Oct 02 2007

David and the impact of domestic violence

Bill’s note: This is a fictionalized case-study. Any similarity to any person or life situation is completely coincidental.

David, who was 54 years old, was participating in a psychodrama workshop and was an ongoing member of a men’s group.

During the opening trust circle exercise, David became frozen in the middle of the circle. He was unable to trust the process enough to be gently guided around the circle. He was unable to identify what was happening or why.

Several of his fellow group members were also participating in the workshop this day. David had participated in psychodrama and other body-centered activities before.

The therapist gently suggested that the group create a “standing cradle,” to which David agreed. Two volunteers stepped forward and began to hold David, their shoulders touching, and arms wrapped around David. David remained in this position of being held for several minutes. The therapist gently encouraged David to verbalize what he was experiencing. When David was unable to do so, the therapist encouraged him to gently push himself forward into the arms and shoulders of the men holding him. David began to push forward.

Feeling the gentle resistance of the men holding him, David became more intense and emotional. When the therapist asked again what he was experiencing, David was able to explain that he was feeling anger and rage related to childhood abuse by his parents. He said that he had actively participated in therapy and Adult Children of Alcoholic 12-Step Meetings, but had not felt these feelings so intensely before. At this point, David had a better understanding of his own feelings, and agreed to participate in a psychodrama where he had the opportunity to access and resolve these feelings more directly.

In this way, the gentle support of the “Standing cradle” enabled David to become more trusting of the process and move to deeper work dealing with his traumatic childhood with alcoholic parents.

More later…

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