compliance/people pleasing because if you stick up for yourself, terrible things will happen to you.
DTD concerns the formation of the self, the brain, the mind and the body. The Resurface programme will introduce clients to ways of repairing these damaged parts of the psyche through experiential group therapy.
Experiential groups offer clients a way to challenge and change their self-defeating scripts and to reprogram old behaviours/responses through the creation of new experiences. They create an opportunity for clients to do or say in the here and now what they maybe could not say in the past (when it was perhaps too threatening or dangerous). Experiential groups encourage an internal issue to surface, to be reconstructed and to be replayed in the present moment, allowing a release of long-held emotions on both a psychic and a somatic level.
It is through direct experience that we come to know ourselves. It is through full engagement in life that all our senses, feelings and thoughts come in to play.