Who to be not How to be? Identity Constellations – the IoPT Way?
How do we start a healthier relationship with ourselves and the world?
It is the challenge of today that we all become more embodied, and question the preoccupation with the head and the rational at the expense of our body, which holds so much innate wisdom. There are endless Self-help Programmes out there about How to Be but actually this fosters concepts, structures, ideas, and distracts us from becoming more embodied. It ignores the one thing that will change our world and that is to discover Who we Truly especially in relation to the environment that, through acquisition, we are so happy to abuse. Not what our success-driven culture tells us we should be but who we are, what we bring to the world and what kind of world we want to live in. An embodied identity.
And the only way we start a healthier relationship with ourselves is through the body, the feelings -and the trauma memories it holds. On the path to embodied living we feel the frozen parts of ourself that are a result of trauma, we see how our survival parts ( so very necessary at the time of the trauma) inhibit us and no longer serve who we may be.
Why do we need so much to become more embodied?
We become more grounded and secure as we become more focused on a core sense of ourselves. This helps eliminate anxiety and fear – mental activities. This will challenge a world where medicalizing depression, anxiety ‘disorders’ etc is the norm and as a practice on such a wide scale affects wildife, soil quality and drinking water as anti-depressants are thrown into landfill.
It helps us breathe better increasing circulation and oxygenisation and making our immune system stronger. This helps with stress – in a stressful situation we can bring our attention back to our body more and breathe through it. We are also more aware of what triggers our stress which again is often our very early experiences.
We start feeling more harmony and balance within and in our relationship with the outside world, especially nature. It brings a stronger sense of core self which can respond better to all life throws you.
We become more in touch with our emotions and are not so afraid of expressing our genuine feelings. We literally warm up – a defrosting of frozen trauma.
We start feeling greater connection to others as we connect to ourselves more deeply and so feel less alienated, less lonely – a problem endemic in modern society.
We become our own person as we begin to know ourselves through embodied experience and so become less dictated to by family, social and political hierarchy and rigid thinking.
We become more intuitive and creative as we listen to our body more acutely.
Why is Identity Constellations such an effective tool for embodiment?
Identity Constellations or Identity-oriented Psychotrauma Therapy is an embodied experience of somatic resonance where the body itself gives us the information. It is in the head where we hold the loop of past stories which we can become over-absorbed in when we go to talking therapy. Stepping out of our head and stories and into a more embodied identity – exploring who we are and want to be in the world – which actually brings calm, a connectedness with ourselves and others, a living-in-the-present.
The body holds trauma from our past, especially infant, preverbal trauma inaccessible to our cognitive memory. When we experience a trauma, we feel overwhelmed, powerless and that our life depends on surviving at all costs. In order to do this we go into a trauma state, freeze, and split in our psyche. The trauma is buried in our unconscious, locked in a frozen state in the body. Our psyche splits into 3 parts: the traumatised, surviving and healthy parts.
In IoPT, through the resonance of others we can access our body-centred thoughts, feelings and sensations helping release, feel and express these younger parts that have been so locked in. By giving them voice, seeing them for the first time and starting to connect with them, we begin the reintegration of the psyche, and with each part of ourselves we see, we find shifts in how we perceive ourselves happening in a very embodied way, often days or weeks later.
IoPT can result in a completely new way of being in the world, with new focus, confidence and self-awareness. With each constellation, or in the resonance of another’s constellation, we can start feeling healthier and more authentic in being with others.
Is there a point where there is no point any longer?!
IoPT is a gentle, step-by-step way of claiming who we are and it is never too late to start. As we get older, we may find the surviving parts of ourself just don’t seem to hold it together like they did. Once you retire or maybe your children leave home, you lose those identities that may keep you from having to face yourself. The sense of redundancy which can bring emptiness, where the survival patterns begin to fragment and crack up a bit. It is the Leonard Cohen “crack” where the “light gets in”, if you allow it and start some self-enquiry.
If we distract ourselves in later years by taking on an agenda as busy as our working lives, of course, we might avoid the light which comes with self-enquiry. So often what is locked in – unresolved trauma, unseen and unexpressed – comes out through illness and begins to show itself in older age. So resolving what our body holds is a healthy way to be in harmony with who we are in our senior years and brings peace, meaning and the wisdom of being connected more to the earth at this point in our life.
Resolving early trauma is not about keeping in the past, it is about stepping out of the past to be the person we become when we claim ourselves. it is to feel fully in the present. It brings a mental plasticity to our ever-evolving identity and avoids the rigidity that can come with older age. It is never too late to start.
The time to start is now and it is needs to be experienced because no words can truly describe the embodied experience of the IoPT Identity method.