Spaceholder Style // Roles // Form

Spaceholder Style // Roles // Form : 

  1. Nonphysical Neutral Non-Active Presence

Impartial Silent witness

           The most passive / stripped down Spaceholder role is simply ‘bodywatching’ the Journeyer’s physical wellbeing. For both safety and peace in the piece of your mind whose main focus is to keep you safe, it is helpful to have someone watching your body if you are going on a deep journey. Externalizing this role to someone you trust allows your ego {the part of your mind whose sole purpose is to be concerned with / manage your well being} to relax it’s death grip on your psyche, knowing it is in the calming presence of someone who has been assigned this task can help create spaciousness between the narrative it holds of who you have been and that which you are becoming in the course of the Journey and throughout integration.

Having a Spaceholder present in your journey can create : more easeful surrender into states where the ego is not dominant, a reduction in paranoia / panic, a secure attachment figure who acts as a reality anchor in case anything goes sideways, and a ‘reality anchor’ – someone in a baseline, rational, sober mind state to act as a sounding board for an action {eg. you would like to call an ambulance because your heart is beating loudly and you think you are in a medical emergency, but your Spaceholder listens to your pulse, determines it is within a normal range, and offers the suggestion that you are physically ok and you are hearing your heartbeat more loudly due to increased auditory sensitivity}.
           Ideally the Spaceholder will have knowledge of basic first aid and a kit for such, emergency contact information for the Journeyer, information about the Journeyer’s allergies, access to medications necessary to manage an allergic reaction {eg. epinephrine or an Epi-pen}, Naloxone spray, a pulse reader / blood oxygen level monitor, and the knowledge of what a normal pulse level is as opposed to one that is elevated {and when to consider calling in emergency personnel}. Fortunately, both Naloxone {brand name Narcan} and Epinephrine {brand name Epi-pen} are now much more readily available {for how to find them please see the Resources section at the end**}.

In addition to these staples, it is important for the Journeyer to disclose if they have medical conditions that are relevant to the activities of the Journey or that may come up, so that the supplies needed to potentially care for them are on hand, such as those who have a history of fainting have smelling salts available.

2. Reality reflector / anchor 

Another common, and recommended, role for the Spaceholder to take is as a ‘consensus reality anchor’. This may involve, when asked, sharing the ‘clock time’ and other ‘default reality’ or baseline facts about the shared environment. 

The form that this role takes can also be affected by whether you are prioritizing a hands-off risk reduction approach or if your Journeyer desires a benefit enhancement / minimization of suffering experience. For example, there are some schools of sitting in which the Journeyer is solely witnessed by the Spaceholder in a space of permission of being welcome to actively hate themselves and express this hate while the Spaceholder witnesses this stoically without response. This is why a ‘yes / no / maybe’ list such as this which helps to designate desired roles for the spaceholder is helpful to allow the Journeyer to contemplate and discover the form of spaceholding that the Journeyer perceives that they need to allow their own inner healer to emerge. Personally, unless told otherwise, my spaceholding style gravitates towards reducing the amount of suffering in the world whenever possible, which I have been reprimanded for in a harm reduction space utilizing a more dispassionate sitting style as being ‘too involved in the participant’s experience’. Call me a care vulture, but I find it challenging to witness suffering and not offer to alleviate it. Thus, the recommendation of giving the decision to the Journeyer 

Curious > Correct

           There is a commonly shared framing across several different schools of risk reduction that it is not worth ‘convincing’ a Journeyer that their reality frame may not be grounded in ‘consensus reality’. I would agree, in so far what is more important is not whether or not the purple dragon your Journeyer is seeking is ‘real’ {aka convincing them to match what you are perceiving}, but that the value in them sharing that they are seeing a purple dragon lies in knowing what it represents for the Journeyer and why it is coming up at this time. This is a good example of how to navigate what your Journeyer is sharing with curiosity rather than leading with in/validation of their reality. Choosing a perspective of curiosity over logistical evaluation of ‘objective truth’ becomes even more relevant when the Journeyer is sharing something that is in their mind that you cannot externally validate, but perhaps instinctively makes you uncomfortable. Philosophers have had some interesting dialogues on the topic of ‘what is truth’, and most schools of risk reduction find it helpful to adopt the perspective that ‘if your Journeyer thinks it is real, for all intents and purposes it is real to them’, and thus to use the energy of your attention to respond to it as though it is real { even if you have to think about it as a ‘role play’ or theatrical enactment, and always with the caveat that behaving as though it is real would not be putting anyone in harm’s way or causing unnecessary suffering }. It is recommended that you engage in role plays so that you can practice prioritizing a frame of curiosity over correction. Additionally, as always whenever possible, ask your Journeyer ahead of time the way in which they may prefer to be interacted with regarding this frame. 

