Finding Presence in the
Faces of Trauma
AN EXPERIENTIAL WORKSHOP EXPLORING
SOMATIC AWARENESS IN SPIRITUAL/PASTORAL CARE INTERVENTIONS.
“When somatic awareness is applied to the listening experience, relational attunement quickly arrives, supporting co-regulation and safety which allows ‘presence’ as a fully felt experience.”
Every day caregivers sit before individual stories, events, and histories of ordinary persons. In one-off or extended encounters, from mild anxiety through to despair and crisis, every interaction holds the potential of unearthing past and current “trauma”, both known and unknown.
Attuned presence is a state of mind and being, including all of the body. It starts with a literal and heart-felt posture which provides a secure attachment for both practitioner and client, which is the basis for a healthy and safe connection. It also offers whatever is missing from the person’s implicit reality based on their emotional and relational trauma history. When a patient is with someone [a care professional] in the attuned presence and perceives it, that person will take in the emotional nourishment they need, and their barriers relax to receive care. This is not about the words we use but the felt sense within every encounter.
This Somatic-informed Spiritual Care is based on the belief that the inside-out transformation of the carer is essential in supporting the client's journey toward safety and wholeness. We, the practitioners, must make the trip first to guide and help our clients gently and precisely into the vast reservoir they hold in their bodies and hearts. Because contemporary helping professionals continually face the complexities of multiple, intertwined traumas, it is no longer enough to be better listeners; we need to become a different kind of practitioner, one that is fully aware of their whole self; body, mind & spirit as they sit with suffering in a deep, compassionate, and embodied way—learning to trust in our own felt sense and intuition.