Wednesday Full Presence Meditation, 10 – 11 am, Weaving Room at the Community Centre in Amersham-on-the-Hill

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Booking : It is a drop-in, but a text to 07958 694 644 the previous evening to say you are coming would be appreciated to organise the room

Dates for this term:
4, 10, and 18 October 2017
1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 November 2017
6, 13 and 20 December 2017

Though the session are on a drop-in basis, you will get most benefit from attending regularly. I allow one hour for the session so as not to be rushed, though the meditation itself will usually not exceed 20/30mns.  No special equipment required, though it may be good to wear clothes that are not too tight. We will begin by doing some gentle movements to get into the meditation which is done simply sitting comfortably on a chair. At the end there will be a time for questions or for those who may wish to share around the experience.

The Weaving room can be found in the building on the left as you come into the car park of the Community Centre on Chiltern Avenue, Amersham HP6 5AH.

If you require further information, please email (see poster above for address) or call/text me on 07958 694 644

I look forward to meditating with you

Reporting from the British Fascia Symposium – a pleasure to be joining my French Fasciatherapy colleagues from TMG Concepts, for this event

TMGThis is the translation of the report prepared by TMG Concepts, one of the sponsors of the event.

You can download the original French text from the blog of the Symposium: https://dbmatbfs.wordpress.com/

 

 

The 2nd British Fascia Symposium was very well attended by 200 participants, mostly healhcare professionals from European countries, but also from North America and as far as Australia.BFS4

There was an atmosphere of curiosity, learning, professionalism and warm welcome during the keynote speeches, the workshops and the poster sessions. Interactions between the presenters and the attendees were easy and insructive. It clearly showed how passionate a growing number of practitioners and researchers are about the fascia.

A fundraising gala was organised which allowed the participants to meet and share their experiences around a dinner followed by a show.

1. The keynote speeches

We had two very different and complementary presentations given by two anatomists of international repute, Carla Stecco and Gil Hedley, on the fascia and the locomotor system and their differences. They showed the links and the differences between the superficial fascia and the deep fascia, and highlighted the epimysial fascia (perifascial membranes) for its role of connection between these two particular types of fascial tissues.

BFS5The superficial fascia provides an envelope for the whole body and the mimic muscles, as well as a vast lymphatic, vascular and nervous network. It also plays an essential role in thermoregulation (only 1/5 of blood vessels are in fact dedicated to nutrition), in the regulation of the neuro-vegetative system and fluid drainage (oedemas). Generally speaking, superficial fascia is considered to have an exteroceptive role. G Hedley compared this fascia to a sponge and showed how, contrary to popular belief, it is very resistant to traction and distortion.

Deep fascia is made of 1% of elastic fibres and plays a major role in movement. For C. Stecco, the muscles have two insertions, one to the bone and one to the aponeurosis. The bone insertion transmits local movement and the fascial one organises the wider movement. The transmission of part of the muscular force and the creation of lines of forces in the whole myiofascial system is what allows this wider organisation. The deep fascia is very propriocepive and, for Stecco, the therapeutic approach of this tissue requires not only manual techniques but also movement to recreate the lines of forces. She also notes that when the correct tension is restored in this tissue, proprioception is immediately restored in the area concerned.

Gil Hedly showed us how epimysial fascia is organised in fine layers (filmy fascia), that ensure continuity (strappy fascia) and gliding (slippery fascia) between the superficial fascia and the deep fascia during movement. C. Stecco reminded us that there is a specific fascia for each muscle and that it is responsible for transmitting 30% to 40% of muscular force. She also noted its fundamental role in coordinating the contraction of the various motor units during a movement. This fascia adapts its tonus to the slightest internal and external tensions and distributes these tensions harmoniously throughout the whole myofascial system.

Stecco also made a link between some pathologies and the different types of fascia and posited that each type of fascia may need a specific therapeutic approach.

