Earlier this month, I took a two day course on Emotional CPR.
Yeah, great Cal…uh, what the heck is Emotional CPR?
I know, I know, I didn’t know much about it, either. But I was curious, because I’d attended the HOPE festival in Augusta this past May. The HOPE Festival is sponsored by DHHS, and I was a little wary due to my own experiences in the mental health system. But I found that I really connected with the keynote speaker’s personal journey with mania, and how it lead him to explore other therapeutic models other than psychotherapy. It made me think about my own journey, and my vision for own bodywork and polarity therapy practice.
I contacted him and he recommended a thing called an Emotional CPR Training in Framingham, MA.
Among the speakers, there was a psychiatric nurse and a psychiatrist, both with direct experience on both sides of the mental health equation- as therapist and client. Frustrated with their experiences in mainstream psychiatry, all the presenters had found ECPR and alternative therapies that they found extremely useful in their own journeys towards greater emotional well-being. Interestingly, many of the attendees at the training weren’t from the mainstream medical field- there were a lot of community workers who come from drop in centers in Massachusetts, so the overall vibe was very grassroots.
The basic tenets of ECPR are “Emotional Connection, Empowerment, and Revitalization.” It is a fairly new alternative method of crisis intervention that helps therapists, emergency workers, friends and family forge deeper emotional connections with each other to help heal trauma and resolve conflict. Basically anyone working with or for a person dealing with trauma can benefit from ECPR.
How Do I Create Dialogue?
Practitioners of ECPR employ empathetic communication to create genuine connection with a person in crisis. With empathetic communication, both parties are encouraged to feel that the thoughts and emotions they are experiencing are not only valid, but purposeful. The therapist, or whoever the listening party is, creates a safe and non-judgmental environment by acknowledging the struggles and concerns of the client and trying to feel the things the person is feeling. This puts the two parties on even footing, and creates what is known as a heart to heart dialogue.
Remember when we talked about Non-Judgmental Awareness? Think of heart to heart dialogues as a sort of two way version of Non-Judgmental Awareness. Try this little exercise- the next time you identify that you are in a confrontational situation with another person, try to identify how you are feeling in the moment.
Say to the person how you feel, while trying to avoid taking a judgmental tone. Be specific as possible- emotions like anger and fear are real, but are often the by-product of other reactions. Then, try to put yourself in the other person’s situation. Have you felt the way they feel before? Acknowledging the other person in a therapy or conflict situation nurtures a therapeutic environment that focuses not on “fixing” a person, but acknowledging their experiences as valid and productive- even negative emotions are part of the process of growth and healing.
How does ECPR help me as an energy healer?
For me, as an Energy Healer, and LMT, it’s important that I make as deep a connection to my clients as possible. And this process begins at intake. Rather than simply asking questions and gathering information about a person, actually acknowledging their traumas and difficulties puts me in a position where I can better read their energies, and I can adjust my therapy accordingly. For example, maybe a person is experiencing lower back pain. Chances are, they will mention that during a regular intake process, and I can work on that pain with massage, or some simple adjustments to the person’s energy.
But with eCPR, the intake process becomes an act of active listening, and maybe I find out there are deeper roots causes of the issue- maybe there was a past trauma, or some life stress- stuff that hadn’t even occurred to the person initially. By making that interaction a dialogue, I can make a much deeper connection to the client- which allows me to read their body’s reactions on the table much more clearly, tailoring and fine tuning their therapy so I can really allow the client to operate at the highest possible vibration.