3. Researcher 

It should go without saying that the Spaceholder should thoroughly research the ally / compound being ingested, keeping knowledge of the standard/average duration curve of the experience in the forefront of their tracking mind {and ideally written out in a notebook in front of them, with the clock time of intake noted, and the ‘math’ of the different stage lengths calculated from there }. This presearch { = pre + research } thus informs the Spaceholder to be able to accurately convey when the peak or plateau of the Journey experience is likely occurring, approximately how long until it will occur, and when it has with statistical likelihood passed {especially important to note when considering taking a booster dose}. A solid resource to consult to compile a typical dose / duration curve is from . It is important to mention that factors such as the weight of Journeyer, their muscle mass, fat/muscle density, how hydrated the Journeyer is, whether they have been fasting, if they are female bodied / taking hormones –  what phase of their hormone / menstrual cycle they are in, what time of day it is, any other supplements the Journeyer is taking, and all of the other factors regarding set and setting also come into play into altering the dose / duration curve from the ‘average standard’ {the ‘Deciding on Dose section has more information on this topic**}. 

Additionally, even if a booster is not being considered, when the Journeyer is seeking assurances at what part of the average intensity curve they are {eg. This is really intense, am I peaking, or is it going to get stronger?’}, well-grounded information can be provided. Finally, informed with the dosage / duration response curve for the ally / compound ingested, in the case the Journeyer has forgotten they have taken a compound, the Spaceholder can provide data-grounded assurances that the Journeyer  has taken a compound {eg. the Journeyer has not lost their mind / they are not going insane} and will return to baseline in x-hours {how-ever-many hours based on the curve}.

3. Nature Guide / Transport

The Spaceholder can also act as a transporter of the Journeyer via a vehicle and then accompany a Journeyer on a hike or natural excursion which is significantly safer than hiking alone. The Spaceholder can be responsible for researching the area, terrain, and timeline beforehand in addition to carrying a map and other emergency supplies. 

4. Documenter / Recorder

The Spaceholder can also passively participate in gathering external data points for the Journeyer through documentation. At its least intrusive level this could involve physically writing down notes on paper or in a notebook. At a more involved level this could also include managing an audio or video recording device, if desired by the Journeyer. Responsibility for testing the devices and making sure they are capturing the recording should be accomplished via a ‘test run’ making sure the sound is audible on the recorder before the session {additionally – have enough batteries and the capacity to charge them for the duration of the session and integration portion}. You can also include an understanding that if the Journeyer decides mid-Journey that they do not wish for the documentation they previously agreed to, that they can revoke their content at any time {one of the principals of Consciousness Consent is that an agreement made sober can be changed when altered, with the exception to harm against self, others, or property}. 

Especially important moments to document may include : noting dose, amount{s}/time taken and any boosters, details regarding significant somatic or energetic reactions at various time stamps {especially changes in breathing or agitation, if they occur}, repeated phrases, and realizations / revelations. The Journeyer is also invited to specifically ask that a particular phrase be written down at any time. 

The notes taken throughout the session by the Spaceholder can then be read during the Integration portion of the experience and will allow the Journeyer to relive and repeat details which increases the likelihood of immediately integrating the insights received. More detail on this practice can be found in the Integration section.** 

Active presence / More involved

Another creative option, to the comfort of the Journeyer, and based on the skills of the Spaceholder, is to take photographs of the Journeyer before / during / after the Journey. This involves a lot of attunement between the Journeyer and Spaceholder in trusting that the moment is right to unearth a camera in a sensitive state. The benefits of a series of photographs at different moments in time may provide insight into where the Journeyer is holding patterns of tension in their body, reveal physical correlates to psychic openness, and can serve as another Integration ARTifact to facilitate incorporating insights gleaned. A picture of the Journeyer at a radiant moment of realization can then act as a somatic sigil bringing the Journeyer back to how that moment of time felt in the Journeyer’s body . 

