Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Simple Touch - Less Is More

In the Trager(TM) Approach, less is more. While this may sound too simple, it is at the heart of this bodywork. I remember one experience while in some training to learn the Trager Approach.

During this training week, my body was at a point where it did not want to be touched, moved, or rocked in any way. There are times when my body is this way and to attempt these things is only going to irritate it. In fact, often it drives my body further toward defiance, rather then acceptance.

Without me knowing what was going on, the instructor told the other student working on me, to just put their hands on me and not move. They were just to think about moving.

When I got off the table, I thought the student had been gently moving my legs the entire time. I was very surprised when I found out what the instructor had asked this person to do with me. While no movement had taken place, it felt like I was held and moved the entire time in a very supportive way.

Now, here's the important part. With my body feeling like it could completely trust the hands of another person, and my body was met where it needed to be, I was able to let go. My body could just sink into the feeling of the moment, instead of being in a state of anxiety and fear. For me and any person that has been through trauma, this is very important.

Traumatized people do not give up control very easily and when they do, it needs to be in the hands of someone that is safe, gentle, and supportive. It needs to be with the therapist truly meeting the client where they are in that moment and not just attempting to do this. A traumatized person may not feel a great deal but they will instantly feel what is not safe to them. What you may be doing with them is safe to you but it can be a completely different scenario in the client's mind.

The next time you encounter someone that is struggling to let go or to do something you are trying to work with them on, try the "less is more" approach. When we do less and we meet someone in their moment, we will have done far more than we can imagine.

Further Reading:
1) A Trager Moment (Blog Post Feb 9, 2009)
2) What Is A Trager Session (Video in a Blog Post Oct 30, 2009)

Blog Post & Images (c) 8/14/11 Don Shetterly - use by permission only

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