Grip video # 5: Provide containment & structure

This 5-minute video clip is part 5 of the video about working with an embodied mindful pause in therapy. See transcript below the video.


So far, I’ve talked about ways to use Active Pause that are discrete, that is, one or maybe a couple of times during a session. Now, I want to talk about another way in which you systematically use it. You would use it say maybe 10, or 12 times during the session in order to create a structure.

There’s a certain rhythm that’s going to be happening. You might use Active Pause* at the very beginning, then there’s some talking, or whatever else you’re doing. Then you go back into Active Pause*. Then you process. And then, back into Active Pause*… Maybe 10 or 12 times during the session, maybe 13, 14… What happens is, it literally creates a framework during the session.

So what is this framework about? By having these Active Pause moments, you structure the session as a space in which the client is repeatedly invited to go inside. So there is a built-in structure that makes it possible to not get just carried away by the flow of words, or the flow of narrative… Even if you’re exploring things in a way that’s not just verbal, a way that is more experiential or body-related, you are providing a series of moments where that experience is digested in the privacy of the client’s mind.

Digested in a way that helps the client not just in words. The squeezing is going to draw some of the attention to not just making sense of it at an intellectual level, at a cognitive level, but creating some room for the whole body-mind to absorb the experience and stay with it.

Literally, I would almost want to show a diagram here (hand gesture of hands framing space/time): You have your session that takes this space. If this represents a timeline, you have here this little one-minute Active Pause. Then the client processes with you, be it in words or any other way that you process things together. Then, a little moment of Active Pause. The client goes back inside, takes it in, processes it on more than just a verbal level, and comes back. Then, again, Active Pause, the client goes back inside, contemplates it, and observes it, while connecting to inner body sensing, sensations, and resources. Then the client comes back, to that relationality between the client and you, in whatever form it takes. Then the client comes back inside.

And so you have that rhythm of inside, relational, inside, relational, inside… You could also describe this rhythm as Inside, then talk or expression in some other form, the kind of absorbing it in an inner way, etc.

This is an approach that you would use, not necessarily all the time but with some clients, some of the time, and with some clients more often. I find it useful to use, for instance with clients who tend to have dysregulated affect. This is a way in which you can actually help people go back more into regulating and processing.

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