           With sufficient rapport between Spaceholder and Journeyer, videography can also be employed to create an even more immersive Integration ARTifact. Moments to consider capturing include : when engaged in a cathartic release, spontaneous mudras / movement patterns, and a testimonial to yourself afterwards to help with integration and keep the memory of what was learned fresh and alive and able to be replayed / encapsulated. 

5. Body Barometer

           Bodies are more alike than they are different.

A useful perspective for Spaceholders to take is not trying to minimize or ignore their physical needs {such as by holding a full bladder, or maintaining an uncomfortable physical position for an extended period of time}, but instead to use them as data points to help the Journeyer further settle into their body. Additionally it is worth repeating here that the Journeyer is in a heightened perceptual state which will cause them to pick up on your subtle signs of discomfort, whether consciously or subconsciously, which they then may inaccurately ascribe to their impact on you. 

For example, if there is a Spaceholder that is holding onto a full bladder, this produces tension patterns and tightness in the body of the Spaceholder that the Journeyer may interpret as due to a verbal disclosure they are making / just shared, which then causes the Journeyer to become self-conscious or judgemental that they are causing the tightening reaction, when in fact the tightening in the body of the Spaceholder is due to their biological need to void their bladder. 

As a fascinating aside, if you are finding that attribution errors are frequently coming up within the session, you may find it worthwhile to research internal / external loci of control and how it relates to your Journeyer’s attachment styles to further illuminate fruitful avenues for them to explore in their healing journey.  

           Instead of the Spaceholder attempting to minimize or disappear discomfort in their body, they can use their body as a barometer to have an experience of embodied empathy as to what the Journeyer may also be experiencing. 

Body Barometer in practice : 

Spaceholder monitors their own body state and makes recommendations to change the setting or environment :
I notice I am feeling a bit chilly as the sun has set, and am going to go get my sweater, want me to get your coat for you?
I am feeling thirsty and notice that you have not drunk anything in the past two hours, can I get you a glass of your beverage of choice while I get some water for myself?
I am noticing that the humming of the dryer is distracting me and putting me a bit on edge, can I turn it off while we are in this room?
I am really needing to go to the bathroom, do you need to go too?

Other environmental alterations to consider via your Body Barometer : room temperature, sun exposure, biting insects, brightness of light, ambient noises, stuffiness of air in room

When you are in tune with your body barometer the distinctions between your habits and preferences and the Journeyer’s may become more pronounced. A common example occurs in nourishment / food / water / diet, and it is recommended, if at all possible, to bring enough of your sustenance to be able to offer what you are imbibing to the Journeyer as sharing nourishment can also help lessen the power dynamic of separation and remove a potential avenue for paranoia {eg. Giving the offer of sharing without pressuring – invitation without expectation}. Be prepared for honest conversations about your consumption habits as an opportunity for Spaceholder transparency {especially if this is an area you are personally working on}.

Another related but distinct practice is called ‘Body Mirroring’ which is covered in the ‘Spaceholding Techniques’ section.**

The following roles are on the more ‘active’ side of the Spaceholding spectrum :

6. Narrator

The role of narrator comprises analyzing or calling attention to what is happening as it happens. This immediacy is imminently valuable because feedback is best when timely, and through the trusting rapport between spaceholder and journeyer we can utilize present patterns as a living learning laboratory, drawing attention to reactions in real time. Narration works well when the Spaceholder can filter for signals particularly salient to the Journeyer’s focus for the session. 

With your Journeyer, discuss : In what types of scenarios would you like a more passive Spaceholding witness to break silence ? At what level do you prefer them to engage – merely as a mentioning or as a more involved inquiry ? For example : 

If the Spaceholder notices you are tense in your body {such as balling up your fists or holding yourself in a rigid manner}, do you want them to neutrally mention this physical reaction to bring it to your attention?

