One evening this past week, I received a special honor. I got to do changework and bodywork with someone who has done changework and bodywork with me. I’m not going to provide any identifying information out of respect for her privacy. Think of this as a case study: it really happened, but you will never be able to tell whose experience it was, and in any case, it doesn’t really matter.
I’m writing this session up to illustrate what I am offering in my private practice: changework combined with bodywork.
Most everyone is at least familiar with what bodywork and massage are. Changework is less known. You can think of it as a kind of coaching, with applications for managing stress, becoming more relaxed, changing your stories, shelving beliefs that no longer apply, clarifying, removing obstacles, getting unstuck, achieving goals, knowing yourself, expanding, transforming emotions, and more.
I have some training and experience I can draw on, but mostly I listen to understand and offer support for a client to explore and find movement toward resolution. Sometimes just being really listened to makes a huge difference. Sometimes a client just needs another point of view. Sometimes a question or two can open up a whole new direction. Sometimes a technique can help.
When a positive shift has occurred, we move into the bodywork part of a session — to literally embody the change.
My client had overdone it with some physical activity and then made a ducking, twisting movement — and her back started spasming. After several days, the spasms were entirely gone and she went back to work…and they returned. She understood then that the spasms were probably tied to something else.
She had already done significant work on this before we met. She examined what had been happening emotionally before the injury occurred — especially in regard to work, because the spasms resumed when she went back to work.
She had been feeling irritated about some of her clients not taking care of themselves despite all she had put into their sessions. (This experience is pretty universal among health care providers.) She was just being with this awareness, not knowing what she was going to do about it, when she overdid it and started having back spasms. She put resolving this issue on hold.
Once she identified the unresolved issue, bringing it into the light, she made some changes in her work, and a deeper level of healing began.
She was still feeling like more exploration was needed when she came to me.
I asked how I could help, and she said maybe we could do a little tapping — EFT, the Emotional Freedom Technique. I shared with her a version I like, and she tapped away as we talked.
With EFT, you identify what you are feeling. Behind the irritability, she recognized that she felt sad about not being able to help.
I asked if she could really know that she wasn’t helping these clients, and she said no.
Sometimes people have to step in the hole again (or a thousand times; see Groundhog Day, one of my favorite movies) before they walk around it.
When someone finally makes a decision (or the decision makes itself) to walk around the hole, changing has become more attractive than not changing. Her clients’ experiences of her own healthy vibrancy, her work, and her commitment to well-being are of course part of the force-field that makes changing to healthier habits more attractive. It just might take them awhile to really be ready, though.
On her own, she came up with an inspiring course to take — if some of her clients are choosing the shadow over the light, and she’s resisting them doing that, then maybe now is a great time for her to examine her own shadow side.
Brilliant. Perfect for the season, too, as the nights get longer.
Then she got on the table, and I gave her a deep massage, which she had not previously experienced. She loved 9 points (TLC people, if you’re reading this, you’ll know what I mean). I reached some back muscle tenderness and melted into it.
She blissed out on the table, and I finished working on her, and we talked a little more, and she slipped away into the night — until we meet again.