From: Gus Kaufman, Ph.D.
In the group I co-lead on Tuesday nights, I open with a PBSP exercise every other week (my co-therapist leads a guided meditation on her week). Twice a year we do daylongs to deepen the work—each client gets a structure spot on those days.
This past daylong I opened with holding for support. First I had group members in pairs do the arm lift, noting when they tended to “help,” i.e. automatically lift their own arm vs. give their weight to the lifter. They repeated this, practicing letting go (trust).
The new part was I then had each take a turn sitting on the lap of another. This was earth-shaking! With some of my most deeply holes-in-roles folks I had to really challenge them. I explained that if you have had to hold yourself from an early age, you are likely convinced you are too heavy and no one could bear your weight.
At least one client burst into tears with this exercise. It confirmed for me that while the verbal memory is constantly updated, so that we are usually in an adult ego state, the body memory is often frozen in the deep past. And this affects our life possibilities. Some clients could not remember ever being held and supported.
With experimentation we discovered that sitting sideways allowed deeper relaxation—the client could drop her head onto the accommodator’s shoulder.
A caution—it requires a good bit of group trust to do this without rebellion or dissociation.
I welcome others to try this and report what your experiences are.