The rhythm of life does not give us a rest. Сonstant stress is exhausting and lead to malfunctions in the body. It turns out that our condition can and should be managed. And you can learn it by using the Greenberg method.
Insomnia is when you lie with your eyes closed for hours under a blanket, tired to the point that you can not even think – thoughts turn into swollen logs. This is when the pressure around the eye sockets become strong and blunt. And then comes the morning and have to get up, brush your teeth and somehow function. Your head is occupied by lack of sleep thin needles, but you still can’t sleep.
I was covered by this condition last year and it lasted for several months. It is an unbearable feeling. I started to complain to friends and discovered that many of my friends go to sleep only with the help of pills for insomnia. This means that if someone decided to spend a night and forgot medications at home, he or she won’t be able to sleep.
A record number of westerners are on tablets for insomnia. Statistics shows that this number is constantly increasing over the years.
I confess, I did not want to resort to the help of medicine to cope with this illness – since childhood I was intimidated by side effects. Moreover, I value my independence. So I decided to try to find another way to solve an unexpected problem.
Once I was talking with my friend, which is a neuropsychologist, born and raised in India, educated in the US and working in Germany for seven years.
“I was always amazed that the tradition of physical contact between doctor and patient is not considered as a necessary part of the process in the western psychotherapeutics. On the contrary, it is considered as almost a violation of medical ethics. But why? How can I deal with consciousness, mood, psychological trauma without using corporal practices? For me, as a neuropsychologist, it is clear that the body and mind are closely related. ” – my friend said.
Now there is a variety of tools (MRI, etc.), allowing fixing the changing parameters of consciousness that affect our body. Now you can keep track of which parts of the brain are activated, what kind of brain activity occurs under the influence of the physical parameters of change.
After the words of my friend, I decided to look for professionals who are already practicing similar techniques and able to help me. I assumed that there must be something like yoga to influence the mind and the body. We have to admit that my personal experience and that of those around me, is associated with “normal” conversational psychotherapy and medicine. Get ill, drink tablet, get depressed – go to a psychotherapist.
My other friend works as a normal psychotherapist in New York. She told me the following:
“Working with the body is very important. Mental reactions are directly related to breathing, tension and relaxation of muscles, the release of hormones and so on. For example, if we are frightened, we breathe quickly and superficially. If we consciously start to breathe slower and deeper, fear and panic retreat. It is useful to know and use breathing techniques and relaxation. In a session of hypnotherapy the client sinks into a deep state of relaxation and going to work with the breath, emotions, and bodily sensations. Such sessions often cure phobias and post-traumatic stress syndrome. There are customers who need just such an approach. If the client says he wants to understand himself, to understand his life, to make his character more flexible, I use psychodynamic therapy methods. I can think of doing yoga, breathing exercises to show or discuss cognitive techniques. But first of all we will talk about the history of his life, about for how the injury affects his behavior, his dreams, dreams, respect for self and others. For example, I have a patient who said she came to me, because she can’t experience any feelings and often do not know what normal people should feel. I do not think that a specialist in cognitive therapy or hypnotherapy would help. We worked a lot on her childhood memories and relationships in her family, and eventually she got access to her feelings. ”
“There is a variety of approaches and techniques for working with clients. There is a different degree of physical contact with each of them. Such a variety of techniques allows customers to choose the right therapist. There is no physical contact in the psychodynamic model. For a certain class of customers this way is the best one. In any case, it is important to set clear boundaries: session begins at exactly a certain time, has a certain length, the price, the therapist and the client does not come in friendship or a romantic relationship outside of the office. No physical contact – one of the parameters. Such boundaries create certainty and a sense of the unique, safe space where the customer is free to think and talk about things that he never told anyone. I often hear these words from clients: “I had never thought am about this,” “I will never admit it even to myself,” … Of course, there are revelations on a massage table. It just happens in a different way. ”
Traditional psychotherapy is incredibly interesting, but I needed another way. By chance, I met a girl who came from Argentina and worked on the so-called “Greenberg method.” Experience of communicating with her was unique and completely delivered me from insomnia. Besides, it changed my ideas about what it means to be healthy, how to treat my body.
The creator of “physically oriented therapy” method is Avi Greenberg. The basic idea of the method is quite simple and logical. Most of the historical time we lived as hunter-gatherers. Our fear and stress have helped us to survive in a hostile environment: ancient ancestor saw the edge of the shadow of the tiger, there was an immediate rush of adrenalin in his body, he jumped up and ran without feeling pain and fatigue. And so until he was safe. Here comes the stress remission and ineffable joy of salvation.
We always run somewhere, but do not have time to get away from debt, from noise, from the danger of unfulfilled desires. Our stress accumulates in our body, causing insecurity, phobias, or even physical pain. In my case it was insomnia. Ideal medical problem for the doctor who uses the method of Greenberg – to teach the patient to cope with his fears and heal himself. Fears are not going anywhere, they were and will be always with us. The question is how to respond. Greenberg teaches to manage fears and enjoy them, because the release of adrenaline in the blood is nice. Fear is always associated with a sense of novelty, discovery of something new. But if we manage this feeling wrong, we do not know how to breathe and relax, then the consequences can be extremely negative for our body .
Nicole Pieper (my friend) itself learned the method of Greenberg by accident. She moved to Berlin to get a psychologist education, and got on the workshop of one of the practicing physicians by the Greenberg method. She immediately signed up for the other workshops and became involved in groups and individually.
To become a practitioner by the Greenberg method you need a minimum of 3 years to complete several courses in 330 academic hours. Then everyone who wants to become a member of the International Greenberg Association will need to train and be in contact with each other.
The session begins with a foot massage and a leisurely conversation. Almost like in a conventional psychotherapy patient is questioned about his health and well-being, his desires and problems. Of course, I talked about the horrors of insomnia and about my family situation – the long-term threats and divorce courts. In my case, it was obvious that it provoked insomnia. The only question was whether it is possible to get rid of the effects of long stress without medication.
In the first few sessions I learned that I can’t relax. Ironically, relaxation requires concentration, breathing and concentration of attention. It looks like a massage during which you speak and asked to breath, then relax. Sometimes it is terribly painful. My back turned out to be overstrained. I lived for many months, not knowing and not being able to relax it. No wonder I could not sleep. If I had continued to live in the same mode, probably, I would develop a strong headache.
At some point, Nicole pushes a particular muscle and says: “Does it hurt? Relax and breathe directly in this place! Concentrate, think about it, and breathe! Now everything goes away! “. Surprisingly, if I managed to relax, the pain disappeared immediately, and there came a state of total peace and control over my body and emotions.
I read about the Greenberg Method and listened to an online interview. It turns out that this method appeared in Israel and has been developed as a mechanism to fight chronic pain.
Israel is a country where people have been forced to live under the yoke of fear and stress. In addition, there are many people who survived the Holocaust. This is just classic story: a man who runs away from the danger of death, but can neither be saved nor perish. He is forced to live under the yoke of stress, not knowing how to get rid of it. Evolution does not give us a natural tool to live under the yoke of the ongoing danger. So people had to invent these tools.
It takes time and discipline in order to master them. I was incredibly lucky – Nicole was a skilled doctor. Just after a few lessons I have connected the physical sensations of stress, discomfort and fear with specific muscles and poses. In fact, Nicole led me through a series of training, allowing me to control my own body.
I started to sleep. If I feel that I can not sleep, I’m not scared. I know I can handle it.
If I had been taught to enjoy, not to be afraid, do not be shy, to breathe and relax, I would have grown up a completely different person. Much more happy and free.