Touching Trauma – and the need for robust support

It can be really hard to recognise our own needs – and even harder to prioritise them! I’m certainly guilty of pushing myself aside, ignoring my own needs…and then paying the price down the line.

And yet the work we do needs us to factor ourselves in. Because what is a Massage treatment without a healthy and robust Therapist? To me, probably a very dangerous situation for both client and therapist – and not one where the transformation I know is possible with Touch is likely to happen.

This message has become even louder with the overwhelming neuroscience and research being done into the role of trauma. How we respond to it. How it dwells in our tissues. How the right Touch, the righteous Touch & the safety of psychologically informed communication is, so far, the only therapy on the planet that can reach into the primal parts of the brain where trauma lives and actually soothe it at source. Remove triggers. Enable a life that had been held back to flourish and thrive.

Mirror neurons mean our psyche experiences a trauma even if we’re hearing about it second or even third hand. More and more evidence is emerging for generational trauma being passed down. Working with clients who are sharing those stories with us results in an additional level of trauma being absorbed by our own bodies – and needing its own release.

My experience has shown me that longevity for a therapist working at your level requires three things:

  1. Personal therapy
  2. Professional supervision
  3. Ongoing training and development within a professional community  of your expertise

Each can feel like a big commitment (“Surely I should be able to manage without?”) but trust me: they are each essential. The first two are best done locally and the third: well, travel as far as you need to for the group that best supports you. I invest in this for myself with the associated travel, cost, accommodation and time commitment at least three times a year with the same group of people. That’s the bare minimum that can really sustain me as a therapist. Additional courses and conferences are a great source of extra stimulation, but it’s this core support in my area of expertise that keeps my foundations strong and my work focused.

It’s through getting my own support and resilience needs met that I can honour my commitment to offer this space for NO HANDS therapists year on year, at the three-module Clinical Development Group. In 2020 along with all the “classic” activities (live work, feel tables, “contract into treatments”, practicals, revisiting core NO HANDS strokes and exploring strokes which are not taught elsewhere) material previously only available to Masters will be taught which covers consideration of client safety at a much deeper level – a level now essential given the depth of work being done. This leads to a certificate which will enable you to be insured across all 5 PEEMS. All in a multi-level environment, rubbing shoulders with therapists at varying stages towards Mastery of this material (and at Master level, too) but ALL of whom are committed to the power of Touch to transform the world.

Gerry Pyves

There are two reasons I can only offer this professional support to people who have already trained in NO HANDS. Firstly, due to the inherently damaging nature of other bodywork approaches, I am only willing to support the ongoing development of therapists who value themselves enough to ensure they are working without traumatising themselves. Secondly, consciously engaging with the traumas that walk into our treatment rooms makes a solid understanding of how to work safely with the psyche a necessity – and this forms the third stage of the core NO HANDS training.

I know from bitter experience that the risk of burnout gets higher. Solid professional support is no longer a “nice to have”, but an absolute necessity. And I’d love to have the honour of providing that support for you – be that in 2020 or further into the future if you are just starting your NO HANDS journey.

By Gerry Pyves, NO HANDS Founder & Creator


What previous students have said:

Not just Massage… growth, new thinking, sharing ideas, discussion, personal development and growth, exploring new ways and honing old skills. More than you can put in words really but it is friendship, releasing, being brave, supporting and being supported. It is not easy. It is not for those unwilling to try, to be brave, or to give themselves the room. If you wish to be more as a therapist and also as a human then take a look.  Claire Thompson

At first it didn’t make sense. I knew all my massage strokes, I had a full clinic, so why should I need any more? Somehow my body knew what I needed so in true NO HANDS style, I listened…and WOW my body knew best! This year has literally and completely changed my life. It has calmed me down and opened me up and made me realize and face things about myself that I never knew. I have now claimed my rightful place in the world and continue to grow each day, each touch, I never want this journey to end!! If you’re hesitating I would say…leap! Don’t think…feel – you won’t regret it! Miranda Davis

Support, support, support and still more support. The friendship and community is wonderful. Deepening of my understanding of the work I do as a Massage Therapist. Increasing my ability to clearly communicate, both with my clients and into my life. After each module finding my work with clients improves. And finally, even more support. Melanie Thompson

AWESOME!! Awesome for the shift in my confidence, believing in myself – that’s a major. Awesome for new learning and much deeper understanding of NO HANDS strokes. Awesome for a caring, trusting and supportive group throughout, not only on modules but the full year. The potency is AWESOME!!! Marie Bowes

The logical continuation in the learning of my craft. Being the very best I can be not only for myself, but for those around me (family, friends, peers) and of course for my clients. A journey of self-discovery too…sometimes focusing on my own demons and fears, but also realizing my greatest strengths. A sense of belonging, support and sharing. Of course, becoming a Master is about attaining a certain level and being recognized for that, but it’s much more organic than that too. It’s much more personal… The realization that it’s not about being perfect…who knew!!? It wasn’t even actually about becoming a Master. These were both impossible goals I had set for myself because NO-ONE is PERFECT and because becoming a Master was that “thing in my head” that was set in the future and therefore going to be always just out of reach. So when I realized this immediately the pressure lifted from my own shoulders and I felt a huge sense of relief.

Focusing on becoming a Master, at that moment, meant I could not ENJOY being me right here, right now. BEING in my own PRESENT. Living it now and that’s when the magic began. My goals haven’t changed, but I am HAPPY being ME in the here and now.  And I love and embrace the fact that even as a Master I will continue to learn and evolve being ME, just as NO HANDS evolves and changes. It’s not static, I am not static. But I am true to me each day and grateful for it. It is also a tonic and a place to not only learn but to REPLENISH and RECHARGE and is a place I have made life-long friendships. Who wouldn’t want or deserve that?! Gillie Hazzledine

Being part of a group of people where I felt safe and supported enough to truly look at myself and my role in my life and say: “No more! No more allowing people to hold me down and convince me that I’m not worth it, that I am powerless to change my life. No more holding myself back to make others more comfortable. “ I am a force to be reckoned with; I AM WORTH IT! Discovering NO HANDS Massage literally saved my life. Giving myself a year of professional support has transformed me into the person I was meant to be: strong, confident and capable of changing the world with my touch. I know I could not have made this transformation without the amazing support of my fellow students and the NO HANDS training team. It is not just another course to take, it is a journey into yourself and answering the question “Why am I here? Why do I do NO HANDS Massage?” My answer: “Performing a treatment on a client feeds my soul.” Liza Atkinson

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