ERP 270: How To Resolve Relational Trauma in The Body Through Dance & Movement – An Interview with Orit Krug

By Posted in - Podcast June 1st, 2021 0 Comments

People who live with relational trauma develop hypersensitive nervous systems as a survival instinct. Orit Krug, an award-winning Board-Certified Dance and Movement Therapist, explains that this results in a disconnect between what the mind wants and the body feels, hindering us from experiencing true intimacy in loving relationships.

Certain movements represent certain behaviors and desired ones can be triggered through dance and movement. As trauma is also expressed in physical posturing and habits, dance therapy can rewire new patterns of behavior through body movement and desire for a healthy and loving space.

Orit has over a decade of experience helping women heal from past trauma and enjoy healthy lifelong relationships with their partners. Orit founded the “Mind Your Body” podcast and has been featured in Elephant Journal, ThriveGlobal, Authority Magazine, as well as quoted in SELF & INSIDER.

In this Episode 

  • 01:52 Relationships are mirrors that reveal wounded aspects of ourselves. Addressing these ignored areas allows us to become better equipped in navigating long-term relational intimacy.
  • 04:10 Introduction to Orit Krug: Her history of trauma and expertise in dance and movement therapy.
  • 09:13 Trauma gets trapped in the nervous system and causes us to become hyper vigilant. Survival responses are designed to keep us safe and cannot be changed by simply adopting mindsets.
  • 13:40 People living with trauma attract negative relationships that sabotage intimacy and pleasure because of its familiarity.
  • 16:32 Recognize avoidant and numbing behavior patterns in intimate relationships that cause disconnects between mind and body. Getting triggered by these automatic reactions clouds our access to our higher brains and prevents sexual intimacy.
  • 21:39 As memories of trauma are stored in our bodies as different sensations, dance and movement therapy provide a safe space to tune in again. This therapy also helps expand our window of tolerance for being vulnerable in a relationship.
  • 29:44 Different movements represent different behaviors. How we hold our body is a habitual and physiological manifestation that prevents us from becoming the best versions of ourselves.
  • 35:36 How dance therapy works: Revealing behavioral patterns in your relationship and feeling a space between your instinctive reactions and actual responses to heal from years of trauma
  • 46:06 Information on Orit’s free programs and Facebook group

Your Check List of Actions to Take

  • Trauma shuts off our higher functioning brains and lets fear take over. Use dance and movement to teach your body how to reconnect, feel vulnerable, and move through the fear.
  • Start small. Getting into new habituated movements requires the rewiring of the automatic responses of the nervous system first.
  • Expanding our window of tolerance is integral to stop the automatic response of disconnecting from the body and relationship because of feelings of vulnerability.
  • Dance and movement teach your body to be more open so that it becomes in line with your mind’s desire to be more open as well.
  • Notice what sensations are coming up in you during emotional moments.
  • Overanalyzing and over-researching are common ways to disconnect from the body. Awareness is beneficial in the journey to healing but obsessing over it in our mind affects intimacy.

Mentioned

The Wired for Love Website

The Lasting Love Movement Group

Orit Krug’s Let Love In Program

Connect with Dr. Jessica Higgins

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LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/drjessicahiggins 

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Email: [email protected]

About Today’s Show

Thank you for joining us today. I’m so grateful to shine some light on this topic. It’s so important.

Thank you so much for having me here. I’m really excited to share it with you all.

I don’t know if everybody knows this about me, but I have a strong affinity for the somatic work and the body cantered movement. I have a dear friend who I’ve known most of my life, and she’s done most of her work in the way of dance. I so love that work and the dance therapy and the movement therapy. We’re going to be looking at using the body, particularly dance as a form of movement and healing and therapy to work with trauma and how it impacts relationship. Is that right?

Yeah. Yeah. That the primary way is through healing and accessing the nervous system and the body through dance and movement to reach the trauma and release it from the body.

