This 4-minute video clip is part of the Embodied mindful pause video. See transcript below the video.
I mentioned using Active Pause* as a way to get a break in the flow of the session. A subset of this is in moments where you notice some activation from the client. Activation is a word that some therapists use more than others. You may or may not be using the term frequently. What I mean by this is some kind of nervous system spike. Maybe lots of movements, fidgeting… It can be that there’s both excitement, or maybe some anxiety. Let’s say this is the normal range or functioning (hand gestures showing a range), and you have little spikes or they’re functioning at this level instead of functioning in this area, they’re more in this area. (hand gestures showing spikes outside of the range of normal functioning).
Something tells you that they’re excited, scared, moved, beyond the level that is the normal range in functioning for them, and is a little bit more difficult to deal with. Introducing Active Pause* in such a moment is a way to ground the experience. We’re not asking people to disregard that experience, to dismiss it, far from that. We’re just asking them, at the same time as they’re experiencing it, to take a moment, to close their eyes, to hold the ball, gently squeeze, breathe, move it to the other hand. Depending on the client, you may also add the instruction to pay attention to breathing as they hold the ball, breathe, squeeze, move to the other arm, breathe squeeze, move to the other arm, breathe, squeeze…
What’s happening there is: There is a gentle rhythmic effect. There is the paying attention to the breathing, but even if not specially the breathing, at least the holding. There is the possibility of calibrating, depending on the feeling: Squeezing more, squeezing less… So it gives people an outlet, to shift from that spiral of excitement into just paying attention to what’s happening in the body. So it’s a way of creating a container for experience.
In some forms of therapy this would be called resourcing, or resourcing through the body, grounding emotions into the body. What it is, it’s essentially a way to notice that you can have that pretty strong experience, and at the same time, you don’t need to be fully taken by it, fully carried by the hurricane. You can also find in you a place that can focus on something else, and that something else, that body awareness, that grounding into sensation, helps you give more room to that difficult experience. Then you’re able to absorb it better, and you’re able to contain it, essentially.
* Please note that, at the time the video was made, I was referring to the Embodied Mindful Pause as Active Pause.