2018 Series 4

Recovery from Stress and Trauma

Week 2: Physical

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August 20 - 26, 2018

course content for week 2:

The physical components of stress and trauma recovery

Welcome to week 2!

Introduction to week 2

As is so often the case, as I plan these classes I try to figure out how to break things up into bite sized chunks to talk about. For the first two weeks of this session I wanted to talk about the emotional/mental and physical aspects of stress and trauma. I started with emotional because I find that if I don't work through the emotional/mental layer of held trauma that I can't even access the physical layer (assuming there is one). It seemed easy - start with the emotional during week one and the physical during week two.

But guess what?

The physical and emotional are so closely tied together that you can't really separate them from one another. I work with the body to release the mental/emotional effects and I work with the mind to help release the body. It all goes together - as usual. This part of the reason I had to toss out what I initially planned to share for the written portion of the class. It just wasn't working for me to keep it all separate.

Thank you all again for being patient with me as the timing of my vacation sat smack in the middle of our first two weeks of class. I actually managed to settle into vacation mode pretty well yesterday and didn't do any writing. But I DID do a welcome to Monday morning video in the redwood forest near the cabin where we're staying. :-) Here you go.

Also, I did a session with a mare who didn't like having her feet handled before I left on the trip. That video is posted on the webpage. I apologize in advance for the terrible sound quality. I did not bring my tripod that day and I didn't have Susan to follow me around with my camera. I thought I was very clever using baling twine to tie the Go Pro to the pipe corral. It's interesting. Sometimes it actually acts as an amplifier and sometimes it sounds like someone is playing a gong nearby! I threw in a lot of subtitles to explain what I'm doing or talking about where it's harder to hear. You may have to pause if there is a lot of text so you can read it all.

I posted it anyway because I think it turned out to be a good example of how I began to determine that there was a physical issue underlying the behavioral problem with this horse. And the owner had done a really good job building trust and working through the mental/emotional scars from this girl's past. That's the only reason I could get as far as I did.

In closing I want to say these first two weeks I've set up to share a lot of theory about how trauma happens and how I go about working through it. The last two weeks we'll talk about the practicalities of working with a chronically stressed or traumatized horse. Almost everything you need is in the material we've been working with all year so it's another good chance to review. I've put some suggestions together for things you can review below.

Welcome to week 2 video:


Course Content for Week 2:

the physical aspects of stress and trauma

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Links to PDF Documents for week 2:

PDF:  The Physical Aspects of Stress and Trauma

Coming August 25th

Audio Transcript:

Coming August 26th

We've already discussed most of what we need to work with our own trauma or help our horses recover so there will be lots of opportunity to review things and go deeper into our understanding. For this week I would suggest reviewing the following documents:

Hands on Palpation Guide (page 221 in your manual - there is also a page with links for video demonstrations)

Review anything in the manual related to using touch as a form of gathering information along with anything about resonance or working with the electromagnetic field of the heart. If you find yourself overwhelmed by emotions (yours or your horses please review the sections on ways to connect and ground without being overwhelmed).


Main video for the week:

This week I'm sharing a session with a new client (the horse, not the human). This was a mare who does not like having her hind feet picked up so they've been unable to trim her hind feet. We were exploring what might be the cause of her resistance. It might be some trauma related to having her feet worked on in the past or it might be something physical/structural in her hind quarters. This mare ended up being a fabulous example of how we can begin to address the physical once the emotional components are resolved. Her person did a great job of building trust with this mare or I never would have been able to do what I did in one session.

video demonstrations:

For this week I've made a list of videos that you've already seen that are useful examples of ways to work with the mental and emotional aspects of trauma recovery as well as ways to minimize stress during training and other interactions with our horses.

Working with careful visual observation in combination with resonance, or tracking what I feel, are key components of the early stages of working with horses who suffer mental or emotional effects of chronic stress or trauma.

Touch can be a powerful way to help release stress and trauma.

Movement is sometimes the best way to help a horse release the pent up energy associated with chronic stress or trauma. That can be hard when they are quite shut down. As is the case with Merlin. Make note of the times when he takes off running and frantically screaming. That's a clear sign of nervous system over activation!