50+ People at Trauma Awareness Training and Skillshare in BerkeleySubmitted by Icarus Project on Mon, 02/19/2007 - 5:44pm
50+ people crowded into the Long Haul infoshop in Berkeley CA Feb. 18th for a training and skillshare on Trauma Awareness with Icarus staff Will Hall. Sponsored by the Bay Area Radical Mental Health Collective and San Francisco Icarus, the event was a huge success imparting concrete skills, presenting innovative ideas, and stirring lively discussion about what exactly it means to be 'traumatized' and what are the different ways to heal it.
Drawing on his 6+ years work with trauma survivors at the Freedom Center, Will presented a body-awareness approach to trauma informed by the work of Peter Levine, Judith Herman, Pat Ogden, and Arnold Mindell. Based on the idea that trauma is an intrusive body memory of a life-threatening, inescapable event, the approach contrasts with both talk-therapy and catharsis methods of 'getting the emotion out.' Instead, a body-awareness approach emphasizes learning to notice sensations in the body, including when we freeze or dissociate from our bodies, and to gently re-inhabit our senses with simple, meditation-like exercises. Wild animals, who tend to be more connected between mind and body, spontaneously allow trapped energy to move through and discharge out of the body, preventing trauma and the life constricting symptoms that go along with it. The workshop focsued on ways to 'become more like wild animals' and re-learn how to gently and safely move stuck energy in the body, including grounding and resourcing so that our bodies are more truly our own.
The last portion of the evening was devoted to a skillshare where people presented their own learning and skills. One woman discussed her backyard bottle-smashing adventures in anger management and the ensuing encounters with police and neighbors; Madigan discussed her vision of radical collaboration through art and community to heal trauma, and others talked about their grounding and healing tools. The evening ended with a closing ceremony of round singing led by Madigan. leThanks to everyone from Bay Area Radical Mental Health, San Francisco Icarus, and Long Haul Infoshop for making this event such a success!