Friday, July 17, 2009

Research as Friend and Foe

Hello Friends:

So I wasn't exactly truthful in my previous post
Is it Safe to Come Out Yet? when I said I'd tried the somatic-energy therapy without doing any research ahead of time. I always do research. About everything. I get the vaguest interest in any new topic and then I'm on the internet for three solid days and I've ordered eight books from Barnes and Noble. Those get read in two nights. Being trained as a researcher has its up and down side ...

So in my post, when I said I hadn't done research, what I meant was I hadn't done so much research that I looked like the image above. My usual. I had, in fact, looked at two or three websites just to convince myself I wasn't headed into something without experimental basis. Or into one of those things that has a trademark symbol after it, and was developed by a single person and now evangelized by their personality cultists.

One if the sites I found was at - Body-Mind Mental Health Therapies - which has some definitions of several kinds of related therapies. One of the reasons it's hard to describe exactly the therapy I'm getting is that it seems to overlap a few categories. But it definitely includes aspects of energy manipulation, touch, and talk. It is centered on the idea that the body 'remembers' trauma, and can be both a part of the problem of PTSD and the solution.

I'm pretty much convinced that I have stored 'memories' in places in my body. Kind of like how you never forget how to ride a bicycle because your body remembers how to do it for you. Or also how I can pick up drumsticks after years of not playing the drums and still keep a reasonable beat. I don't know why or how the body might store trauma, really, but I, at least, am finding some use in paying more attention to my body and how sensations and tensions relate to my emotions. And then how those emotions relate to memories.

The trick in my case is trying to sort of bypass my overly analytical brain. Again, all that training to do research, find trends, and explain things in a coherent manner is both useful and a barrier. Some of the things I'm experiencing in therapy don't make easy sense. There does not always have to be a reason (or at least a reason I'll ever know) for how a certain touch makes me feel. Why would I get a sudden shiver of deep fear when someone holds my head? Why would I feel sad if someone touches my neck? Why would I get angry if someone touches my hip? Instead, I have to learn to accept the emotions and sensations as they are. To acknowledge them and let them move wherever and however it is they 'want' to do that.

I'm not sure yet how this might really play into all the other types of therapy I'm doing, but I'm hoping they can feed off of one another. For the first time in many years I'm feeling like things are moving inside. The 'stuck' is getting more unstuck. And I will also say that the somatic-energy therapy is exciting, even fun, if you don't mind that your fun can be scary, painful, and frustrating. It really is exciting to find so many new things inside yourself. I thought I knew me so well, but I have tons of things to tell me, to show me, that I never knew.

It's research, and I'm the experiment. I really, really wish there was a book on this one.

Your Hostess With Neuroses

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