90 Minute Workshop

Engaging and Unfolding Stuckness in Trauma Treatment Using Embodied Mirroring

Saturday, March 24
10:45 AM - 12:15 PM
Location: Marshfield

Treatment of chronically traumatized or insecurely attached children and adults is replete with echoes of their traumatic past. Triggered memories of vulnerability and pain are fiercely protected by procedurally learned survival-based coping mechanisms. Stuckness, one such protective state poses particular treatment challenges as clients may show up in preverbal, primitive, dissociated, profoundly shamed, shut down, fragmented, confused, looping, or disconnected ways. Resulting impasses in the client’s relationship with self, others (e.g., the therapist), and the world may occur along with blocks in cognitive and affective channels for therapeutic change. Embodied mirroring is a technique expressly created to capitalize on and unfold stuckness in trauma treatment. It involves the therapist exploiting the brain's mirror neuron system by consciously, explicitly, and intentionally "taking on" the protective stuck state through somatic mirroring. Through intentional and conscious body-based empathic reflection and psychophysical empathy, the embodied mirroring technique fosters the emergence of an interoceptive felt sense or a conscious somatic countertransference. Through embodied mirroring (1) the client mindfully observes himself in his safe therapist mirror, (2) the therapist observes evocations of the client in her conscious somatic countertransferences, and (3) a co-reflective, collaboration occurs as the therapist verbalizes and processes her embodied affects, thoughts, behaviors, felt sense experiences, and dynamics. As a result, movement occurs, and stuckness unfolds and shifts. In this workshop, a helpful reframe of stuck states will be presented along with how right brain, bottom-up approaches are particularly suited to transforming these intransigent states in trauma work. The embodied mirroring technique as one such approach along with its underlying mechanisms and theory  will be reviewed. The essential ingredients of various bottom-up approaches including Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, AEDP, Play and Mindfulness that inform the embodied mirroring technique will be detailed. Through case examples and experiential learning, participants will develop ways to bring the dynamic and intersubjective embodied mirroring technique to their challenging trauma work with adults and children.


Learning Objectives:

Monica C. Blum

Clinical Psychologist
Private Practice
Highland Park, New Jersey

Dr. Monica Blum has worked with children, adolescents, adults, and families for over 25 years and has a private practice in Highland Park, NJ. Stemming from her training as a child trauma therapist and extensive work with complex and chronic trauma, Dr. Blum has created ways to use play and nonverbal/body-based techniques in her work with clients across the age spectrum. She incorporates play and humor to promote deep attunement to facilitate healing. Dr. Blum practices eclectically, blending psychodynamic/developmental, family systems, and relational approaches with right brain-focused therapies including Play and EMDR. She has been influenced by Internal Family Systems, Sensorimotor and Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapies, too. Dr. Blum has developed embodied mirroring, a body-to-body, relational technique that respectfully and creatively allows the therapist-client dyad to move through therapeutic impasses. She has authored an article detailing this technique in the Journal of Psychotherapy Integration (2015) and conducts highly experiential, integrative, and practical workshops, teaching ways to bring embodied mirroring, nonverbal techniques, and play into one’s practice. Dr. Blum runs workshops on child sexual abuse treatment and assessment, trainings to graduate students working with trauma, and parent workshops in schools. She provides professional consultation and supervision.


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Engaging and Unfolding Stuckness in Trauma Treatment Using Embodied Mirroring

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