Anita Ribeiro and a group of colleagues are finalizing a book about Calatonia and Subtle Touch. A conversation with her will be posted in 2019. Meanwhile, the following provides some information on Calatonia.
…Whereas Calatonia originated in post-war (WWII) refugee camps, it did not focus on restoring the patient’s balance from its point of symptomatology or attributed imbalance, such as a specific memory of traumatic incident, anxiety, depression or phobia, rather, it addressed global neural coordination and re-setting of optimal homeostatic values for the whole organism, including the brain. During that period in history, his patients had no guarantee of stability from which to consider their traumas “events of the past”, and yet, they needed to sustain resilience no matter what lied ahead and the amount of trauma they had already endured. Inherently connected with that human need still so prevalent today, Sándor sought to foster resilience (through fostering well-being in dyadic regulation) without using traumatic events as the starting point for the new adaptive pattern to be generated by this new dynamic. In Calatonia’s case, the brain is led to self-organise (both in real time during its application and across time when repeated sessions occur) from states of relative disorder to states of coherence by positive feedback as opposed to treatments targeting that focus on specific incidents of trauma. Lewis and Todd (2007) describe the brain as a self-organising system that functions “through multiple, nested feedback operations: not only negative feedback, by which activities stabilize one another, but also positive feedback, by which activities augment or promote each other.” The development of neural self-organization in the long-term occurs by synaptic pruning of ‘unused’ neural pathways and myelination of more frequently ones, throughout the cortex and limbic system (Lewis & Todd, 2007). Thus, Calatonia successfully helps to generate long term potentiation of new neural pathways to well-being and resilience, in which traumas are re-dimensioned in contrast to the new sense of empowerment, and as repetitions ensue, traumas are cumulatively depotentiated, whilst confidence and well-being are increased (Blundon & Zakharenko, 2008; Cooke & Bliss, 2006; van der Helm et al, 2011), hopefully leading indirectly to a “synaptic pruning” of negative experiences.
…Thus, Calatonia is open-ended in its results because each person has a unique optimal ‘homeostat setting’ based on history, personality, temperament (Beaty et al., 2016; Jung, 1959; Nostro et al., 2018), relational patterns, biogenetic predispositions, and developmental phase and life circumstances at the time of treatment (Gratton et al., 2018). For this reason, Calatonia is broadly engaging in neural terms as it targets concomitantly: (1) the orienting reflex that affects (bottom up) attentional and motivational patterns (see chapter in this book); (2) the interhemispheric connection that facilitates the corpus callosum functionality; (3) subcortical-cortical large-scale networks that can reconfigure brain connectivity patterns and synchronisation in resting-state connectivity, to include the DMN, SN, CEN in conjunction with Somatosensory Cortices; and (4) the skin-touch affiliative-affective system formed by low-threshold unmyelinated mechanoreceptors C-tactile (CT) (Iggo 1960; Iggo & Muir 1969; Olausson et al. 2002; Brauer et al. 2016) and discriminative-spatial system associated particularly to the Ruffini endings and Merkel’s disks, both low-threshold and slow-adapting lightly myelinated nerve endings, as well as skin proprioceptors (Birznieks, Jenmalm, Goodwin & Johansson, 2001; Birznieks, Macefield, Westling & Johansson, 2009; Ebisch et al., 2016; Macefield, 2005; Mountcastle, 2005) that engage sensory processes in a multimodal integration (Ciaunica & Fotopoulou, 2017; McGlone, Wessberg & Olausson, 2014) (chapter about the skin-touch in this book). All of these elements are proposed on a passive mode, with the patient in a resting-state position (Shen, 2015), in dyadic regulation with the therapist to enable a sense of safety and well-being (Cerritelli, Chiacchiaretta, Gambi & Ferretti, 2017).
Anita Ribeiro is a psychotherapist and seminar leader who practices and teaches the non-invasive body psychotherapy method Calatonia and Subtle Touch, a merging of bodywork and Jungian theory. She learned this method in Brazil, with its creator, Dr. Petho Sandor. In the past twenty five years, she has practiced in Brazil and the USA, where she took her master’s at Nova Southeastern University. She was a member of the board of directors of the US Association for Body Psychotherapy from 2003 to 2005. She currently lives in the UK and works as a body psychotherapist for the National Health System, treating families and children, ages 3 to 21.
To be published in 2019.