What to Do When Your Client is In A Weird, Hard-to-Understand Contraction Pattern

Here's a little quickie:

From time to time, we Hanna somatic educators get a client whose pattern of tension is so unusual that we have a hard time knowing where to start. This entry cuts to the bone, and quickly.

Although Trauma Reflex has a universal core pattern, all injuries are idiosyncratic -- meaning odd and unusual, unique.  They always come from some direction other than from straight ahead or straight behind and always involve postural and movement asymmetries.

The universal core pattern of Trauma Reflex involves pulling the injured part toward the somatic center (hara, dan tien, core, etc.).  Tightness always appears more on one side, usually the injured side, than the other (though not always); there's always a twist along the vertical/longitudinal line of the person.  One hip is pulled up and its shoulder, pulled down (usually, but not always).

That universal pattern is what the Trauma Reflex lesson/session addresses:  freeing the retraction toward center and undoing side-tilt and the twist.

The idiosyncratic part has to do with the injured part, itself.  Hurt ribs involve clamping the arm down against the hurt side. A whiplash injury involves raised shoulders. The standard Trauma Reflex lesson is inadequate to deal with either, and other idiosyncratic patterns because the involved regions are outside the movement patterns employed in the Trauma Reflex lesson.

So, we may feel, "What do I do with that?"

It's a two part answer -- and simple.

"A good man, before he can help a bad man, first finds in himself the matter with the bad man."
~~ Lao Tzu, The Tao Teh Ching
Witter Bynner translation

Here are the two parts:
  1. Use yourself as the guinea-pig to understand your client's predicament.
    Replicate your client's pattern in yourself.  Assume his or her shape and movement pattern. Feel it and understand from the inside, out.
  2. Whatever the client is doing "wrong" (i.e., contracting in Trauma Reflex) have him or her do it MORE, and then, LESS.  Those are his or her needed pandiculation patterns.
That's it.

Completing Recovery from an Injury
Somatic Education Programs for Hard-to-Relieve Conditions

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