BROWSE EBOOKSCONTACT

During my divorce in the late '80's, I took a bad fall off of my bike and injured my left hip. I likely cracked the femur, and developed a dinner plate-sized nasty bruise, and, over time, an equal-sized inertial point of scar tissue in that area. The fall also caused micro-tears and "permanent" misalignments systemically. It has been tended to over the decades on a regular basis, through various modalities, and for the most part has been quite functional.

Presently I am in the process of editing and revising a book I have written about how to heal and develop resilience, agency and empowerment after having an abortion. I am pro-choice.

My family knows my abortion story, including my youngest brother. Yet, it was inadvertently disclosed to me very recently, by another family member, that this brother has been spreading vitriolic hate about women who have had abortions. I could go into his state of being, but this story is not about him.

The abortion I had in my early twenties was with my high school sweetheart, whom, after the abortion, I would marry.

After learning of the insensitive actions and speech of my youngest brother, my old hip injury went spontaneously into excruciating spasm. It felt as if the injury had just happened. I hobbled around for nearly a week, as it slowly improved. During this time I received bodywork from Hakeem, a talented practitioner, and we naturally focused our attention on tending to this old wound.

As a bodyworker, I am aware that the left side is the feminine side, and the hip area is about support and movement. What arose in Hakeem as we were working, was the awareness that this injury was about shame. That felt right to me. We tracked and made connections with the internal imagery that arose within me during the session.

We both were aware of how the color that arose in my minds eye, as he was working with the ligaments in my hip, tracked medially into my solar plexus. The color that arose deep in the wounded area of my hip was yellow, and the color of the solar plexus chakra is yellow. The solar plexus chakra is about personal power.

by Angela Ferri, 1979

I was being shamed, once again, because another wanted to destroy my personal power. This is the same thing that is happening culturally around abortion access, presently.

During my walk this morning, spontaneous memories arose of experiences I had with my father, my father and my wasband (ex-husband) together, and my wasband's behavior shortly after I left him.

When I was a girl, I nurtured a seedling maple tree and we planted it in the back yard. Also, when I was a girl, I babysat so that I could pay for my own clothes, and so that I could buy art supplies; sketchbooks, charcoal, colored pencils, watercolors, canvases, brushes and oil paints. I ended up being awarded art-related scholarships to college to pay for parts of my education.

When I came back from college one summer, my father borrowed my then boyfriend's chainsaw to cut down the tree I had nurtured from a seedling. No one asked me how I felt about it. Another summer, I returned from college and found that my father, without consulting with me, had thrown out all of my sketchbooks.

About five years later, I left my then husband, after he started beating me. I took what I could, and left the grandmother clock and cedar chest he had built, because they were his. Yet, when I returned to collect paintings I had created in graduate school, I found that he had thrown them all away without asking me.

Though we had been together for years prior to the abortion in 1979, he had left the decsion up to me completely, as he did with all big decsions. Looking back I wonder if I had had the child, which of us would have been discarded without consultation by my father and wasband; the child or me? Or both of us?

I'm walking without physical pain now.

Hope this finds you and yours well.

Here we are entering our third month of physical distancing. A benefit of this situation is that it has given us time to ponder and explore many things we normally don't have time for.

I promised a video to help you manage aches and anxieties at home; you'll find it below. During the first demonstration I am pressing my feet into the floor, and my hands together. I take my breath into my perinium, or root of my body.

Notice my demeanor as I begin. I'm stiff and preoccupied with having just set up the new mic and video to record. But as I demonstrate movements to you, my body and demeanor relax and become more engaging. This is what happens for all of us in our animal bodies.

Let me know if you need more explanation about anything I share here. I always use the foam roller on the floor. The two types of balls I mention, but didn't demonstrate, are called Melt Balls and Yamuna Balls.

Soon I'll be sending out a newsletter with information about when to expect re-opening of my practice. The newsletter will also include safety guidelines we will be required to observe. I have noticed these are different for Maryland and Virginia, curiously.

During our physical distancing time, I've also gotten a license to practice in Virginia. More about this at a later time.

I hope you've found this video helpful.
Take good care of yourself.
Love, Angela

P.S. In process of creating my first online course on Body Wisdom! Stay tuned!

Teamwork required

The journey and process of healing will be empowering for you in the long run. You will begin to trust yourself more and more. Listening to and trusting your body will become second nature. Be patient and kind with yourself.

