I imagine all of us have had our share of anger, as it is a natural and normal human emotion. Anger is fundamentally a defense strategy. It arises from the solar plexus area of the body to protect us from being treated with disrespect or harmed in any way. Although anger can cause much harm, it is fundamentally a healthy emotion.
Can you imagine what it would be like if, as a child, all your angry emotions were strictly forbidden? I once worked with a client “Sue” many years ago who’s mother was very inconsistent. One minute she was supportive and sweet, and the next she would fly into a rage over the smallest infraction. Sue was furious about her mistreatment, but she also learned early on that it was not ok for her to have any angry feelings toward her mother. She could not risk threatening the attachment relationship with the person who also gave her nurturance.
Fast forward 30 years, and we find Sue with a lot of pain in her body. Her anger got packed into her tissues after years of a chronic “clamping down” pattern. She came into therapy to work on this, but every time we touched her anger, fear would arise and she would disassociate.
First, we had to work on her belief systems, so she could give herself permission to have her anger. We had to separate the past from the present and future. It was unsafe then to have her anger, but it is not unsafe now.
We then moved to the felt sensation of anger in her body. It started as a contraction in the solar plexus area. As Sue’s capacity to stay present increased, the congested energy began to soften and move up toward the throat chakra, where it met another constriction. It took a while to open this constriction, because it meant directly expressing her anger. Eventually the backlog of repressed anger moved out, and Sue began to feel much more alive. She was able to express her anger appropriately and attract more loving people into her life.
We are now in the season of the heart, and I would like to explore one way we work with the heart in ARCHETYPAL ENERGY PSYCHOTHERAPY. Let’s imagine a client named “Sue” comes in for therapy. She has had trouble manifesting a significant relationship for several years. During the intake I learn that her mother was often emotionally unavailable, and often mean. Her father was an alcoholic. When I have her scan her body and energy field, she reports a tight congested spot in the heart chakra. She also names some sadness and anger.
As the session progresses, a question arises for her mother: Why weren’t you there for me? Sue had a hard time even asking the question out loud. We would pause after each time she said it, and check in with her heart chakra. The pain and contraction initially increased, as it came more into her awareness. There was a lot of sadness, and some guilt. When Sue would remember the good parts of her mother, she felt guilty for asking this question. We worked a bit on understanding that we can have loving feelings along side hurt and anger.
As we continue to work, the congestion in Sue’s heart softenes openes up, so we moved on toward receiving goodness. At this point I had Sue imagine the perfect mother, an archetypal mother. Her perfect mother would be soft, consistent, kind, present and affectionate.
Why do we imagine the archetypal mother? The research in neuro-science has shown that imagining an event activates the brain in the same way as experiencing an event. In this case we are talking about the insula in the brain. The insula registers soothing touch and nourishment, which the perfect mother provides. By imagining the archetypal mother, we actually grow new nero-pathways in the brain, and eventually over-ride the negative mother memories.
Initially Sue had a hard time receiving the touch and attention from this archetypal mother. Since her mother wound was pretty deep, it may take a while for her to fully change her neuro-pathways. However, a lot of the pain and heaviness in her heart chakra shifted. We did make some significant progress in this session, and Sue will continue visualizing receiving nourishment from the archetypal mother.