Wonderful. Well, for people that are just getting to know you, I’m curious if you’d be willing to share a little bit about what got you into this work and where you’re coming from with this topic.

Yeah. I’ll just kind of start out from what I’m doing specifically today, and then share how I got there. Today, currently, I am helping women who have experienced trauma in the past. They’re really feeling trapped inside their bodies with that old trauma. And even after trying a lot of different kinds of healing modalities, it still feels stuck in there. I help them release that trauma through dance and movement so that they can really enjoy their relationships instead of sabotaging them.

The reason why this is my very specific focus now is because I also have a personal story where I experienced many years of childhood trauma. My relationships, even beyond my childhood and more into romantic relationships, were unhealthy. They were toxic. All the men that I had ever known or dated were very aggressive, very unpredictable, very temperamental.

I met my now husband in 2013. He was very gentle and just attentive and loving in a whole mind-blowingly new way, because I had never been in relationship with anyone like that. And so, my trauma just kept saying, “Just wait until he hurts you. He is calm now but he’s lying to you about things. He doesn’t really love you.”

“I just struggled with these thoughts and beliefs, even though none of it was based on reality. That was all my trauma talking. I was so afraid of him becoming abusive to me that there were ways that I was actually abusive to him.”

I was really passive aggressive. I definitely stonewalled him when I was disappointed by the littlest things. I did push him away. We did break up for a short amount of time.

That was around the same time I graduated with my master’s degree in dance therapy, and had already been in talk therapy for several years. I decided to enrol in a dance therapy program for myself as the client. And so, that really turned everything around for me. All the things that I had gained awareness and intellectual understanding about my trauma and how it was impacting my relationship with my husband, Aaron.

Today, I finally felt the shift in my body. I had struggled for so long knowing what I needed to do differently. But it wasn’t until I did dance therapy that everything I knew in my mind integrated with my body, which allowed me to follow through with the right behaviours. Like being more open, being more compassionate, just letting my guard down and really letting him in.

I know so many people struggle and have felt even this tension internally around really feeling like you’re saying, of what I should be doing or the right thing as far as correct relational behaviours, and yet having this conflict with my body feeling tight or constricted. I think as you would probably say too that so many of us think that we can just mentally get ourselves there, or we can will ourselves there, overpower that. We cannot override the nervous system. Would you agree?

Oh, yes. Yes, that is exactly what I preach about probably daily that we can’t will, we can’t mindset, we can’t fake it. The reactions that we have are so automatic. I mean, they’re designed to keep us alive and safe.

“When we’ve experienced trauma, our nervous systems are just so hypervigilant to see danger signs or red signals where there really aren’t any. Our nervous systems reacts so impulsively and so quickly that we wouldn’t even have time to tell ourselves a different story. We’ll just go straight into a survival response.”

No kidding. And as you’re sharing really openly, and I appreciate that, that when we’ve known trauma and we’ve known relationship in a certain way, that evidence is really hard to just counteract. Even if you’re getting the positive information that this is different. Right? It’s building that trust. Like, if we look at however many years we’ve known and experienced relationship in a certain way. And I wonder for you on a side note, do you feel that that trauma and being potentially attracted or even engaging in relationship where men were aggressive, that there’s some familiarity there and that kind of just unconsciously feels right because it’s what we’ve known?

Oh, yeah. I mean, it’s unconsciously and it’s also a matter of the way our nervous system has adapted in relationships. For me and for so many of my clients, and I also have a large online community, it’s like, they’re always talking about how it doesn’t feel safe to be in this healthy, loving relationship. I experienced that too, because my nervous system was adapted to a lot of negative stimulation, a lot of danger, a lot of just always basically walking on eggshells.

“When our nervous system is adapted to that trauma and drama, it feels weird and unfamiliar without it. There was definitely a part of me seeking that for many years, because it was familiar and comfortable.”

And the opposite, like, again, when I met my partner was very uncomfortable. It was just, again, waiting to see when he would actually become a monster.

