Born in the UK : The 1st coupling of Evolutionary Breathwork and Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy anywhere in the World.

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A few notes from David Parker . . .

_DSF6211-Edit-Edit-EditAs many of you know, I’ve been involved with Somatic Breathwork for 30 years this year and always seeking new arenas to work in with Breathwork. When I started Breathwork in 1988 it was seen as a New Age modality, slightly ‘off the wall’ back then, dealing with Birth Trauma under the title of what was called Rebirthing. 

The Rebirthing process of 20 individual sessions healed my physical, mental and emotional maladies so I took Practitioner Courses with The Loving Relationships Training ( LRT ), working with this American concept for 3 years, birthed out in California but trained in London & Madrid.

Thirty years later, neuroscience has proved that we really were onto something, as Breathwork now enters mainstream methods of healing. Almost 20 years into the new century, trauma & addiction have bedded into epidemic proportions now these subjects are openly discussed in print, tv and social media. Time to drop the shames, hurts, emotional wounding and silence that hoard our lives and begin to BREATHE again.

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This first weekend in September 2018, South Derbyshire, LEAP Trainer Mike Delaney and I engineered a unique powerful dimension of experience to Trauma work and Addiction Recovery in the UK. LEAP is not only the leading EFP Training Programme in the UK but THE FIRST Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy Programe in the World to marry up ‘Concious Connected Breathing’ Groupwork before participants work with the horses in the fields with EFP. 

40574309_1915728352066772_8981569505553547264_nOn the One Day Workshop on Saturday we breathed a group of fully qualified EFP Practitioners, 8 in all, who had never used ‘Conscious Connected Breathing’ before, so it was a new experience for them.

The TeePee allowed 8 to lie on the floor, on yoga mats into a rounded star shape, heads in the middle, with cushions and blankets for support. After the 1 hour breathing session, where emotions were released, silence was the order of the moment, no verbal processing, then they were led, still a bit spacey into the fields of horses. . . .

After this 45 minute space of silence with the horses, a group share confirmed the power of combining Breathwork & Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy.

After a lunch break we repeated the process with horses first, then ending with another 1 hour group breathing session, this time away from the previous star shape. The teepee just managed to place all participants in a traditional ‘side by side’ format, with ease of movement.

This was my first time working in a rounded teepee shape, so had no idea, until we laid people down how many we could get in. It worked well with me leading and Mike assisting. Feedback from LEAP participants this inaugural weekend has been amazing, leading us into plans for 2019. 

“What a glorious day to be working with the healing power of horses and the power of breath work what an amazing therapeutic combination!

I’m so enjoying being with horses again! Thank you Mike, David and Sarah for hosting this with LEAP “. What a wonderfully connecting and joyous workshop  Looking forward to the next one.” E.D.

“Amazing is what it is!” M.F.    “Incredible” D.M. 

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Thank you David for yesterday. Can’t really voice or explain but the experience was weird, amazing and hugely healing. I couldnt share everything as we would have been there all day but suffice to say I feel so different. Much happier. More understanding of myself. Proud to have made it this far. Hope to have many more adventures to come, want to continue this. So powerful xxx. “ C.

 
“Thanks ever so much for today David. Fascinating stuff! K. x”

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The following day Sunday 2nd September was the Graduation Ceremony of those completing a LEAP EFP Practitioner Training and I was invited to breathe 10 of them in the teepee, the results of which were equalling astonishing.

Requests for more were vocal to say the least.
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mike-delaney-e1494176854124Mike Delaney continues this blog with his responses . . . .

Having had life-changing experiences at two of David Parker’s Morocco Breathwork Retreats, I felt very strongly that there was a synergy between what he does through breathwork and what I do through working with horses.

I wasn’t sure what it would look like or how it would work but I knew it was something that we had to explore and our ideas came to fruition yesterday, 1st September 2018, when we facilitated the worlds first Breathwork and Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy Workshop.

Following the morning “breathe”, and without verbal processing, the 8 participants remained silent and entered the fields of 8 horses, taking with them the energy and feelings which had emerged during the 1hr Breathwork Session.

40525793_10155816017261200_3649373981301014528_nHaving done this work for many years now, I was first struck by the focus of all of the horses on the tepee and the curiosity they held for what had been going on inside. As the participants wandered into the herd, various horses gently approached each of them and gently nuzzled or nudged. At no point did any horses move away or become energized by 8 strangers wandering into their space. They positively welcomed it and actively sought out human contact. It was very beautiful to watch and is not the normal reaction to a human invasion of the field.

It seems to me that the breathwork cleared channels and released negative energy for the participants, bringing them fully and completely into their bodies. The non-verbal rule meant that they had to hold the experience and this is what the horses sought out. Within minutes, the horses were in a similar state of relaxation as the humans, as if they had absorbed the special energy of the breathwork and they loved it!

The participants spent 45minutes with horses, in silence, and at no point did I have to intervene, or manage any horses behaviour, either with humans or with each other. For the most part they stood still and enjoyed the experience with their visitors. It truly was a very special connection for everyone.

