Summary & Collated Notes

Contributor:  Madelanne Rust-D’Eye

Webinar Style: ‘In the Thicket’

Total Number Registered: 115

Total Number attended: 68

  1. Welcome from Chairperson (Jon),
  • Update from the FSA (Jon):
  • We are currently planning the Wednesday webinars for next year and some ‘paid for’ extra ‘workshop webinars’ that will look at FS related topics in more depth with ‘experts’ in their field.  We really need your input into the content and ways of improving the webinars, so we would be grateful if you could fill in this anonymous form
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  • The FSA has been involved in a number of government consultations recently and currently putting a submission into the Government select committee looking at the trees and woodland strategy.
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  • The Children’s Forest has started its plans, if people are interested do look out for the launch of the new website in the next few weeks.

Please see Video and Madelanne’s presentation for detailed content.

link to Madelanne’s presentation

Somatic practise and trauma – summary of content

Madelanne explained she would look at what trauma is, the neurobiology behind trauma, dysregulation and co-regulation, how to spot trauma and distinguish from grief in particular, the ways of working with trauma first aid.  She will also take us through some short exercises.

We were then invited through a simple exercise to ground ourselves in the place and with the surfaces we were in contact with.

We started with an overview of what trauma is and how it is more physiological body/based rather than a ‘mind/emotional’ manifestation.  She shared Peter Levine’s definition which reflects a visceral body based definition (see powerpoint).  Words like overwhelming experiences, debilitating, helplessness all point to what trauma is.  She looked at what dysregulation is and how it manifests and described the three main branches of our autonomic nervous system showing how the vagal nerve(s) and the ‘polyvagal’ theory from Stephen Porges explains the brain body relationships operate when we are dysregulated in, Fight/Flight or Freeze/Faint or getting to regulation with the social engagement system.

The presentation then moved into the stages we need to go through when we meet potentially traumatic experiences and if we get support and work through the experience, in particularly managing to ‘discharge’ through body based action(s) held and validated in a safe space then this need not be traumatic.

Madelanne then took us through ways of working WITH the autonomic nervous system in the moment and explained that once we as practitioners can consciously regulate our own systems and be aware of these in our body’s then we can co-regulate with others who may be going through a potentially traumatic experience.  This helps discharge the excess energy in the moment and afterwards.  We can then reverse in the way we entered an overwhelming experience.

How trauma affects the sensory memory was explained and how this manifests in flashbacks.  Then we looked at the 4 main things to look for that indicate trauma;

  • Hyperarousal (sometime aggressive behaviour etc)
  • Constriction (emotional expression and restricted thinking)
  • Dissociation (detachment)
  • Feelings of numbness and shutdown

Then the distinctions with grief were explained, going through grief characteristics and shown that is the above four were absent is probably isn’t trauma but grief.

Madelanne then took us through the 8 steps of trauma first aid (see presentation)

The presentation finished with an embodiment of a poem from Peter Levine and Maggie Kline – The Magic Tree.  This helped ground and centre people in their bodies at the end.

Those who stayed in the main room discussed questions around how we effectively co-regulate, trauma in utero and the trauma passed down through generations, how to get further training, application of the fdirst aid steps to other non traumatic experiences.

Madelanne shared a booklist and further resources;

Trauma through a Child’s Eyes; Awakening the Ordinary Miracle of Healing.  Peter Levine and Maggie Kline

The Body Keeps the Score; Mind, brain and body in the transformation of trauma.  Bessel van der Kolk

Madellane’s own website which has resources and online courses in body informed leadership

The somatic experiences website has resources and more information on somatic practise see

Other resources put into the chat included the films Resilience and Paper Tigers (see a discussion on Trauma Recovery Centre see

  •  OPTIONAL HALF HOUR (9 05- 9.30pm)

Community Room

Sarah had a session with practitioners who shared their experiences of lockdown in schools and the overall atmosphere and how this is causing stress and probably trauma.

  • Everyone Came back together for the closing

Jon made Thankyous to everyone for attending and particularly Madelanne for a really in depth very clear and informative session on body-based approaches to trauma (she will be invited back for a more in depth workshop!)

Then closed with a poem from William Stafford – reflecting the thread of our autonomic nervous systems and the topic of the evening!

The Way It Is

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among

things that change. But it doesn’t change.

People wonder about what you are pursuing.

You have to explain about the thread.

But it is hard for others to see.

While you hold it you can’t get lost.

Tragedies happen; people get hurt

or die; and you suffer and get old.

Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.

You don’t ever let go of the thread.

Meeting Closed: 9.35

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