My body was constantly experiencing this anxiety, sometimes crippling anxiety. It’s like my body was speaking to me and saying, “Look out. Just be on guard.” Like having your antennas up and seeing all the little signs. I made up so many signs that he wasn’t good for me or that he was going to abandon me.

If he was a few minutes late, let’s say, that was like, “Oh, there we go. That’s a sign. That’s proof. He’s going to abandon me. He’s not going to come back.” Just a lot of very little things like that that felt like huge betrayals that was really just mirroring my unresolved trauma.

No kidding. And you had mentioned a bit ago just how it’s really easy to sabotage potentially what could be a healthy dynamic because of the trauma. As you’re saying right now, all the cues and how our nervous system is experiencing that. I’m curious just if we can slow down for a minute. Do you feel like there was a level of work that you had done to support you attracting your husband? I mean, I know you were dating for this period of time. Or some awakening to what you didn’t want and really giving yourself some clarity around what you did want.

Yeah. Well, I was single in New York City for about five years. I was dating a lot. I went on a lot of dates that aren’t really worth mentioning. They taught me a lot about what I wanted, what I didn’t want.

At the time, I was in my talk therapy then. I did realize through my therapy that I was attracting emotionally unavailable men. Specifically, men who would not commit to me. I was just like, “Come on! Be with me. I want to be in a relationship.” Well, it wasn’t really a relationship but man after man. Like, “No one wanted to be with me.” And that was my story.

And then, I had this huge realization that I’m the one who’s scared of commitment. I’m the one who grew up with parents and a dysfunctional marriage and all the things that happened through my childhood trauma. I was afraid of love. I had this idea that love is unhealthy, and abusive, and just nothing that I really wanted. So, that was huge. And once I realised that, I think that did lead me to meet my partner, Aaron, because I could separate that.

So yeah, I definitely made a huge breakthrough there. And then, when I started dating him, I was like, “Okay, great. I know my trauma. I know why I’m doing these things. And that’s when I did the dance therapy program to shift my physical behaviours so that everything, my body, my mind, my soul would just be on board with letting in his love.

Yeah. I am such a fan of relationship showing and offering a mirror if we so choose to see it or kind of use that information for our growth. And it sounds like you really were already in that mindset of looking at what’s coming up for me and being able to work with that and being able to use a modality that really assisted in the trauma work, because I do believe like EMDR, and there is a physiological element of the trauma healing that needs to be somatic. I love what you’re going to be sharing with us a little bit more today.

I also want to kind of weave in if you work with people who are in long term relationships and recognize some level of somatic holding numbness. How can you help people recognize where they might see this in a marriage or long-term partnership?

Yeah, that’s a great question. There are a few different kinds of levels, I guess, I would say is that there’s one kind of level where you just know, you just feel that there’s something stuck inside, or you just feel so imprisoned in your body individually. It’s not necessarily about the relationship. You feel you’ve tried all these different kinds of things and the things we were mentioning before and the mindset, and trying to will or trying to do affirmations of self-love. It’s like, you hear the words like a broken record but nothing is resonating or integrating with your body.

You see that in a relationship by having all this awareness or having even something like a script, you know. This is something that happens a lot with the clients who work with us is they’ve gone as far into couples therapy and they’re talking about their issues. They even plan. “I’m going to say this kind of thing next.” Right?

So, instead of criticizing you for not picking up your socks, I’m going to say like, “Hey, I know you’ve had a hard day and you’ve probably forgot, but could you…” You know, something nicer. And even having a script in the moment of just seeing the socks on the floor, they’re snapping. They feel their entire body either rushing with a heated energy and they can’t control it or there’s a lot of times a pattern where they’ll go through a two-week period, seeing things that bother them, pushing it down, feeling almost numb, disconnected. Like, “I’m not going to let that bother me. I’m not going to let that bother me.” And then bam, they explode. And so, they kind of cycle between that freeze response and that fight response.