Sarah, who had been outside during the Breathe, said that when we were nearing the end (She was unaware but we asked participants to lie on their sides in the foetal position and breathe normally) EVERY horse in the field stopped and looked towards the tepee, clearly sensing a shift in energy.

At the end of both sessions, it felt like horse and human had become absolutely happy and contented in the beautiful new, calming energy.

I feel that we are in the early stages of a new and developing therapeutic combination which can benefit the emotional well-being of the horses as well as the humans and this fills me with hope and excitement about what the future may hold.  

Mike Delaney MBACP RNMH RMA

Mental Health/Addictions Specialist 

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My New Adventure. Linking Breathwork with Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy.

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Mike Delaney attended 2 of our Marrakech 5 day Retreats ( over a 7 day period ) in 2016 and 2017.

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“This week has been one of the most profound, mind-blowing, painful at times but spiritually healing experiences of my recovery.

I would highly recommend URBAN Lifeclass Coaching and Breathwork Retreats to anyone who wants to go that little bit deeper in self development work. You have to be brave enough to trust the process but, My God it’s worth it!!

My utmost gratitude to David Parker and Meleeshka for their knowledge and skills and to all of my new friends for their love, support and laughter every day. Thank you so much x “

Mike Delaney RNMH MBACP
Addictive Behaviour Specialist

Mike Delaney is a leading authority in the treatment of addictions with over 30 years’ consultancy experience with individuals, rehabilitation centres, and professional bodies in the UK and internationally.

There was no Equine Assisted Therapy on our Retreat, Mike came for his own well-being, but all details are on his website http://www.mikedelaney.co.uk

http://www.mikedelaney.co.uk/equine-assisted-psychotherapy/

Expert Witness

Workshops are full of people who think they are experts, they think they know what’s best for us when they often hardly know what’s best for themselves. Such is life, and we eventually forgive those steeped in codependent armour, as well as ourselves for not speaking up while spoken too. I think that the only expert that works longterm is our OWN experience, and since we are often dismissive of ourselves, we dismiss the value of our input. When we witness honesty and emotion from deep sharing of others it can provoke vibrative memory of buried treasure, and help us to dig further within our psyche in order to achieve forgiveness. This is the real energy behind workshops and seminar probing.

Robin Norwood who wrote Women Who Love Too Much, set herself up as expert and ten years after forgave herself by writing WHY ME, WHY THIS, WHY NOW – A Guide to Answering Life’s Toughest Questions, when her life car crashed. She experienced true humility by going public and sharing this experience of falling off ivory towers. Within my 20 year journey of leading workshops I have heard amazing truths revealed, including incest, which plugs in the whole training.

She writes the following about an abuser.

” To truly forgive requires that we truly understand. We must be able to look clearly at the whole picture, recoil from none of it, deny none of it, accept it all. In a way this means that we must become EXPERTS regarding which that we must forgive, seeing all sides, not just our own.

An example : I was in a workshop on the treatment of incest many years ago when, halfway through the morning, one of the participants identified himself as an aggressor who had sexually abused his daughter. For a long moment there was a stunned silence. Then he went on to describe his incarceration, the therapy he and his family had received, and his recovery of many years duration.

He now counseled male offenders incarcerated for the same offences he had committed. With his wife and daughter, he participated in group discussions for the families of these men. His honesty created an environment that allowed other workshop participants to talk about their own experiences with sexual abuse.

Because he modeled courage and dignity and humility as well as honesty, he made it easier for some of the therapists in the room who were also incest victims to gain more understanding of the person who had violated them. We stopped interacting as professionals and became EXPERTS instead, drawing on our EXPERIENCE as we struggled to understand this human problem. Such understanding, when achieved, leads eventually to forgiveness – and forgiveness is the final step in our healing.

Through forgiveness we are forgiven. “

In sharing our deepest shames we dissolve the pain of holding on. I have attracted many women and men over two decades who are adult survivors of child abuse and used Rebirthing Breathwork to gently bring them back to feelings without overwhelm, recovery without self loathing, hope without silence. In 1992 my brother went to prison for pleading guilty to abusing his step daughter for 5 years. I had to forgive him, but closed the door on future contact as he was not ready to take responsibility for his actions. I left a contact number but no call has been dialed. Not my stuff.

I sometimes wonder where he is, whether his alcoholism rebirthed his life or whether amends have been made. Sometimes we don’t need to know.

The Family Way

Codependency can be about not knowing where you end – and others begin – physically, emotionally, intellectually or spiritually within the family. There are no healthy boundaries.

Maybe you don’t know what you really stand for except your job.  Go to a party or social gathering and people will ask you who you are, what do you say? Are you someones partner, a middle-class professional career, a fraud, a celebrity, a nobody, a carer, a rescuer, a FAKE?

When does your work identity end and the real you emerge?

John Bradshaw writes extensively about Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families and is the name to look for on Amazon. Here is a list of dysfunctional traits that stand to be corrected.