During our sessions, I will inquire about how you are doing, implementing the changes I have suggested. Journeying through the healing process will build your resilience, body and soul.  It will teach you what you are capable of when you set your mind and heart to it.

That said, I can facilitate your healing, but I can't heal you. The therapies and education I will share with you, in partnership with your efforts, will heal you. This takes conscious, focused intention.hot water bottle on womans belly kenny-wong unsplash

Healing is a process. Most dis-eases have taken years to develop. It takes time to heal from the challenges you are experiencing, but you can heal. One session with me, while necessary to the process, will not heal you completely. For some, this may happen. But usually, the people I work with, need more tending.

This tending, in part, will come from our work together. But, the most important tending will come from you. You are the one who must make healing your priority. You are the one who will choose to take the time, invest money, purchase products, implement therapies at home, make time for appointments, and integrate all this into your lifestyle. I will guide and mentor you with all of this.

Here are some of the requirements that healing requires: 

These changes can't be implemented all at once, but are implemented incrementally over time.  This process could take a month, two or three. It takes at least one month of diligent healing attention, for every year your body has been dealing with these health challenges, to heal them. Layers of experiences heal one layer at a time.

 

I can support you in various ways when you come for sessions, but your daily choices are yours. A lot must be done at home, and made a priority. By doing the practical, day to day actions requried, you will begin to heal.

Let’s see what the fairytale, Rumplestiltskin
has to teach about this process:

Damsel: Oh dear! I don’t know how to turn this room full of straw into gold!
What ever shall I do???
Rumplestiltskin: Never fear! I know how to help you!
But, I’ll need you to provide me something of value for my help.
Damsel: Of course! Here is my necklace in return for your help!

Damsel: Oh no! I have to turn a bigger room full of straw into gold! Will you help me????
Rumplestiltskin: Of course. But again, I will need you to provide me with something you value in exchange for my help.
Damsel: Yes, of course. Here is my ring.

Damsel: I’m so distraught! I have to turn an even bigger room full of straw into gold. Alas, I have nothing to give you in return for your help.

The little imp gets to work on the huge room of straw turning it into gold. When finished he notifies our heroine that he requires her first born child in payment. Horrors!

Our damsel is beside herself, learning of the horrible bargain. Rumplestiltskin offers: If you can guess my name, you will be released from the bargain. Our damsel employs the help of her community to learn the name of the strange little man. One of her allies hears Rumplestiltskin, as he dances around his fire, singing out his own name! Her ally returns with the news, and shares his name with the damsel.

When the little man returns for his due, after the birth of the damsel’s child, he is furious when she guesses his name. For in doing so, she breaks the horrible spell. At that moment Rumplestiltskin stomps his foot, and instantly splits in two.

Unfortunately, the process of restoring health can feel as impossible as turning straw into gold, and as harrowing as this story. And as in any house, all rooms need to be tended to.

Try this exercise when you have a few minutes,
to explore how it feels when things begin to transform:

Example: Not too long ago, one of my clients was lying on the table telling me how afraid she was of injuring herself again. Yet, she didn’t want to give up on the activities she loves. Who could blame her? In that moment I was reminded of the teachers who encouraged me to listen to my intuition...”it’s going to rain, bring your umbrella” ......”slow down, you don’t know what’s around that corner”...You know, that still, small voice within that is constantly looking out for you?

I wondered if my client was consciously aware of the value of listening for that inner knowing? We explored this during her time on the table, and I could sense she hadn’t really tuned in this way previously, even though she is quite a conscious person. She later reported that the shift in her attention toward listening to that still, small voice is helping her honor her limits. It’s keeping her safe.

My client had come to resolve the effects of a previous injury to her body, which was being tended to, during our session. During the treatment, fear arose, which she gave voice to...there was a lack of trust in herself, physically and relationally, because of the accident she had experienced. Through my sharing of the importance in bringing more attention to the “still, small voice” as trusted inner guidance, she later saw that was able to trust that she knew how to keep herself safe. She became more empowered.

Healing is a multidimensional process. The process of restoring health naturally takes committed tending to body, emotions, relationships and spirit. Through the process you are likely to become adept at transforming any “straw” in your life into a golden opportunity!

This is such an amazing, poignant article. Well worth taking the time to read. Sharing perspective such as this, and the work it takes to embody it will truly heal our hearts.

Crying in Restaurants While Slawing Cabbage.

Thank you Mark!