Do you want your sitter to ask questions about such somatic signals {a more probing presence}? How often would you like this information – approximately – every 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, hour, or whenever there is a change? Feel free to change your mind anytime during the session and course correct, this is just a starting point to allow your Spaceholder to understand how important pointing out this data is to you.

Crossing into the territory of benefit enhancement : Would you welcome suggestions for your comfort or physical wellbeing, for example if you have not drunk water in many hours, do you want your Spaceholder to make a recommendation towards hydration? Would you like your Spaceholder to fetch you the water?

On a more involved therapeutic inquiry side, would you want your Spacholder to : ask why you might be exhibiting a certain physical behavior, in curious questions mode? Would you be served by your Spaceholder noticing details, pointing out patterns, or making suggestions of possible connections between aspects of your past / old patterns / current behaviors ?

On the furthest side of the interaction / involvement spectrum, would you like your spaceholder to aid you in helping you create a new narrative or story in the moment, or co-creating a new pattern that they then subsequently encourage?

Another lighthearted and even humorous variation could be a Spaceholding narrator that is a predominantly playful presence, a rhyming storybook narrator, or a colorful character that resonates with you from the clown / trickster archetype. Perhaps you would like the Spaceholder to emphasize a ‘not knowing’ or seeing through baby-eyes beginner’s mind direction, as a ‘curious child’, or that you are compassionate peers / kids exploring together.

Benefit Enhancement Active Presence

In addition to the previously noted opportunities for specific roles to slide on the scale from a safety baseline of Risk Reduction into Benefit Enhancement, here we move further into active involvement beyond solely ‘body sitting’. Benefit enhancement involves both the Spaceholder and Journeyer noticing how the Journeyer can be better supported and extending ‘invitations without expectations’ phrased via open-ended offers. { read the power dynamics / consent sections for advanced asking skills for maximum consent, such as giving someone an ‘out’ **}

           What is Benefit Enhancement { BE } ?

Benefit Enhancement began as a cheeky response from those of us in the longtime Risk Reduction community asking where we can grow from beyond ‘Harm Reduction’. { Risk Reduction was originally termed ‘Harm Reduction’ but I am moving away from that term as it implies there is inherently harm which thankfully is not the case}. Risk Reduction is the stable, safe, and grounded foundation from which Benefit Enhancement can spring. 

7. BE {Benefit Enhancement} Pro-Active Presencing : reducing suffering 

Nonphysical Pro-Active Presencing with a focus on reducing suffering includes reading the energy of the Journeyer and intervening when the Spaceholder senses the Journeyer’s discomfort in the situation could be minimized or ameliorated by the Spaceholder making an offer. When orienting towards the direction of benefit enhancement, it is strongly recommended whenever possible to inquire with the Journeyer if the intervention is an enhancement from their perspective. Some instructions in old school ‘Harm Reduction’ philosophy believe that everything provides learning, even difficult, uncomfortable, and challenging experiences, and instruct Spaceholders to interact as little as possible in the Journeyer’s experience. I depart from this default orientation, to advise you to let your Journeyer decide the type of support that they are seeking for that particular session. 

An active presence with an eye towards reducing suffering might look like : changing the environment – turning the thermostat up if the Journeyer is shivering, providing blankets, changing / turning down the music if the Journeyer is covering their ears and curling up, asking others who are being loud within earshot to reduce their volume or move farther away.

Other tasks orienting towards Benefit Enhancement to consider include : fetching items – blanket, coat, robe; if the Journeyer is changing positions in a way that may be indicating physical discomfort, the Spaceholder can offer to create a more comfortable nest with additional pillows / squish / fluff. 

The line between risk reduction and benefit enhancement can be blurred when considering suggestions such as hydrating or going to the bathroom. Keeping track of how long it has been since the Journeyer has had water or has relieved themselves can help prevent the discomfort and danger of dehydration. Sometimes offering a hydrating beverage beyond water can help inspire imbibing – such as a warm tea. 

