Relational Traumatherapy - a psychomotor and systems-oriented approach.
This name places the approach in the paradigm of Relational Psychotherapy, which holds a specific understanding of the relationship between therapist and client. Here is a small introductory article about Relational Psychotherapy - written for a conference held in Cambridge in 2007. I (Merete Holm Brantbjerg) met the concept of Relational Psychotherapy there and resonated with it right away. It named what I was already working with.
In Relational Traumatherapy psychomotor skill-training is combined with mutual regulation through systems-oriented group-process and with training in a databased, verbal language. The 3 aspects are integrated into one methodology.
The development of the approach has - next to the roots in psychomotorwork - been inspired by SCT, Systems Centered Therapy and by attachment theory.
The overall goal is to establish systems (groups, couples, individuals), where dissociative patterns can open up and the emotional states, that have been held in dissociation can become mutually regulated.
You can read an introduction under What is Relational Trauma Therapy?. The other headlines to the right on this page have also been updated.
In What is ROST? you find an updated exercise-manual, describing psychomotor exercises, that support six basic presence-skills. You can download the manual to use both to support yourself and to share with your clients.
In What is Moaiku? you can read about Moaiku as a poetic and visionary name behind the approach. Moaiku has been used since 2006
A long decision process is now over and a new structure is established:
I will no longer travel to Amsterdam and London and offer workshops there. The lineage from the previous workshops in London and Tilburg will be carried on like this:
I will offer one 3- or 4-day workshop a year in English - and shift between an online workshop and a physical workshop in Copenhagen.
October 28-30 2022 - online workshop titled: Resonance and boundaries in Relational Trauma Therapy. What happens to our access to functional boundaries and open resonance when the impact from trauma invades us? and how do we repair the 2 basic skills? Click on the title - and you come to the flyer that includes a description of the content of the workshop and praktical info including payment links. Registration is open now.
April 21-23 (or 20-23) 2023 - physical workshop in Copenhagen - titled: How do we cope with arousal-states and emotions? This workshop was held in London in 2017. I want to repeat and update it - to start a series of workshops focusing on the regulation of specific arousal-states and emotions.
The time-schedule for online-workshops will be 10.30 am CET - 1.30 pm - and 3-6 pm, which means that the primary audience for these worhops is Europeans.
If you live in another timezone and you are up for stretching, you are most welcome in the online courses with European time.
And if not, the online-courses in RTT online are adapted to different timezones - and you are most welcome to join them. See more below.
I take over the administration of the 3- or 4-day workshops myself. The new structure will be tried out for the first time in relation to the October 2022 online workshop. Thanks to Kerensa Martin for your contribution to carrying the workshops on. And thanks to Steve Elliott for still fulfilling the role as assistant in the workshops and in the organisation around the workshops.
Thanks to Arienne Klijn and Nicky Smout for offering to organise workshops in Amsterdam. The Covid 19 situation has played a big role in cancellations and change of plans.
Email-list: If you are interested in being on an emaillist where you will receive information about the future workshops in English, and about new material, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Online courses with Kolbjørn Vårdal and Merete Holm Brantbjerg in RTT Online:
Since spring 2021 Kolbjørn Vårdal and I have offered international online courses in a format available to participants from many different countries. The online course Including and awakening hyporesponse has been running twice - and will start again in the fall - starting date is September 14th. The format is 7 x 3 hrs - 5-8 CET.
A Step 2 course named Sitting on the ege of an abyss together - focusing on working with hypo-arousal - is starting on March 2nd 2022. Go to https://rtt.thinkific.com - you can sign up on the platform and read about the courses there.
Podcasts and videos
Podcasts and videos have been produced during 2020 and 2021. Most of the material focuses on how to relate to hypo-states. In stressfull situations (like the one we are all in now), it matters to reach for the parts of us, that easiest go invisible, that have most difficulty in managing stress - and learn something about how these parts of us can be included, normalised and how we can bring energy into them in a dosage that works.
Click on the Video or Podcast button to the right on this page - and it takes you to an overview of the available material.
Here are links to some articles, videos and podcasts:
Here is a presentation held in Bristol Psychotherapy Association in April 2021 on working with hypoarousal: "Sitting on the edge of an abyss together". The recording of the presentation is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQlXoJ1oEp0 “Sitting on the edge of an abyss together” captures an essential element in working with hypo-arousal/collapse. Merete Holm Brantbjerg will introduce how low dosed muscle-activation can be used to build enough resilience in both client and therapist to be able to approach hypo-states and stay present instead of either being pulled into the given up state or polarise to it by trying to get out of it.
A newer article has been published in January 2021 in the British journal Body, Movement and Dance in Psychotherapy titled: "Sitting on the edge of an abyss together. A methodology for working with hypo-arousal as part of trauma therapy". Click on the link to be able to buy the article https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17432979.2021.1876768 - or you can download The accepted manuscript version here.
VIDEO titled: Supporting sustainable Change, was presented at the 1st online congress of Humanistic Psychology and Psychotherapies. The topic is change processes in psychotherapy and the role hypo-states play in how we sustain change or loose it again. Click on the link - and you come to the video on Youtube: https://youtu.be/w1QgA3A2u30
PODCAST: March 2021: What sustains you?
I was attracted to the question - especially in this time of crisis: What supports me to manage and carry myself through in spite of high both personal and collective stress? The conversation is now available on this link, where you also can find other conversations in the series: https://activepause.com/brantbjerg-sustain/ The conversation holds an example of how tracking the hypo-responsive part of a stress-pattern can open up to a deeply satisfying presence.
PODCAST December 2021: In December I had a conversation with Susan Groves, a British Core Process Therapist, who became interested in my focus on dominance and submission, when attending one of my presentations. The conversation is wide with no firm structure for what we want to communicate. It is simply a conversation between 2 psychotherapists and women, who from each our viewpoints are curious about dynamics around dominance and submission. The conversation can be reached at: https://soundcloud.com/brantbjerg - for inspiration for those who get curious.
Introduction to the method you will meet in the workshops:
In Relational Trauma therapy psychomotor exercises (ROST) is used to stimulate change in defensive patterns and to build self-regulatory capacity. Skills and resources held in the muscle-system are awakened and with that our capacity for regulating emotions and arousal-states can grow.
Through the process of “dosing” the body exercises are adapted to each participant, building inner authority. Negotiation between opening up or respecting and valuing defensive patterns as they are is supported.
The bodily skill training is based in knowledge about tension and low energy (hyper- and hypo-response) as defense-mechanisms represented in the muscles and connective tissue.
Regulation of low energy is being addressed first, which supports an unusual group-dynamic and inner dynamic: High and low energy behaviors are valued equally.
The goal of the method - Relational Traumatherapy - is to build a holding environment where emotions and survivalreactions can become mutually regulated, especially those states that have been held in isolation and dissociation. The psychomotor skill-training supports self-regulatory capacity and systems-oriented group-work is used to build the capacity for mutual resonance and regulation.
The psychotherapeutic growth process in the workshops happens through active exploration, systems-oriented group-work and reflection.
Growth in your professional capacity is supported by widening your capacity for knowing and owning aspects of being human in your own body and mind through direct experience in resonance with yourself and others.