Exposure Therapy and the Gillespie Approach
What is exposure therapy? My thanks to apa.org:
“Exposure therapy is a psychological treatment that was developed to help people confront their fears. When people are fearful of something, they tend to avoid the feared objects, activities or situations. Although this avoidance might help reduce feelings of fear in the short term, over the long term it can make the fear become even worse.
In such situations, a psychologist might recommend a program of exposure therapy in order to help break the pattern of avoidance and fear. In this form of therapy, psychologists create a safe environment in which to ‘expose’ individuals to the things they fear and avoid. The exposure to the feared objects, activities or situations in a safe environment helps reduce fear and decrease avoidance.”
I believe that the Gillespie Approach can be a bodywork form of exposure therapy. When I worked on myself for my emotional issues, I found that my fascial web would strain and my body would act out as I was facing my fear.
As I revisited that issue over many weeks, I found that, each time, I had less charge in my body. Eventually, I could look at that situation with a very quiet body.
I see a similar pattern with my patients. As I am listening to their body, it may go into a specific hard upper-body fascial twist. When I listen again, the body revisits that strain with a little less intensity.
As that injury is gradually mitigated, another deeper strain can present. The Gillespie Approach deals with peeling the traumatic layers of the patient’s onion over time.
I see this is especially true with patients with sustained fetal compressive issues where the body keeps revisiting the same trauma. I feel our role is similar to the psychologist; we are present and clear to facilitate their healing. It is not about us.