The final roles / modes of Spaceholding are the most intimate and involved and thus require the most conversation up front. These forms of Spaceholding move from passive to active engagement and thus are most resonant with the more hands on emphasis of the term ‘Guiding’.

8. Active Positive Presence { Maximum Benefit Enhancement }

Ideally an Active Positive Presence {APP} is well versed in the details of the Journeyer’s background, their styles of processing, coping mechanisms, and how they self soothe or co-regulate. An APP moves from a neutral presence minimizing risk or interrupting harm and instead steps forward into actively shaping the Journeyer’s experience in a hands on manner. For example, an APP may verbally narrate the Journeyer into self-soothing techniques that they naturally gravitate towards and want to cultivate, practicing centering presence in real time upon the emergence of a dis-regulating stimulus.  An APP may also interrupt a Journeyer’s negative loop of thought or self-defeating dialogue to model a replacement self-respect phrase. An APP Guide may also introduce EcoRegulation nervous system prompts, grounding pressure via pillows, or inviting the Journeyer to join them in patterned breathing techniques. APP Guides will be well versed in grounding or de-intensifying de amplification techniques which may include : guided visualizations, ‘earthing’ – placing bare feet on damp soil, lying on the ground, closing the eyes, and reducing the light or sound in the environment. Some visualizations can include : energy cord going into earth, rooting into core of planet, light pouring into crown of head, darkness draining into earth. **grounding visualization audio**

It is worth mentioning again here that many ‘bad trips’ or challenging experiences are the result of bodily discomfort – be it, hunger, thirst, a full bladder, or needing to change clothing to adjust temperature. Thus, utilizing yourself as a ‘Body Barometer’ as well as honing your embodied attunement skills can contribute both to the Journeyer’s sense of groundedness in their body {consider if you would want to remain in a body that is in pain from holding your bladder for a long time?} as well as sparing the Journeyer deeper unnecessary suffering. This is covered more in depth in the ‘Challenging Trips’ section.

An APP Guide may interrupt loops through introducing new stimuli, changing the environment, or using what could be called ‘distraction’ to break the choking coiled chain of consciousness. Often reprieve from an all-consuming amplification of a challenging point of fixation will be enough to ‘break the spell’ and allow new information and perspective space in the psyche. This is considered APP because there are schools of spaceholding training that advocate for inaction in the face of suffering in favor of an emphasis on non-interference. The author believes that it is best to ask the Journeyer what they desire, and if they are in a state of mind in which they cannot express a preference, to minimize the amount of suffering in any manner possible.

In this way an APP Guide is making alteration in ‘set and setting’ – interrupting mindsets of repeating looping suffering, attuning focus on novel surrounding stimuli, and making changes to the environment as a change of scenery. Suggestions an APP Guide might make include : going outside, turning down / changing the music / lighting, changing the temperature, clothing changes, applying a weighted / warm blanket, proposing a specific activity such as shared humming, listing potential activities there are supplies for {different music playlists, artmaking supplies}.

APP Guiding comes in two additional flavors – nonphysical and physical. Upon pre-psychedelic consent and intake parsing through any preferences and potential complications, the APP can also offer grounding touch, which is covered in more detail in ‘Physically Supportive Presence’**.

9. Therapeutic / Trained Role

If you are trained as a therapist or are certified in another healing modality, you can offer the framework of your style of practice on the ‘Menu of Spaceholding Offerings’ and in spaceholding style / extent consent conversations with the Journeyer.

These may take the form of : energy work {such as Reiki}, musical / artistic offerings {such as by sharing medicine songs, guiding the Journeyer in art therapy or expressive arts therapy}, psychological support {such as via Hakomi, Internal Family Systems, or transpersonally-oriented therapy}. For those wishing to offer bodywork or other hands-on modalities, the intricacies of navigating physical touch will be covered in the section ‘Physically Supportive Presence’.

Some of the common terms and considerations from the field of psychological therapy will be discussed in the techniques section, as it is the author’s background.  

It is worth stating again that when you move from acting in the capacity of a peer-to-peer sitter and into a structure which involves a healing expert / patient dynamic, that you are taking on additional responsibility for the wellbeing of your Journeyer and navigating the increased gap in power dynamics that these titles accrue.