Another really common feeling/behaviour is, I feel so trapped in my relationship or having thoughts of leaving. Yeah, this is long term relationship. And so, I work mostly with people who are married and long-term relationships, and just feeling so unsettled. Anytime even a little bit of conflict comes up, you know, the clients that I work with, they’ve gotten in their car in the middle of the night and left. They’ve walked home on a dark street from the restaurant that they were at because they just got so triggered.

So, it’s these really intense reactions that feel uncontrollable that sometimes makes them not remember what they even said or done. And there’s that huge regret piece too. Like, “Wow!” Almost like, “Who was that person who said those things or did those things? That’s not who I want to be.” And so, there is some awareness that there’s this huge disconnect between mind and body as well.

“Intense reactions that feel uncontrollable sometimes makes them not remember what they even said or done. (…) And so, there is some awareness that there’s this huge disconnect between mind and body as well.”

Thank you for just even naming the mind-body because as you’re talking, it’s recognizing the physiological experience. I just interviewed and released an episode around polyvagal with Stephen Porges. He’s really helping us understand how often we are in our thought brain and really trying to disconnect from our physiological responses. We’re not really always allies to our body. It is so, so important.

I was talking with my mother last night. She’s a singer, not by profession but just hobby. She’s talking about my head voice versus my body or my chest. And even as you’re saying, intellect, versus the somatic or the body, it’s like we can know something but in that heat of that moment, like you’re saying, and we feel that arousal in our body, it’s almost impossible to access these tools because we’re so activated. And even if we understand a concept, if we don’t have a real body opening or embodied experience of it, it can still feel like we’re lost. Right? This is just so, so critical. I’m a big fan of EFT, which is experiential couple’s work. It’s really helping them get into the moment, accessing their experience, their emotion, their body sensation. I do feel like it is so critical to really help people acknowledge what’s happening in the moment in their body.

I imagine the dance and the somatic. I would love to hear a little bit more. I know that you can’t necessarily break this all down for us in a short episode but can you give some people here a little bit of a landscape or a forecast around what dance and movement can assist us with as we maybe feel that disconnect in our mind and our body?

Absolutely. I’ll start by responding to some of the things you said. Actually, what I do is polyvagal informed dance movement therapy that a dance therapist, Amber Grey, coined by working with Steven Porges for many years. And so, it’s along the same concept there.

When we experience trauma, that higher functioning part of our brain goes offline. And so, yeah, we’re functioning from that fear centre, the amygdala part of our brain, and the memories that we have experienced or the trauma that we experienced gets stored in our bodies that’s different sensations. That’s how we store those memories in our bodies.

That’s why if you smell a certain smell, or perhaps your partner kind of sneaks up behind you to surprise you with a hug, it makes you want to turn around and defend yourself and maybe even instinctually punch them to protect yourself. These are all these little sensations that are reminders of our trauma that takes over our bodies in the moment.

And so, this is why we disconnect. We numb. Actually, it was once a very smart coping skill to disconnect and numb from the body because our bodies are the vehicle for which we behave and experience the world and relationships.

“Whether there was emotional trauma, physical trauma, or combination of both, to avoid feeling or remembering, we avoid the body.”  

And so, the first step in dance movement therapy is to just safely and gently kind of connect back in. And specifically, what I do, I have a program called Let Love In. And so, there’s four phases to this process. The first one is connecting to your body. Inevitably, as we connect to our bodies, we will stir up those old memories that are stored inside. And this is different than going to a yoga class or going to some kind of physical activity because this isn’t any kind of structured movement or dance. This is really starting to connect and be with my body.

And so, as dance therapists, my team and I are basically moving with our clients on the screen. We do this work online. And so, it could be a gentle warm up, gentle moving of the body and already, right then and there, every time it stirs up old feelings and old emotions. But instead of the client going back into a fear response like they do in their relationship, right?

So, when my partner sneaks up behind me, I feel that fear coming up in my body. But that happens in an instant. And then the reaction happens.