Two other speakers also talked to us specifically about the fascia :

  • Earls showed the role of the fascia in the evolution of man towards walking upright. He associated in his talk notions of the fascia, paleoanthropology and functional anatomy.
  • In his talk, J. Baker explored the role of the fascia in the structure and the compartmentalization of the human body.

The remaining conferences were centred on specific methods and practices that take the fascia into consideration in their protocoles (stress management, chronic pain management, motor and postural rehabilitation, sports training). Through the variety of the presentations, these authors demonstrated the range of possible applications of research conducted on the fascia in the fields of therapy, prevention and physical activities.

2. The workshops

Each participant was able to select two workshops amongst the 19 on offer. The workshops we attended confirmed how the fascia is increasingly being taken into consideration in understanding, analysing and developing various therapeutic and educative practices and approaches.BFS3

Concepts such as tissular continuity, tensegrity and tissular fluidity are being integrated into areas as diverse as massage and cancer, ligament and joint treatments, neurodynamic and paediatrics. The participants were also able to attend early-bird workshops centred on movement, relaxation, yoga and stretching.

3. The Poster sessions

It was the first time that the BFS were organising poster sessions. Eighteen posters of various kinds were presented (case studies, clinical studies and pilot studies) covering subjects ranging from studies on lumbago, research on self-treating fascia and the impact of fascia-focused techniques on the danse experience and on bodily experiencing.

Amongst those, four were presented by French researchers :

  • Courraud, PhD, PT, presented two studies from his doctoral research that showed the impact of DBM Fasciatherapy on the treatment of pain and on the professional practice of French physiotherapists ;
  • Delval, DO MROF, presented a literature analysis on the role of the fascia in understanding the efficacy of Toggle-Recoil techniques and how they work;
  • Dupuis, PT, MSc, presented a mixed quantitative/qualitative study showing the effects of DBM Fasciatherapy on the bodily experiencing of patients suffering from fibromyalgia.

Out of all the presentations, five posters were selected, giving their authors the opportunity to present their work in a dedicated workshop.

BFS2BFS1

 

BFS 2016 also offered the opportunity to meet again and continue conversations with people who also attended the 4th International Fascia Research Congress in the US last Autumn.

Again it showed that the fascia is a tissue that is getting much interest and unites a variety of people from the fields of health, movement and wellbeing as well as sport and danse. It made us aware that, though research in France is growing, there is a lot more to do to have a place on the international stage.

 

You can download the original French text from the blog of the Symposium: https://dbmatbfs.wordpress.com/

BFS6Article and photography : C. Courraud, C.Dupuis et I. Bertrand – TMG Concept http://tmgconcept.info/

Text and photographs copyrighted to the authors. Reproduction without authorisation is prohibited.

Translation from the French : Hélène Pennel

What is Perceptual Psychoeducation ? translation of an article appearing on website of Cerap, the laboratory doing applied research on Perceptual Psychoeducation

 

To view the original article by Prof Danis Bois in French, click here

Though it is quite academic in style, I hope that this article will give you an understanding of the concepts underlying Perceptual Psychoeducation and of what makes it a unique approach to help and support people looking to develop new ways of being and to find novel solutions to the challenges they encounter in their lives.

 

 

A personal development psychoeducational model, centred on perception and the body

Epistemological field and theoretical framework

Perceptual Psychoeducation is a discipline that sits where psychology and the sciences of education meet. Perceptual Psychoeducation also fits within the transdisciplinary objectives of personal development – as referenced by UNESCO (The International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) and Eurostat – which encompasses any activity that contributes to the development of individual, social, intellectual, behavioural, relational, mental and learning skills and capabilities that constitute a process of personal transformation for the individual.

Within this field, we are studying a psychoeducational model that relies on perceptual resources and potentialities, both as a focus for apprehending the processes involved in the learning and development of attitudes and behaviours, and as a means of action and regulation. Perception is seen as a qualitative mode of relating, as a way of grasping and discriminating information, as a way of understanding things, and finally of perceiving and experiencing oneself in one’s life. Perception is involved in all the sectors of the individual’s relational life : ‘how I perceive myself’, ‘how I perceive others’ and ‘how others perceive me’. As such it concerns primarily issues related to support, coaching and mentoring processes.