10. Physically Supportive Presence

Light touch – extremities

Touching someone in a sensitive or heightened state of awareness can have a possibility in being misinterpreted as a sexual signal, especially in states of increased energy and blood flow. Having a two-stage or even three-stage consent system is highly recommended. The first stage involves utilizing a ‘take-home’ yes / no / maybe checklist before the session, such as in the section of ‘Menu of Spaceholding Offerings’. To reduce the likelihood of a fawn / caretaking response by the Journeyer it is recommended that they fill it out when not in the physical presence of the Spaceholder. The second stage would involve a clarifying in person conversation before the session to make sure the written guidelines the Journeyer has put forth are clear. The third stage would be asking if touch is ok in the moment during the session.

There is currently much debate in the psychedelic therapy community on whether touch is too risky to incorporate, but through a three-stage consent method, having two Guides, explaining the purpose of touch, and going through what a redirection can look like can reduce the likelihood of misrepresentation. You may also consider videoing the session as an ‘external’ witness, much as body cameras are used. The author has found that in certain areas of work, such as attachment trauma or repatterning, that depriving someone of touch they are asking for would have been re-traumatizing. Safe loving touch, when utilized with clarifying conversation and oversight, is a healing tool that is specifically helpful to incorporate into work with post-verbal trauma.

Benefits of having a clear container for permissiveness of light touch includes being able to measure circulation / skin temperature directly, monitoring pulse directly, monitoring muscle tone / responsiveness to physical stimuli directly, and as a hands on way to ground.

Specific touch grounding techniques include – putting pressure on the feet, especially when soles are on the ground to the tops of the feet, light compression of the temples / head. Light traces, pressure, and / or squeezing  on the outer edge of the Journeyer’s body can help physically remind them where they end and the world begins.

Many people feel soothed when their hair is pet, combed, or brushed rhythmically, or their head is lightly stroked as you would an animal {we are still humanimals after all!}. If touch to the head feels too invasive, try hand holding and squeezing encouragingly.

Touch to extremities can provide an avenue to assure consistent presence in a way that is welcome and non-threatening or invasive to most people, especially if they are sensory deprived via use of blindfold or earplugs. Hand holding, or touch of the feet has less potential of being triggering then touching closer to the trunk of the body. Again, verbally asking for permission is always the gold standard. When being courteous if the Journeyer is in a post-verbal state and unable to respond verbally, the Guide may choose to touch an extremity while carefully monitoring the physical reaction – if there is a freeze, pulling away, tensing up, these are all corporeal consent / physical communication ‘away’ signals, and the touch should be removed.

Incorporating a tool such that the Guide is not touching the Journeyer directly can also create safety via distance in contact, such a by using a ‘scalp massager’ / ‘head spider’, car buffer, Theragun, etc. Soothing sensation play may also provide novel stimuli in case of looping and can include : feathering {petting someone with one or several feathers, especially on the face and neck}, petting skin with soft fabric / fur, and spraying with a water mister {option of including essential oils after first making sure that the Journeyer does not have sensitivities or memories associated with any particular scents}. Scent is the oldest sense to develop and one of the most direct ways to access / encode new memories, so use this tool with conscientiousness.

If the Journeyer is particularly skittish about contact, a heated blanket can provide the warm of contact without involving another person.

As a final note, consider how many of the massage techniques that you can offer to your Journeyer you can demonstrate on yourself and then empower them to be the agent of their own release, removing them from dependance on your presence, such as by sharing a self-massage tool such as a massage cane {Theracane}, tennis / lacrosse ball, yoga ball, inversion table, or yoga swing.

11. Medium Touch

Common to California and the west coast new age scene is the phenomenon of hugging. In a hug, two hearts and chest cavities come closer into contact, which allows the electromagnetic fields of the hearts to overlap briefly. Hugs produce oxytocin, which helps regulate the nervous system into the ‘tend and befriend’ and ‘rest and digest’ parasympathetic state conducive to healing. {there is much more information on oxytocin in the ‘self-generating oxytocin’ section under Techniques}.