“In dance therapy, we are trained to analyse micro movement behaviour and assess their body language that’s showing us, “Okay, there is fear coming up in their bodies.

And before they can even react in a fear response, we actually help them move through the fear instead of disconnecting, instead of numbing it, instead of completely checking out of the therapeutic relationship as well, which is a key piece to it.

Oh, my gosh, I’m so thrilled about this work. When people hear dance, they have this strong association with like, “I don’t dance.” or whatever dance means to them. You’re talking about natural movement. I mean, some people like to stretch. I mean, even the form of just any type of movement could be defined in this larger therapeutic definition of dance, right? So, we’re not talking about anything, like you said, structured or technique or facilitated.

The other thing that I love is, you know, with EMDR, there’s this tapping and activating the right-left hemisphere to give some window of tolerance to some of the activation or trauma. In our normal lives, as you’re saying, we might feel like, “Oh, there’s no time. I need to suppress this or repress this. It’s too painful. I can’t look at it.” And with this supportive therapeutic dance movement therapy that you all are doing, it sounds like even just helping the body be in this movement is offering some window, would you say, of tolerance?

Yep, exactly. When we experience trauma, our window of tolerance is really pretty small. That’s where the little triggers were turned to huge things because any little thing can knock you out of that calm and cool regulated space in your nervous system.

And so, the kind of repeated experience of moving with somebody in this therapeutic relationship, feeling this fear coming up, my instinct is to just dissociate from my body to not look at you at all anymore. To freeze instead of continuing to move through it more gracefully and in a way that keeps us present.

When we basically stopped doing that and we move through that fear and we stay present and regulated, not just in our bodies but in the relationship, and this is in the relationship in session first, which naturally flows into the romantic relationship and beyond all of the relationships, you’re expanding your tolerance for being seen in a vulnerable place, being seen in a place where you feel sad or hurt, or you know, anything that’s uncomfortable because that’s what happened often in our traumas.

“Somebody hurt us. And not only did they hurt us but oftentimes, when we were vulnerable or upset about it, they use that as leverage to hurt us even more. So, the only safe choice that we believe today until we heal our trauma is that if we feel any ounce of vulnerability, we have to leave our bodies and the relationship.”

Thank you. As you were talking, I was like, because I was going to say like what you’re describing. I was like, “Oh, right, the relationship part.” Because as you initially started talking, I was like, “Yes, connection to the body and the sensing and the feeling.” But I was thinking more inward. And being witnessed in relationship part is huge. That makes more sense to me why people even in your experience, almost everybody has something emerge because of that relationship.

We don’t get injured, and we don’t experience trauma typically without relationship. Right? There’s someone, like you said, that’s hurt us and being witnessed in that vulnerability makes perfect sense. Okay. This is so, so helpful because again, we’re activating in a safe way with that container that’s therapeutic. We’re consciously intentionally activating to be able to help process. Is that right?

Yes. And exactly what you said, a lot of people will have the misunderstanding. It’s important to have somatic awareness and to connect to your body but I could dance or move intuitively every day on my own with my eyes closed and feel really good about that and make some growth and shifts there. But it’s a whole different game, when you’re doing that in relationship, when your eyes are open, when you’re being seen.

Recently, in my Let Love In program, I do a small group track. There’s one on one track, and then there’s a small group, or it’s three women in the group. This is another piece of dance therapy I should probably explain first. There are all these different kinds of movements that represent different behaviours.

Let’s say, instead of being so guarded you want to be more open. If you’ve always been guarded, your body, and no one can see me right now but you might be cross arms or hunched over, anything to make you more small and actually guarding your heart. So, to be able to be more open, it’s one thing to say it, but again, if your body doesn’t know how to be open or be more soft or vulnerable, you’re going to go straight to that physical response as well. So, it’s not just the nervous system response, it’s a physical body responds too.