When I was asked to write about prenatal massage, I could only think of all the things I am learning about how pre and perinatal birth experiences may imprint us for life, and have the potential to affect generations!. Common prenatal massage benefits are the mother-to-be's physical and emotional well-being. Sometimes it is mentioned that the unborn little ones receive benefits from endorphin release as well. All true. But it's only the tip of the iceberg!

The latest in neuroscience and the new field of epigenetics have shown researchers that there is so much more to this. As I am in a Pre and Perinatal Trauma Resolution training I'll be able to explain it all better soon. But for now, since it is transforming the way I language things. And is permeating all aspects of my practice. In the paragraphs that follow, I'll share resources I believe will support any child at any stage of life, whether in utero, childhood or adulthood.

pregnancy imageSome of you may already know that we are present in our mothers, when our mothers are in our grandmothers womb. Yes, a four month old fetus already contains all the eggs she will carry forth into her maturity. Epigenetics tells us that the emotions, thoughts and experiences of our grandparents effect the expression of genes (which genes are turned on or off) in their grandchildren. Consequently, the greater the endorphin enriched environment a little one is exposed to, the more resiliency the child will express, as will their children!

Science finally supports the instinctual bonds that exist between generations. It it no longer a question of nature vs. nurture: it is nature AND nurture. If your are interested in learning more about this refer to the research eloquently and exuberantly demonstrated in the youtube lecture, The Biology of Belief  by Bruce Lipton, PhD;  The Neurobiology of We by Daniel Seigel, MD; and The Neurobiology of Secure Attachment a youtube interview with Allan Schore, MD. Enjoy!

Loving prenatal care in all forms will positively affect mother, father, family system, newborn, and their little ones; rippling out into the future. Prenatal massage and bodywork is certainly supportive of resiliency. Prenatal care that supports the empowerment of the family is essential. As is the environment surrounding birth and infant development, as mentioned earlier. One of many wonderful resources supportive of empowered birth is Spiritual Midwifery, a very readable classic by Ina May Gaskin. I highly recommend it to anyone planning on parenthood.

So, this wasn't exactly an article on the benefits of prenatal massage. But I hope it offers compelling resources that are empowering to mothers and families for generations!.  With love.....Angela

Entwining treesMy healing arts practice has supported women and men of all stripes quite intensively for more than twelve years, through Maya Abdominal Therapy sessions. My work always challenges me to grow personally and professionally.  And sometimes my own challenges lead me to study certain disciplines, as is the case with pursuing Biodynmic Craniosacral Training. After a head injury in Guatemala from falling off a horse, it was the modality that helped me thrive again in so many ways!

Through the Biodynamic Craniosacral Training I completed last June, I was exposed to pre and peri natal psychology and health. This sounds like it relates solely to infant health. Not so. This work supports healing for anyone, at anytime, who has undergone challenges in utero, through the process of birthing and post partum as a wee one, prior to the age of three. I offer a quote from the Association for Pre and Perinatal Psychology and Health website:

"We find that prenatal and perinatal experiences have a profound impact on the subsequent quality of health and human behavior; we see that life is a continuum which starts before conception, not after birth. During this formative period, parents and babies are not isolated from each other but fundamentally interconnected. A loving prenatal and perinatal experience inspires such things as bonding and sensitivity to others which have long-term consequences for both individual relationships and for society. Ultimately, womb ecology reveals itself in world ecology as the seeds of peace or violence are sown by parents, their models, teachers, and caregivers during pregnancy and birth."
My perinatal period was challenging, and through receiving and training in Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, and especially experiencing a "Birthing Your Self Process Workshop"with Myrna Martin I have been able to heal up a primal wound with my mother that eluded all other attempts at healing! Profound.

This month I began a two-year training with Myrna, with the intent of bringing this work to my clients, and making it available to more communities.  I am so looking forward to being able to offer this work in the future! Stay tuned!

This article is republished with permission from the author.

As a nation we are horrified by an epidemic of mass shootings at the hands of young killers, and an escalation of bullying in our schools.  Though many constructive solutions have been offered, something is being left out of our national dialogue.  This something is what science has to say.

Findings from decades of child development research have given us a new lens with which to understand children’s needs, and may shed some light on the escalation of violence at the hands of young people. The field is exploding with new information, yet pediatricians, educators, and mental health therapists are often unaware of this science, or the breadth of the research and its implications.