Perceptual Psychoeducation as conceptualized by D. Bois shares principles with the humanist (Rogers, Alport, Maslow), positivist (Seligman, Csikszentmihalyi) and existential currents of psychology (Binswanger). It is clearly centred on the individual and not on a pathology. The way in which the practitioner and the individual relate is empathic, benevolent and non-judging. In addition, through the bodily mediation it offers, Perceptual Psychoeducation fosters the development of the individual’s ability to self-relate. This allows them to re-connect with their body and themselves, to be more in tune with the present moment and to perceive anew the problematic situation they face. This approach also endorses the notion of actualizing tendency as defined by C. Rogers, in that it is an approach based on the hypothesis that there is within human nature a fundamental organismic process that tends towards the very best and underlies the individual’s ability to find their own solutions. To this, we add a further dimension – the inner movement – that we posit to be the tangible expression of Roger’s ‘organismic force’. Finally Perceptual Psychoeducation focuses on the inner phenomena lived, thus placing lived experience, particularly bodily sense-felt experience, at the centre of its process.

The concept of perceptual educatibility (éducabilité perceptive, Bois, 2007) at the root of Perceptual Psychoeducation is founded on three notions. The first postulates ­­that, under certain learning conditions, it is possible to enrich perceptual capabilities not sufficiently explored previously. The second advocates the primacy of perception in all cognitive activities and sees it as a resource that optimizes them. The third considers that perception supports a qualitative attention to self, others, the social environment and the world. To this end all the senses are engaged, such as hearing that is seen as the capacity to listen and hear the other and the world, and bodily perception that is viewed as an act of self-perception through the inner tact that stimulates the development of self-awareness. This concept has been developed further in the research of Berger (2004) and Bourhis (2007).

Definition of Perceptual Psychoeducation’s eight key concepts

Through the research carried out within the CERAP, we have developed and clarified eight key concepts that bring innovative perspectives to the field of personal development and support-, coaching- and mentoring- based practices. Each of these key concepts are discussed in the articles and research papers that are cited on this website, some of which are referred to in the present article.

  1. The concept of somato-psychic unity (or body-mind unity) represents a particular mode of action that, as a result of using the tools of perceptual psychoeducation, engages the individual simultaneously at the somatic and mental level. The somatic techniques used lead to mental shifts that bring possible solutions. This concept underlies that of the psychotonus – the organic expression of the interaction between body and mind. This particular tissular tonus is mobilised using the practical tools of Perceptual Psychoeducation and appears as a marker of the state of mental tension. (ex. Courraud, 2007 ; Bertrand, date)
  2. The concept of perceptual-cognitive modifiability is founded on the fact that the act of perceiving is the starting point of the cognitive activity and of the unfolding of meaning at the origin of the process of transformation of the individual. It modelises the transformational process in 7 stages : the lived moment of experience, conscious experiencing, learning arising from the experience, awareness of the meaning (for the person’s life), the decision to take action, implementing the decision, reflecting back on the change and regulating (Bois, 2005 ; Santos, 2006)
  3. The concept of actuative reciprocity defines how intersubjectivity is engaged in empathic relationship. It unfolds within corporeality and results in internal information circulating between the agents of the relationship. (Dubois, 2010 ; Bourhis, 2007, 2012)
  4. The concept of out-of-the-ordinary experience sets the model of support offered by Perceptual Psychoeducation in the field of experiencial learning, in that it is through experience that learning occurs. The out-of-the-ordinary element of this is that the body-focused experience offered is unusual and stimulates new attentional, perceptual and reflective abilities that bring about new understanding. (Bourhis, 2007, 2012)
  5. The concept of processual development of the relationship to the Sensible(*) models the various constituents of the bodily sense-felt experiencing that the person relates having lived during their out-of-the-ordinary experience : warmth, wholeness, presence, sense of existence and of existing. These items lead to a hermeneutic of the lived experience. (Bois, 2007)   (*) We use the French term here, not the English that carries a slightly different meaning.
  6. The concept of ‘forthcoming’ gives priority to the experiencing that relates to the now moment of the experience as it unfolds. In the context of a Perceptual Psychoeducation session, the facilitator ensures that the attention of the person is turned towards the new information that is arising and is likely to bring insights on dark areas of the past. (Bois, 2009)
  7. The concept of knowing through contrast is specific of the way in which sense and meaning takes form in a Perceptual Psychoeducation session. The new bodily experiencing that arises reveals previous postures and attitudes. By contrasting these elements, the person will begin to unfold their own process of transformation. (Bois, 2007)
  8. The concept of informed directiveness refers to a verbalisation protocol that facilitates making sense of what is implicit in the bodily experience. This concept rests on the need to actively stimulate the attention of the person through targeted prompts to allow them to describe all the nuances they lived during the out-of-the-ordinary experience. (Bois, 2005 ; Rosenberg, 2007)

