Aboriginal Focusing oriented therapy certificate
Today was the start of a new beginning for me and I wanted to share it with you. Today was the day that I began the Aboriginal Focusing Oriented Therapy and Complex Trauma certificate. Yes, that is a long title! But it is worth it! What a refreshing perspective on trauma, therapy and the role of the clinician.
What is focusing oriented therapy?
Well to make it short, focusing therapy means going above and beyond our thoughts and feelings and listening to our body. If we only focus on our thoughts and on expressing our feelings, it is easy to detach from them and go around in circles, without getting any deeper (yep that is true, I have seen it as a therapist and experienced it myself). However, if one focuses on one’s body we can get in touch with our deeper feelings or thoughts, some we might not be aware of. Indeed, unconscious feelings and past experiences (ours or those of our ancestors) can be stored in our body without coming to our full awareness. By focusing on our body, what it is telling us, where we feel our feelings and sitting still, we can go deeper. Focusing oriented therapy is thus about being fully in the moment. For survivors of trauma, trauma can be stored within the body, trauma that perhaps was blocked out in part or dissociated from. I won’t go into more details regarding this approach but for more information, see this site.
So the program that I am enrolled in and began today adds one more layer to focusing oriented therapy. Indeed, it incorporates Native teachings and ways of healing. The program is then focused on the principles of the Red Road, including respect for all my relations (including those in the course and clients) as well as respect for Mother Earth and Father Sky. It adds the idea of a collective soul to the concept of focusing oriented therapy. What do I mean by that you ask? Well, it means that in our bodies, we can store not only our trauma but also trauma encountered by our ancestors, by previous generations. Previous generations are also around us to help us deal with the trauma and guide us. Aboriginal focusing oriented therapy (AFOT) is a way of doing therapy that is raw, intense, direct but very real. Real and done in a healing manner.
How is the program taught?
Well it is taught the native way, by showing us rather than telling us. It is taught in a circle, where everyone sits comfortably and is respected. It is taught with a respect to our Mother Earth and Native traditions such as smudging, singing and brushing (a feather fan like the one on the right can be used to “brush off” negative energy off the body).
We began and ended the course with singing the Co-Ed song and we were all encouraged to sing along. Honestly, it felt liberating. I did not see a single person without a smile on their face. I truly recommend this program to everyone who works with Native clients or/and wants to do their own healing. For those living in North American, the program is offered in different cities, including Vancouver, BC, New York, NY, and Ottawa, ON. It is composed of 7 courses each 3 days long and spread over a year. The schedule does make it easier for working professionals.
I have to say that I truly felt at home within that environment and I know I will gain a lot from it, both personally and professionally. We were asked to bring our own drums if we have one for tomorrow, so I will for sure bring mine 🙂
All my Relations