How have you seen the SSP help your clients?
SSP opens the door for greater co-regulation between me and my clients. Using hands-on techniques along with SSP allows for deep healing and nervous system restoration even in a single visit.
A new client is a critical care nurse at a local hospital and first came to me with back pain. During the intake, I could see, hear, and sense her weariness. In addition to working full time during a pandemic and witnessing the deaths of many of her patients, she is also a full time student. She noted that she didn’t have anything left for her husband after a long shift. Even though she was sleeping “enough” she felt exhausted all the time. After the first session she began to feel more rested in the morning. Each time I saw her, her voice had more prosody. Her face was more animated, her eyes brighter. I was able to explain her symptoms, behaviors and facial cues to her through a polyvagal lens and give her simple homework, like holding hands with her husband while they watch TV together, explaining how this is co-regulating for each of them. She is doing well. Her back pain is gone. She still experiences fatigue after long shifts, but the general malaise and exhaustion has lifted. She is more hopeful and engaged with the world after 6 sessions together. She listens to SSP during our massage therapy sessions.
The amount of listening time varies session to session. I use SSP in every session with every client with great success.
What challenges were you facing before using the SSP?
Before SSP progress was often slow. Clients carried the same chronic pain patterns for years. Many clients had a difficult time recovering from operations such as joint replacement surgery. Their nervous systems were “stuck” from the trauma of surgery and healing was slow.
How has the SSP helped to solve these challenges?
When the nervous system shifts out of a sympathetic/mobilized state, the hypertonicity in the soft tissue decreases. The body is no longer resisting manual therapy so I am able to help interrupt painful pain patterns using massage therapy techniques. Sometimes the body has a lot to say, and so I listen with my hands. Craniosacral therapy and SSP are also highly effective when paired together.
How did Covid-19 affect your clients and/or your practice?
I was not able to work in person for 6 weeks and was relieved when I could see clients in person starting June 1, 2020. It’s easy to take touch for granted and our culture in the US has not fully admired and respected the healing and transformational power of therapeutic touch. Touch heals every time. A polyvagal and trauma-informed lens is crucial to getting the type of touch just right; but done safely and correctly, it is an opportunity for co-regulation, attachment repair, and deep healing. I am so grateful to have been able to work throughout Covid-19.