And so, we help our clients learn the behaviours, the new patterns of behaviour, and basically anything that they want to become through their body first so that they essentially become this version of themselves or a lot of people kind of describe it as finding themselves again through movement in their body first in session before they even become it in their relationship. Okay. If I’m hearing you, you’re saying, not only is there the nervous system response, the trauma response, but there’s this almost habituated physiological posturing or ways that we hold our body that replicate that. If we start to explore, we might recognize those holding our habituated patterns aren’t even really us and that we get to explore something new in a whole new way. Is that right?

“Trauma responses are us and they’ve protected us for so long but they cover up who we really want to be. They hinder us from becoming the best version of ourselves.”

If you learn to ride a bike when you were a young kid and you learn the motions, you can just get on the bike without thinking about it. And even if you hadn’t gotten on a bike in 20 years, you could probably hop back on today, and you still know exactly what to do. It’s maybe a little bit rocky but your body knows what to do.

And so, if you’ve always reacted in a fight response, like, these are aggressive movements, and uses a lot of force and all of that, but your physical body is responding too. And that’s all you know how to do. Yeah, habituated automatic movements.

This is the thing that dance therapy offers. Even things like somatic experiencing and EMDR may not or actually don’t, there’s no physical movement. There’s a missing piece to that for certain people who are missing the piece of, “But my body is shutting down.” Not in the nervous system way because they rewired their nervous system. “My body keeps just tensing up and becoming so small or so guarded.” Yeah, the posturing. That directly translates to the behaviours they’re still doing in their relationship.

Is there anything that you can offer listeners today of what kind of tips or how they might begin to work with opening up some of this habituated postures or body movement or kind of breaking free from some of these habituated patterns?

Yeah, sure. It’s important to just kind of start really small. Remember what I said, there were four phases. That’s phase three. And before that even happens, it is important to rewire the nervous system and just develop that expanded window of tolerance to even step into this newer way of being or these new behaviours.

And so, it’s a really good place to start is (You can even just practice this right now listening to the podcast.) sensing what sensations are coming up in you right now in this moment. Maybe there’s a certain feeling in your chest or you’re feeling some tension in your shoulders and noticing how that makes your body move.

A lot of times I do a lot of free videos and introducing people to this work. Taking that a step further of, “Okay. I feel this tension in my shoulders. And now, how do I want to invite movement into that? Do I want to tense up and breathe in and just let it go? Or do I want to just gently roll my shoulders?”

Maybe that movement expands into my arms. And then maybe I start moving my arms. Who knows? I’m expanding into the space and I’m standing up and now I’m moving. And so, it starts from noticing a sensation is a good place to start and then inviting organic movement into it instead of, “Oh, what should I do now? How should I respond?”

And there’s a distinction there if I’m hearing you that organic, it’s almost asking the body, what is the body wanting to do? Is that right?

Yeah. Instead of the mind saying, “Oh, what’s a good way to move this?”

That would be pretty.

Exactly. That was the point that I was getting to before about doing this in relationship. So, often in a small group setting, I’ll have people pair up. Actually, I’ll just tell you exactly what had happened recently in my Let Love In group. I had one person start to move slowly and indulgently. And at this point in the program, they knew what that meant. They were paired up with someone who I had asked them to move more quickly and with a bit more force. I challenged them to move in their own ways but to still stay connected with each other. And so, we did a little bit of that.

There were some things that came up but I’ll skip to the part where I then said, “Okay. Now that you know these different ways of moving and expressing yourself, this time, just express yourself however you want in movement without me telling them what to do.”

What ended up happening is that they didn’t move how they wanted to because the person across the screen was moving in a different way. And so, they just instinctively abandon the way that they wanted to move and just joined their partner in the movement.

They couldn’t hold that place where they could feel what they want, and also see what their partner wanted across the screen. And so, either that happened, or they just totally checked out of the relationship. Right?

Like, if I can’t do what I want or be present on how I want to express myself, then I’m just going to totally leave. This showed up in session. It was so revealing to what was going on in their relationship.