Then you will see why people in therapy say it’s the best investment they have made and why people brought up in a home of emotional supression, family secrets, rows and confrontation refuse to blow the lid off. But then if you don’t, something else will in later life, the memory will return to double you up in pain to stumble.

Abandonment issues * Delusion and Denial * Family Secrets * Isolation even in a crowd * Constant Worry * Control Freakery * 24 hour Guard Duty / Hypervigilant * Internalized Shame * Lack of Boundaries * Grandiose behaviour * Reactive & Reenacting * Numbed Out * Fixated Personality * Out of Touch with body & feelings * Faulty Communication * Withdrawn and under involved * Never Satisfied * Compulsive Addictive * Intimacy Problems * Over involved fixer * Abuse Victim * Lack of coping skills * Confused Identity * Depression avoider via Activity * Judgemental Perfectionism * No trust * Loss of your own Reality * Inveterate Dreamer * Spiritual Bankruptcy – lacking non-religious faith of any kind * Equifinality

EQUIFINALITY ?  – No matter where you begin, you end up in the same place.

Functional they may be but mobile phones are the current tool to practice lack of boundaries. In a dysfunctional family respect is vague, faded and obscured. In a train carriage or a restaurant table boundaries are broken left right and centre, becoming a curse of modern life that we bare because we think we can’t live without them. We put up with it in much the same way we put up with family dysfunction. We become exhausted with asking, people not listening, not respecting etc that we numb out ( see list above ). When a child is abused in the home the body remembers.

Every time you feel shock, you hold your breath. Next time you have sex check whether your breath is held. Every family memory you carry into adulthood including verbal abuse, put downs . . reside within, gasping for air.

These are just a few examples of lack of boundaries. Today’s task is to consider your own.

To help you do this flick through these links until you find something that resonates.
Then use it as a starting board to write down where dysfunctional boundaries have occurred in your life, they may be your own, your co-workers friends or family. Once you realize where a boundary has been crossed, take steps to correct this. Therapy is an advantage in learning to do this but often a simple explanation to someone, eyeball to eyeball, with a balanced tone to the voice can correct an action seldom to repeat.

I vont to be alone.

There is some debate as to whether Greta Garbo actually said ‘I want to be alone’ in the MGM film GRAND HOTEL. She is famously quoted as saying : I never said, ” I want to be alone”. I only said ” I want to be left alone . There is all difference”. Pedantic or not, Garbo knew that the devil was in the detail. Being alone, being lonely and being isolated are all different strands of the seemingly same string. Tried and tested recovery material states that an addict alone is bad company. I guess that is because the ego as companion can weave many tales from the committee in the head, while convincing you of the value of self-sufficiency.

Corinne Sweet in her book OVERCOMING ADDICTION writes an excellent piece on this.

” Isolation is the root of all addiction. We can feel that nobody understands us, nobody really cares and that we have to fight our corner on our own. Isolation means retreating into ourselves, not believing that anyone is out there for us, and that everyone else had it easy. When you give up your addictions, for good, you necessarily have to give up isolation. This means looking around yourself and asking for help. This can be terrifying, especially if you have always done everything for yourself and don’t believe other people are there for you. You may feel that other people could not cope with your needs ( or deny them altogether ) because you don’t want to risk being disappointed. You will only stay free for good if you decide to give up your isolation – no matter how desirable it seems to hang on to it – if you ask for, seek out, even demand, continuing positive support. “

For those who can afford to be alone without self harming, eating slabs of chocolate in one go or risking boredom might suggest that recovering obsessives & compulsives aren’t safe to be left alone, when in fact the recovery process teaches the difference between being alone, feeling lonely or teenage bedroom isolation. If only the rest of society has access to such learned material we would all benefit. In a relationship men are often accused of ” being moody ” when half the time they want to be left alone, need space to be alone and can’t express it so they just clam up. The most healthy relationships have a holiday period built in so each partner can holiday alone, be it a week or a weekend. To most people that’s not ” being in a relationship “. What’s the point of giving your ALL to someone and they want to lie on a beach ALONE. It’s not what they signed up for.

Well the point of this interdependent arrangement is that we do need space alone to re-find ourselves, to create courage sometimes to tell our truth to ourselves first, and then the partner. Every relationship needs air in it, but many are in a unsteady relationship because of fear of being alone, which is another kettle of fish – a kettle called codependency. This misguided vision of romantic love works well until they leave you, then you have to play the hunting game all over again to feel whole. So the prospect of traveling alone, living alone or working alone is as fearful as a gambler missing the bet..

So the thread of today’s blog is to recall the last time you went somewhere on your own.

It took me ages to go to the cinema or theatre alone. It’s essential to get rid of the johnny no mates concept, people are so absorbed in their own self obsession that they aren’t interested in who is sitting in row D. Trust me. Learning to be with yourself alone, to give yourself attention, to use the space for solitude or meditation of any kind will serve you well in future. Taking a train ride to the nearest stretch of water, kicking stones on a beach or witnessing ducks play is all part of your further education.

Now if you will excuse me, I vont to be alone.