HEALING AND MOVEMENT TO ADDRESS COLLECTIVE TRAUMA AND STRESS, FEAR AND ANXIETY

Posted by Krystyna Knight on Mar 20, 2020 10:13:57 AM

A guest post by Mary Watkins, Ph.D.

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I am hoping you are each well and taking great care to protect yourself and to help your family, friends, and neighbors in need. Our struggle with Covid-19 is both physical and psychological. As our daily routines are upended and many of us are working and conducting our lives from home, there are important healing and centering mind-body practices that we can learn and then pass on to others.

One of our treasured adjunct faculty in the Community, Liberation, Indigenous, and Eco-Psychologies specialization is Pat Cane, founder of CAPACITAR. For decades she has been studying how to use healing and movement traditions from around the world to address collective trauma and stress, fear and anxiety. Borrowing from Paulo Freire’s approach to popular education, she has trained thousands of people who have suffered collective trauma in what she calls “body literacy.” CAPACITAR empowers people to be their own healers, but it also encourages all participants to teach the methods and exercises to others. So, for instance, if twenty people are in a workshop and they each teach ten people who each teach ten people, and so forth, the practices begin to flourish in neighborhoods, schools, parks, hospitals, prisons, and refugee camps. Due to this empowering approach, CAPACITAR holds workshops all over the world, including inside immigrant detention centers in the U.S.

As you encounter your own stress, fear and anxiety, turn to some of the practices below. Enjoy them, learn them, and pass them on. Practice them with whoever is around. Experiment with them throughout the day, every day, while we discover how to slow our lives down. Meanwhile, while daily life is curtailed, notice what you can do without, what you deeply and sincerely miss, and what more solitude may gift you with. And, of course, go wash your hands, and then check in with someone you suspect is feeling scared and lonely.


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Mary Watkins is chair of the Depth Psychology Program, Co-Chair of the Community, Liberation, Indigenous, and Eco- Psychologies Specialization (CLIE), and Coordinator of Community and Ecological Fieldwork and Research in CLIE. She was trained as a clinical and developmental psychologist and was an early member of the archetypal/imaginal psychology movement. She has worked in a wide variety of clinical settings and with groups on issues of peace, diversity, social justice, reconciliation, immigration, and the envisioning of community and cultural transformation. She is the author of Waking DreamsInvisible Guests: The Development of Imaginal DialoguesMutual Accompaniment and the Creation of the Commons, co-author of Toward Psychologies of LiberationTalking with Young Children about Adoption, and Up Against the Wall:  Re-Imagining the U.S.-Mexico Border, and co-editor of Psychology and the Promotion of Peace.  Please find Dr. Watkins’ publications available for download hereCourses Taught: Public Conversation, Phenomenology and Communication of Depth Psychological Cultural and Ecological Fieldwork, Psychologies of Liberation, Hermeneutic and Phenomenological Traditions, Liberatory Pedagogies, Community/Ecological Fieldwork, Community Dreamwork, Crafting Generative Questions.

Topics: topics, Pacifica Graduate Institute, collective trauma, pandemic