Absolutely. It sounds like you’re saying just even bringing awareness and sensation to the body and just moving and paying attention if there’s tension, and then what wants to happen. And then you’re saying there’s so many levels to this and really getting support to have that, again, safe therapeutic container to explore in a safe way that reveals this information that probably is so relevant to how we relate to our significant other and people that are close to us.

I guess I’m curious for listeners because I can’t imagine people are like, “Well, what does this look like?” I mean, maybe you could use your own story or another client’s example of just what the more advanced progression looks like when you start to have these more breakthroughs or these openings of how that work starts to integrate.

Yeah, and I will say also, yes, there’s breakthroughs and revelations. And then, there’s also, “Okay. Let’s change that on the spot.” So, instead of checking out or instead of doing the movement that your partner is doing across the screen, let’s just go back into that. Let’s try it again. And then, they have now that awareness, they actually can change that movement now.

I’ll give an example. But I just wanted to say like, actually, the transformation happens in session first. One example. So, I have a team of dance movement therapists who run my Let Love In program as well.

One of my therapists, Sarah, she’s working with a newish client. This client was in the habit of really nit-picking and blaming her partner, and just having this anxiety about him not doing enough or not being good enough. You know where that leads to. “Oh, maybe this relationship isn’t good enough and all that.” And so, she started working with Sarah.

She had this huge breakthrough in session where she was, first of all, learning how to be more fluid in her body through movement. There’s a lot of shame for her, a lot of body shame, a lot of habitual disconnection. And so, her usual way of moving and expressing and basically feeling was more abrupt and sharp, and kind of like, angry, basically.

And so, Sarah was helping her feel into a different way into your body, more fluid movement, more flow. She had this instance in her, you know, session done. She has instance in her marriage, where her husband was laying on the couch, doing nothing, relaxing. And she was like, “Oh, my God. Why isn’t he doing anything? He’s so lazy. He needs to get this stuff done.” That usual frustrated, abrupt kind of feeling in her body. She still felt it. But instead of reacting, she could actually feel this space in her body, this fluidity. It doesn’t mean that she was standing there looking at her husband starting to dance. But when you feel this in your body and you practice this, you can feel it without even repeating the movement.

And instead of picking on him, she went to the couch next to him, and softens next to him and cuddle together. She was actually in a habit of never allowing herself to do nothing. First of all, this was a projection of her own anxieties onto him because he actually does so much for her all the time.

“She allowed herself to surrender and have this beautiful moment, where they just did nothing and loved each other. That could have been a moment that she either didn’t have or sabotaged by attacking him like she was used to”

And it’s almost as if both are true. Right? The frustration and the anger that is. There is an element like you’re saying that she’s known that and there is some merit in the sense of like, maybe there’s some real feelings there. And being able to access something new in this fluidity, in this surrender and softening and being able to choose too. Again, it’s not bypassing that. “Oh, I felt some anger but it’s more like choosing. I’m going to explore this a little.” Is that right? And then the opening that occurred was really beautiful. Is that what I’m hearing?

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I feel this too in speaking with clients about their experience in Let Love In. They always say, “I still feel frustration. I actually can feel that more in my body.”

“Before, with trauma, the nervous system was hijacking the body. It’s like you didn’t even feel it. It just took over you like some sort of demon. And now because you’re so connected, you can almost visualize it and also sense it coming through.”

However, everybody feels it differently. Everybody experiences feelings and different sensations in their body. So, you can feel it developing. And because of that, you can then instead of reacting to it, you have command over what you want to do with the feelings coming up and how you want to respond instead. And, of course, when you heal your trauma, those feelings aren’t even nearly as intense at all as they used to be. So that also, of course, helps. I imagine in the space that you and your team are creating, that being able to access some of the trauma activation and being able to help process and have some completion. I know that that, again, is a very broad definition. But that is helping someone not only get connection, but also helping some processing, and then being able to kind of explore in relationship that allows for this integration.

