Implicit, non-conscious communication – gesture, stance, posture, prosody, facial expressions, and movement patterns – is the heartbeat of all relationships.
Ethologists have long described particular non-verbal behaviors among animals that communicate an invitation for particular activities, such as to play, to be sexual or to fight. Similarly, infant researchers have highlighted the significance of implicit bodily-based communication between infants and their attachment figures that shapes procedural memory and affect regulation capacities. This communication serves as a template for future relational interaction, and is reflected in the nonverbal dialogue of the therapist/patient dyad. This conversation that takes place beneath the words during the therapy hour is often more significant than the explicit narrative.
The ongoing process of bodily-based, non-verbal behavior serves to regulate affect and is fundamental for conveying information. In large part, this implicit communication determines not only the affective nature of the dyad but the content that is explicitly expressed.
Relational trauma and early attachment dynamics shape non-verbal communication, reflecting and sustaining unconscious beliefs and affects that have anticipatory and predictive functions.
This workshop explores the legacy of trauma and attachment in determining affect regulatory capacities, procedural learning and implicit communication, and thus in large part, the quality of one’s relationships with others and one’s relationship with the self. The presenter addresses implicit knowing of the other as well as implicit knowing of the self – how our sense of self
depends not only on the verbal story we tell ourselves, but also on the non-verbal story we tell ourselves. This “somatic narrative” is typically beyond the understanding of the rational mind, yet implicitly anticipates the future, and is a powerful determinant of behavior. The presenter will emphasize embedded relational mindfulness interventions to alter the somatic narrative and achieve therapeutic gains, and teach a variety of techniques from Sensorimotor Psychotherapy.
This workshop also explores how patient and therapist, through their complex, multi-layered relationship, may non-verbally enact aspects of their immediate experience that are excluded from cognitive representation.
The interface of what is being communicated consciously and explicitly with what is being expressed implicitly between therapist and patient is explored and the negotiation of therapeutic enactments is demonstrated. Concepts and specific techniques from Sensorimotor Psychotherapy will be illustrated through excerpts of videotaped consultation sessions with children, dolescents, families, adults, couples, group, and brief experiential exercises.