Other passive medium contact activities can include :

Sitting back to back in contact to feel breathing.

Both laying on opposite sides, backs touching to feel breathing.

Both laying on backs, side bodies touching to level of comfort {could just be feet touching, all the way to both ribcages in contact or hands draped below around shoulders or behind neck}.

Journeyer’s head resting on Guides chest, listening to heartbeat {or vice versa}.

Both laying with side touching ground, one as big spoon, one as little spoon, curled in fetal position.

12. High Touch / Heavy Contact / Embodiment Expertise

 {recommended to only engage in these ways if you are trained in the somatic arts and corporeal consent}

  1. Human weighted / gravity blanket

High communication, adjusting weight as needed. Guidelines on how to develop skills to communicate corporeally in ‘Corporeal Consent’ book at RAZ.MA.

Position options :

Journeyer laying on stomach, Guide draping chest or stomach over Journeyer sacrum.

For more weight, Guide sitting on Journeyer sacrum, emphasis on weight dragging Journeyer sacrum down towards Journeyer’s feet.

Journeyer laying on back, Guide lays perpendicular with heart over Journeyer’s stomach.

Journeyer lays on back, blanket between, Guide lays parallel at slight diagonal or with head along shoulder of Journeyer.

Journeyer lays on stomach, sitter lays on top of them as human gravity blanket stomach down, adjusting weight as needed

  • ‘Laying on of Hands’ / Energetic Work

Hands laid on surface of Journeyer’s body where Journeyer wishes energy to go or be unblocked.

13. Intensive bodywork

As the experimental evolving edge of therapeutic touch, these techniques should be used only with extreme caution, a pre-existing container of trust, and a deep education in corporeal consent.

  1. Inversions
    1. Either from a hard point or on the back of the Spaceholder {if they are trained in contact improv / SomaSenZ bodywork} are wonderful for providing a 180 degree shift in perspective. There are contraindications to inversions, so please do your research and consult the physical professionals in your life.
  2. Light / medium Bodywork / massage

 Utilizing hands, elbows, body in a manner aligning with training.

Working surface/fascia/top musculature of Journeyers body, 1-5 on intensity scale of 1-10.

Assisted stretching / Thai style massage may also be helpful. If a certain part is having trouble relaxing having the Journeyer inhale while flexing that part and then exhale on the release, with the Bodyworker pushing in on the end of the exhale. Holding a point / limb and rotating around the axis of natural motion or shaking can also aid in steering a tense place into a relaxation response.

  • Bodywork surgery / bodywork ceremony
    • This deeper level of work requires more rapport and familiarity with the Journeyer’s body and tension holding patterns. This can involve old injury work and carries the heightened risks of more intensive bodywork. Bodywork surgery in intended as a ‘non-incision’ restructuring. Much as ‘natural antibiotics’ such as garlic or oregano oil are still very powerful, this technique should be approached with respect and caution when other avenues have been exhausted.
  • Physical trauma release – no touch
    • Techniques such as Somatic Experiencing can be used to go into intense memories and discharge the frozen nervous system reaction that is causing lingering trauma symptoms. This form will be described in more detail in the ‘Techniques’ section, and it is listed here as it is important to receive consent to do this work, as it involves setting up the space in a soft and safe manner.
  • Physical trauma release – touch through cushions / medium
    •  When acting out the memories of the trauma, some scenarios may call for the use of body weight through cushions or another medium so that the muscles can work against resistance {such as pushing away someone or pushing off someone who was pinning you down in the memory}.
  • Physical trauma release – high hands on
    • Although it is good to try the no touch / touch through a medium format first in the hope that this conservative approach will result in improvement, the traumatized body may need to actively work many different somatic systems in a complex way to discharge the nervous system completely. This involves expert training in somatic trauma therapy and safe body handling and could result in injury to the Spaceholder. Forms of this work can include : wrestling, fighting, in depth re-enactments of traumatic memories but with the new repatterning of the Journeyers ‘successful’ win of fleeing, fighting, or expressing and causing resolution to the threat. The utmost care and consideration should be taken to minimize harm / reduce risk to all participants through exquisitely clear communication, physical padding, spotters, safewords, etc.