Practical modalities

All the learning tasks offered through Perceptual Psychoeducation are designed to stimulate maximum perception through body-focused experiencing. As such the body we refer to is resolutely a phenomenal body, a Sensible (*) body, which supports and is active in learning.

Perceptual Psychoeducation is put into practice in support-, coaching- and mentoring-based processes through the following modalities : relational touch, internalised movement expressivity, sensorial introspection, one-on-one or group verbal dialogue, and writing.

Relational touch acts as a vehicle for learning to be in relationship with self. It allows the individual to focus their attention on the various bodily experiences generated by the touch and to acknowledge the quality of presence they have to themselves. It also nourishes reflection on bodily sensing which then becomes truly experiential and leads to a gradual broadening of perspectives. (Courraud, 2007 ; Bourhis, 2007)

Movement expressivity is an invitation to externalize the subtle motions of inner experiencing. By doing this, it allows the individual to dare to appear in their originality and their own particular richness. This process unfolds through the innovative and specific movement practice of the Sensible. (Didot-Rigaux, 2013 ; Devoghel, 2015)

Sensorial introspection is a meditative practice that develops presence to self and body. It stimulates attentional, perceptual, cognitive and mental skills to serve the fulfilment of human potential in health and wellbeing. It is facilitated through a guided verbal protocol that allows participants to grasp, discriminate and manage in real time emotions, negatives thoughts, erroneous representations and in more concrete terms to have an effect on health, anxiety and stress. (Bourhis, Bois, 2010 ; Nottale, 2015 ; Cencig, 2014 ; Rapin, 2012)

Verbal facilitation, one-on-one or in a group, provides a space for verbal expression that allows the person to articulate their life’s problems in a way that is in line with humanist principles and more particularly the non-directiveness of Carl Rogers. To this we add the concept of informed directiveness of Bois (2005) to draw sense and meaning from the sense-felt experience and explore how this may feed into daily life. It is a moment of verbalising that can unfold in real-time of the experience, immediately after or much later. (Rosenberg, 2007 ; Schreiber, 2011)

Writing facilitation is a tool that allows the person to leave a trace of their experience so that in time they are able to validate it and open it out to others, a process that will lead to new understanding. It usually begins in the form of a log book or a personal journal which is then shared with the practitioner allowing new meaning to emerge from the process. (Hillion, 2010)

The main applications of Perceptual Psychoeducation

Perceptual Psychoeducation offers wellness, growth and change management professionals an added tool to enrich their own practice.

As demonstrated throughout our website, Perceptual Psychoeducation is an approach that, by nature, is both concerned with all the dimensions of the individual – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual – and centred on human potentiality. As such it is currently finding applications in a great variety of fields such as health and wellbeing, education and support for children, adult education, professional coaching, performing arts and the living arts.

