QUICK START TIPS and Goals for Integrating Module 4
and Practice

Goals: Safety First Then Mobilization from Immobilization ASAP!

Installing a “Competent Protector”: Watch this Cougar vs. Bear Cub video 

It helps to reinforce the reality of “protective energy” to remind the client that ultimately the baby bear will be alright (There’s an excellent surprise “momma bear” ending you can refer to in subsequent sessions with an image of protection and nurturance).

Other Practice Examples:

  • Imagine anyone who you feel has been protective toward you and in a competent way. Notice how having that person near makes you feel emotionally and physically.
  • Perhaps a Superman or Wonder Woman helps you connect to protective energy through this imagery. You may prefer to design your own protector. What qualities they might have or take one from a favorite book or movie like Braveheart or Ordinary People with Judd Hirsh for the son; not a good job for the Mother (played by Mary Tyler Moore)?
  • Warrior archetype – Mahakala, Shiva, military, armies, firefighters, social workers, therapists – grizzly bear from the videoclip “bear cub and cougar” from J.J. Annaud’s movie “The Bear.” You, yourself, may be an excellent protector, knowing when to support someone protecting themselves autonomously and when to step in and “fight off the bullies.” How do you imagine those you protect feel, knowing you are there? How would your “younger” self feel knowing that someone like you has your back? 

2. Expanding Sense of Safety: Tracking how safety or relief feel in the body – Rabbit story – programmed for predators and safe with own species unlike many human children – which is, by definition, biologically confusing. 

3. Uncoupling Drive to Survive from the Instinct to Bond: (with caregivers) Describe set up of 2 different locations: one with allies and resources that give the Attachment system a safe place to land, and another for the troubling or scary behavior of the parent, so the threat response is clearly separated from the Attachment needs. 

4. Reversing the Immobilization Technique: Freeze frame the threat as far away as the client’s body wants it. When threat is frozen then the person is more free to act. Ask what the person’s body wants to do or say, or have their competent protector do or say for them…our main objective is to get from immobilization, collapse, shame response, freeze response to an active mobilization of defensive orienting or self protective responses. May start with an image and work toward physical movement.polar-bear-196318_640

5. Pushing Hands Technique: This
is an exercise where you can push against a physioball, or place pressure onto a pillow against a wall.

6. Reduce Dissociation: Have people describe things they see, hear, smell, taste or touch to diminish dissociation.

7. Rebooting Radar for Safety vs. Danger: Resurrecting the survival response technique. Use the elevator story to help clients who have had to override their survival responses – due to abusive household or domestic violence to help them reconstruct a sense of danger and to generate options for successful escape.

8. Regulation of Extreme Shifts: Teach more modulated strategies to calm down when high anxiety or fear takes over, and boost energy up when “shutdown” occurs.

9. Conflict Management: Time-out or calming down strategies that fit each client (something that has worked in the past).