Action Insights Blog

what lies beneath - action institute of california - jean campbell

What Lies Beneath?


I spent some time with a friend last weekend and when we first got together, she told me that she had just had a fight with her son and she was furious.   From the moment she walked in the room I could feel her anger, but I could also feel the emotion underneath it.

As a psychodramatist, whenever I’m around someone in pain, one of my first instincts is to double them, that is, to make “I” statements as though I were her and give her the right to change the words if they don’t fit.  And so I started doubling,  “It’s so hard for me to watch someone I love hurting so much and not be able to fix it for him.  I’ve worked so hard to help my son NOT follow the same unhealthy path that I did.  I’m his Mom – I’m supposed to take care of him and it’s heartbreaking to have to stand by and watch him make the same mistakes I did and not be able to stop him.”

By the second sentence, her heart broke open and she was sobbing in my arms, and I was encouraging her to have a full sadness release by making sound and wail the pain out of her heart.  The doubling helped to reveal the powerlessness she was feeling and allowed her to drop into the fear and grief that was living underneath it, rather than covering it over with anger.

Part of why I could spot the cover is that I know it well – I spent years doing it myself.  Powerlessness led to me feeling small and weak and rather than feeling how scared or sad I was, I would protect myself with anger to feel powerful.  The problem is while my behavior served to protect my heart, it also pushed people away.  I wasn’t even aware that it was happening because I was darned busy protecting myself.  Know what I mean?

I also know that it’s a defense I needed at the time, and still sometimes do.  I had to learn not to judge myself for my actions, but to understand why I was so scared.  Sometimes it’s a simple as the fact that living with an open heart is scary and sometimes it’s downright painful.  Yet at our core, isn’t it what we’re here to do as human beings?

Through Psychodramatic Bodywork®, I learned the road map out of my anger is to allow myself to stay with the fear and #sadness that I’m covering and actually feel it, in the fullness of my heart, rather than pumping up my chest to create the illusion of feeling powerful.   With support I now have the capacity to surrender into the powerlessness, stay with it and move it out of my #body through a #fear release.  It has been a long road of building capacity to tolerate those feelings –  it has been some of the most challenging emotional work of my life, and the most rewarding.

What lies beneath for you?  What are you covering to protect your heart?____________________________________________________________________

Understanding and being able to include the body in the therapeutic process takes extensive training and practice while being supervised.  Action Institute of California offers Psychodramatic Bodywork® workshops devoted to teaching  practitioners (therapists, counselors, bodyworkers, interventionists, nurses, doctors, etc) how to recognize the signs and symptoms of unexpressed feelings, and facilitate emotional releases safely and effectively.    For more information on Psychodramatic Bodywork® trainings we offer, please visit our Calendar of Events page.

In addition, we provide psychodrama training for professionals; team building, conflict resolution and staff training workshops in business, clinical and medical settings that are tailored to the needs of your organization, and we are committed to providing safe spaces for professionals to do their own work.

#double #doubling #psychodramaticbodywork #fear #anger #sadness #fearrelease #sadnessrelease #angerrelease