“A really common way of disconnecting from the body is by overanalysing, overthinking. Even sometimes over reading, over researching.”

Learning about ourselves, having awareness is really important as part of our journey. But if it gets burried into an obsessive place in the mind, that affects all kinds of intimacy.

I had a client who she and her husband actually lost the baby together. And of course, that is horribly traumatic. It really impacted their sex lives. When it was time to become intimate, she would all of a sudden start telling her husband about her day and really chit chatting, almost uncontrollably.

It was a way for her to avoid getting into her body, like getting into this place where she could feel this pleasure, feel his intimacy with her husband, because if she did, she would actually have to feel her body where her trauma and her grief was still stored.

And so, through the process releasing her trauma, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t miss her lost child, it doesn’t mean that there’s not still feelings of grief or sadness, or reminiscence there. But she’s not bringing it into the bedroom. She’s not bringing it into these parts of her relationship where they do want to grow together and actually create meaning and become more connected because of it instead of distancing or putting a wall there.

Absolutely. Well, I know that we’re winding down our time together. Is there anything you want to speak about or mention before we transition to how people can get in touch with you and what you’re offering?

Sure. If you want to learn more about rewiring your nervous system and healing trauma from the body and creating these new behaviour patterns through the physical body, I have a free training that goes more into depth about how that all works. It comes with a downloadable workbook. It’s a three-part training. It’s been so helpful. People have said that it was more helpful for them than years of talk therapy. It’s just a really powerful training. It’s called Wired for Love. That’s at WiredForLoveTherapy.com. And so, that’s if you want to learn more.

I also have a free Facebook online community called The Lasting Love Movement. I’m just constantly fascinated and impressed by the space. There are people asking questions and wanting to learn more intellectually as well. But we have people dancing on video, like dancing through different emotions, dancing through different challenges, recording themselves and putting it on in the group in this private safe group. There’s just a whole different level of growing and supporting each other happening in there. And so, if you’re interested in joining The Lasting Love Movement, it’s a free Facebook group where you can start experimenting in a guided supportive space.

And for that group, is it helpful to have some framework or some tips around how to access this or do you have people that are doing one piece of curriculum before they go to the group or is it just open?

It’s really helpful to do the Wired for Love training before joining the group, or at the same time as joining the group. And just to be clear, we’re not healing trauma in the group or accessing trauma. That would, of course, not be a safe thing to do on social media. But it’s more like those beginning tips that I had shared. I have basically learning guides where they can, even if they’re a beginner, even if they are just hearing about this for the first time right now, I help ease them in or introduce them into how to start connecting to your body, how to start coming home to your body really.

Wonderful. Beautiful. I’ll make sure to have those links on today’s show notes. It sounds like you also have your Let Love In group.

Yeah. I have my Let Love In program. That is a three-month program, where we actually do the whole dance therapy work that we’ve been talking about healing the trauma, expanding your window of tolerance, creating these changes and shifts in your neuro system and your physical body in the sessions even before bringing it into your relationship.

We’re really selective about who we let into the Let Love In program because it’s important to have some kind of foundation, which is what The Lasting Love Movement and the Wired For Love Training is really good at is having a bit of foundation so that when we start the program, we’re going in there.

Everyone has really amazing intentions to heal and do this through the body and dance therapy, but we are habitual creatures. And so, some people might step into the program and have this almost impulse habitual desire to talk, but we’re like, “No.” Well, we talk a little bit. We check in through words. We connect the nonverbal experiences with verbal understanding, but we do primarily the healing through the body and movement. And that’s why it’s so effective, so efficient. We help people heal in a way that really lasts.

Well, thank you for the work that you’re doing. I hope that listeners who are resonating with this can access what you’re offering in the way of the free workbook and Facebook group and potentially your program.

Thank you so much for giving a platform for not just what I’m doing, but for what so many amazing people are doing, including you.

Signing Off

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Dr. Jessica Higgins ~ Relationship and Transformational Coaching