I was heartened to see that, recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics incorporated some of this information into a policy statement warning that toxic stress early in life, or even before birth, can harm children for life.  (Pediatrics 2012; 129:e224-e231)

Research results tell us that babies and young children are much more sensitive to stress and to nonverbal communication from adults than we ever knew. Scientists are also telling us that mutual interactions of joy and delight between parents and children, especially in the early years, are crucial to healthy brain development and to their ability to manage strong positive and negative emotions throughout life.  This ability to regulate the highs and lows of emotional life is the key to stable mental health as an adult.  Difficulties with emotional regulation are at the core of most mental health disorders.

For children, a “felt sense” (different from an intellectual knowing) of being valued and understood on the inside is essential to the regulation of their nervous system, and their ability to have full access to their neocortex.  When there is something stressful in the child’s environment— everything from mom and dad being stressed about everyday life, to a divorce, to someone died, to moving, to a medical procedure—children need to have someone they can trust to help them understand how it makes them feel.

We now know that children can be easily traumatized by everyday events without adults realizing it.  There are specific tools that can be taught to parents, to educators, and to every adult who relates to children, to help them help children manage these stressful events.  This would include right brain to right brain communication which soothes the limbic system and develops autonomous emotional regulation—for example, paying attention to eye contact, tone of voice, and timing and intensity of communication; offering validating comments such as “That must have been scary!; or “So, that’s how it was for you!”; or enjoying sensory rich activities together such as kneading dough, drawing, music, playing sports, or dancing.  Also, children can be taught to identify stress in their bodies, techniques to reduce their stress, and what to do if they are about to “flip their lid”. When this type of relationship connection does not happen for a child, we often see an escalation in difficult behaviors, from obstinacy to extreme violence.

Attachment Theory scientists talk about “attunement.”  This is a special kind of connection with the child where the adult is completely undistracted, and can relate to the child almost as if the adult were in the mind of the child.  Attunement fosters spontaneous sharing, a feeling of being understood, and allows the adult to gently explore what is on the child’s mind.  Attuned communication has a huge impact on a child’s overall behavior, and builds their mirror neurons.  Strong mirror neurons are what gives children the ability to have empathy for others—not moral teachings or zero tolerance policies.  Empathy in turn prevents aggression and violence.

Doctors Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate, in their book Hold on to Your Kids, explain “counterwill” (disobedience) and the “the making of bullies”. They convey that, though counterwill (“I want my own way.”; “You can’t tell me what to do.” etc.) is normal in children, it can be tamed through, and only through, a strong attachment relationship, not methods to control and punish.  That means that if children feel truly connected to their parents or to the adults in charge, and feel safe to lean on them emotionally, they are more likely to listen and to drop their counterwill impulses. In other words, if I, as a child, feel safe to tell you how I really feel inside about stuff, and trust that you are not going to judge my feelings or dismiss them, I am going to feel close to you and want to listen to your rules even if I do not want to. I am also going to absorb your core values.  You do not have to drill them into me.

Neufield and Mate go on to describe bullying as a lack of emotional vulnerability stemming from weak attachment connections.  If a child does not feel emotionally safe to lean on an adult attachment figure, then they harden their tender feelings, such as fear, anxiety, love, caring, etc., and defend them by lashing out.  Or, they may turn against themselves and harm themselves. They may also try to find an attachment substitute by becoming obsessively attached to their peers and push away their parents.  But this doesn’t feel safe either, because another child cannot protect them.

Mate and Neufield explain how a strong peer orientation culture is harmful to children and that; in fact, there is much about our modern life which interferes with the type of attachment relationships children need for healthy mental development.

So, yes, we need to get assault weapons off our streets.  And, as a society, we need to stop producing bullies and mass murderers.  Children are not born that way.  Society creates them.  No, it is not a specific gene.  The science of epigenetics tells us that the caretaking environment helps to determine which genes are expressed.

I hope that we can bring this vast amount of empirical science into our local, state, and national dialogue. We have the scientific evidence to prevent violence, but will our culture and our politics allow it?

FAMILIES UNITED
CHRISTINE A. WALKER, LCSW
PSYCHOTHERAPIST

408 EAST MARKET STREET SUITE 204
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA 22902  

434-923-8253

cwalker@cstone.net
www.christinewalkerlcsw.com

A Center for Integrative Psychotherapy and Psychoeducation
Families/Children/Individuals

© 2022 Angela Ferri | All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy