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Understanding & Healing Reactive Patterns (character theory) (Portland, OR)

Is this for you?
You have taken a class series with me before and have been practicing Compassionate Communication (NVC).  From your practice you know that there are underlying reactive patterns that interfere with your ability to access the skills you have been practicing.  You recognize that turning towards these reactive patterns requires you feel vulnerable and be present with uncomfortable feelings.  You recognize that working with these reactive patterns means attending to healing around past events.  You trust that the group structure I offer and your own resources will allow you to do some of this difficult work in our eight week series.

What's it all about?
In this eight week class you will have the opportunity to work with common reactive patterns you find in yourself and others. These reactive patterns are called "character theory" in Hakomi (also known as body-centered therapy).  These reactive patterns tend to be less obvious and more chronic.  They point to a need for healing often in relationship to childhood experiences. 

You will practice identifying the subtle parts of these reactive patterns. You will also have the opportunity to learn and practice requests, strategies, healing responses, and missing experiences to meet needs and begin to heal, and dissolve the associated reactive patterns.  This course incorporates principles, exercises, and content from Hakomi along with the consciousness, skills, and framework of Compassionate Communication.  The focus is on both healing and skill building.

Each week you will get to study a specific need, where you meet it easily, what interferes with that need being met and what reactive patterns tend to arise when you perceive a threat to that need. You will study the reactive pattern through physical embodiment of that pattern and through experiential exercises that highlight how that pattern functions in a specific context.  

You will then cultivate a compassionate relationship to these reactive patterns through self-empathy, honest expression, and empathy.  At any time you can apply what we learn and practice to loved ones in your life. For example, you might want to consider how you can offer support in a way that your partner, parent, child, etc., can receive more easily.

The course includes an extensive handout and you will be asked to read a section of your handout before each class.  It's important to have your handout with you for every class.

Week 1 – Universal Needs = Safety and Belonging: Reactive pattern - Overwhelmed/Withdraw

Week 2 – Universal Needs = Support / Nourishment: Reactive pattern - Abandoned/Collapsed

Week 3 – Universal Needs = Support / Nourishment: Reactive pattern - Alienated/Self-Negating

Week 4 – Universal Needs = Authenticity, Power, & Intimacy: Reactive pattern - Hurt/Invulnerable

Week 5 – Universal Needs = Authenticity, Power, & Intimacy: Reactive pattern - Betrayed/Indirect

Week 6 – Universal Needs = Autonomy & Interdependence: Reactive pattern - Burdened/Enduring

Week 7 – Universal Needs = Recognition & Community (Being Seen/heard, Acceptance): Reactive pattern – Ignored/Industrious

Week 8 – Universal Needs = Recognition & Community (Being Seen/heard, Acceptance): Reactive pattern – Rejected/Intensifying

Week 1 – Safety and Belonging: Reactive pattern -Overwhelmed/Withdraw
You will be introduced to terminology for the course.  Terms include:  state of consciousness, categories of experience, missing experience, healing response, neural network, embodiment.
You will learn about the origin of the universal reactive patterns and how they function in general.  This will include a discussion of needs met & needs at cost, emotional wounding and missing developmental experiences and the healing responses that go along with them.
You will work with the first pattern and basic needs using the three fold approach that we will use in each class.  This approach includes:  1) Compassion:  Cultivate compassionate witnessing of your experience.  2) Wisdom:  dis-identify with the pattern (this means seeing through it to the truth of what is happening in a given moment).  3)  Skillfulness:  Take new action that leads to healing, integration, and well-being.

Week 2 – Support: Reactive pattern - Abandoned/Collapsed
We will begin with an embodied experience of the Abandoned/Collapsed pattern.  This class will focus on nourishment, how it is given and received and not received.  You will be introduced to the “Needs Cycle”, originally called the sensitivity cycle in the gestalt framework.  You will have the opportunity to study how you move and where you get stuck on the needs cycle.

Week 3 – Support: Reactive pattern - Alienated/Self-Negating
You will continue to look at your relationship to nourishment and support and how it shows up in the alienated/self-negating pattern.  You will have an opportunity to practice making requests as well as learning to invite others into collaboration who are running the alienated/self-negating pattern.

Week 4 – Authenticity, Power, & Intimacy Reactive pattern - Hurt/Invulnerable
True power is an ability to act in harmony with others from a place of authenticity.  This “power over” reactive pattern arises from experiences in which the vulnerable and authentic you was shamed and/or not honored and celebrated.  In addition to working with this pattern in the three fold way we do for each class, you will have opportunity to become familiar with the subtle signs of power over, power under, and power with.

Week 5 – Authenticity, Power, & Intimacy Reactive pattern - Betrayed/Indirect
In this more sophisticated “power over” pattern, a sense of authenticity and solid self can be even more elusive.  You will study the subtle ways someone in this pattern manipulates situations to gain power and meet needs indirectly.  We will focus particularly on boundaries and how they can be held in a healthy way when you are facing this pattern in yourself and others.

Week 6 – Autonomy & Interdependence Reactive pattern - Burdened/Enduring
You can be fully who are, have your needs met, and be in relationship.  For someone caught in the burdened/enduring pattern, these three things don’t go together.  From the perspective of this pattern, it’s easier to set your needs aside, put your head down, and just endure for the sake of others.  You will have the opportunity to find freedom from this pattern by claiming your own needs and expressing clear requests.

Week 7 – Recognition & Community (Being Seen/heard, Acceptance) Reactive pattern – Ignored/Industrious
Being a high achiever or hard worker is a reliable way to earn acceptance in many cultures.  However it often comes at high costs, like stress related illnesses, the "I'm so busy" disease, and neglect of relationships.  You will have a chance to experience and discover simple ways to meet the needs for acceptance and being seen and heard.

Week 8 – Recognition & Community (Being Seen/heard, Acceptance) Reactive pattern – Rejected/Intensifying
In some families even high achievement doesn't earn recognition.  Getting louder and more expressive gets attention even if that attention doesn't turn into acceptance, it's better than not being seen at all.  Of course, when you are caught in this pattern, your expression doesn't seem intense to you.  It's just the way it is.  You will have an opportunity see the layers of this pattern as well as how not to get hooked by someone else running it.

Need more information before deciding whether or not to join?  Give me a call (503-544-7583) or send me an email with your questions or concerns.


Every Thursday evening 6:30 -9:00 for 8 weeks, beginning January 18, 2018.
Friends Meeting House
4312 SE Stark, Portland OR 97215
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$275.00   Register Online
The pre-requisites for this course are that you have taken a course series with me before and have an active NVC practice or are a hakomi therapist or in training as a hakomi therapist.  Class size is limited in this course to 12 - 16 participants.

This course will include an extensive handout that you will receive before the series begins.  Taking time to read the handout before we begin will help you to benefit more fully from our time together.

CANCELLATION POLICY:  to meet needs for inclusion, security, and predictability refunds are only given if requested 72 hours before the start of the course, so please discern carefully.