Scientific and practical goals

By offering epistemological, methodological and practical tools to chart the process of transformation of the individual and the development of human potential, Perceptual Psychoeducation contributes to raising the profile of the personal development field in the scientific world.

It welcomes researchers and practitioners who wish to participate in validating and giving value to support-, coaching- and mentoring-based practices that are founded on human subjectivity and how it can be studied and presented in an objective way.

It suggests a posture that is simultaneously one of observer and researcher engaged in the field to chart the living reality of experience and of the profound meaning of life.

 

 

The body-mind link… a virgin territory

Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 16.00.47

This is an article I wrote for the Autumn/Winter 2014 issue of Design for Life magazine, a free local lifestyle magazine promoting wellbeing, green living, positive thinking and creativity. The article appears p 23.

 

 

 

 

 

Who runs the show in your life ? Is it your mind ? Is it your heart ?

Questions that of course we each bring our own answer to, but often it is either our mind or our heart that rules – and hopefully they take it in turn ! So we lead a double life where each lives in a separate room and sometimes they manage to meet and talk to each other to agree on a common strategy.

 But what about the body in all this ?

As Westerners we tend to experience our bodies mostly through pain, pleasure and effort, and of course our emotions. We know there is an interaction between body and mind, but where does it take place and what does it really mean to us?

So what if…. what if there is indeed a place, a place where the so-called body-mind link is a tangible reality to be experienced, not just a concept to explain the interactions between the body and the mind.

What if in this place the heart and the mind can find rest in their long battle ? What if they can interact in harmony, neither dominating the other, but both nourishing each other in a constant dialogue bringing fresh perspectives ?

It is like a virgin territory, a place that is free from our individual story and our thought and emotional habits, a place of balance where calm, peace, fluidity and positivity prevail, a slow moving landscape where it is possible to find comfort in the midst of the turmoils of our lives.

 A dream you might say… !

Personally it is a reality that I experience in my daily life and it underlies the body-centred techniques that I have been using for 16 years to accompany people to feel better in their lives.

It has not changed my world but how I feel in it and how I interact with it, making me a more conscious actor of my life, and I hope more positive, empathic and compassionate in my relationships to others.

What a fasciatherapy session feels like… Victoria Birch from Elite Magazine reports

Screen Shot 2014-10-12 at 18.13.47The stresses and strains of everyday life can often result in depression, aching limbs and sleepless nights. Hélène Pennel uses a technique called Fasciatherapy, to gently stretch out tension from the inside. 

We all experience days when we get to wound up from the pressures of life, that our bodies feel like they need to be stretched. Muscle stiffness from sitting at desks, slouching on the sofa, stress, anxiety, and lack of sleep – or even from pain or injury – makes us all feel desperate for some respite. I hadn’t heard of Fasciatherapy before I went to meet Hélène. But as I lay down on the bed, her hypnotic, calming voice instantly relaxed me.
She gently cupped her hands under my arm pits and lightly stretched, bizarrely causing a tingly sensation in my tummy. But as Hélène explained the treatment, it suddenly made sense. Fasciatherapy is a soft tissue therapy consisting of gentle pressure and stretching of the body’s connective tissues, called the fascia, that forms a web which covers, links and separates all the parts of your body, relieving tension.
Hélène worked around my body, but not in any specific order, instead unravelling the path of the tensions that she is able to tune in to through her touch, stimulating lymph flow, revitalising organs, oiling joints and relaxing muscles.
At the end of the session I didn’t want to get up. It had well and truly zapped me. Hélène told me that as patients relax, they can often experience changes from feeling emotional, alive, positive or calm.
On a personal level, I felt like I was in a dream and was struggling to wake up. I walked around in a daze for a good half an hour, before being alert enough to drive home.
The tingles moved all over the body putting me into a trance-like state where  my brain was struggling to think of anything of great significance, and Hélène’s presence and touch was surprisingly comforting and soothing.