Trying to feel certain in craniosacral work is like chasing a mirage in the desert. You see the shimmering osasis in the distance but it never gets any closer no matter how much you move towards it. The osasis of cranio sacral certainty is where you put your hands on someone’s body and it lights up like a Christmas tree and you can see EVERYTHING, every restriction pattern, every cause. And the road to health for that person looks to you, like a well lit highway. And all this without that awful squirmy feeling like you’re groping around in the dark not really sure of anything.
If you’ve been waiting for that to happen let me put you out of your misery, it’s never going to happen.
It won’t happen because there is something about this work that always keeps you at the limit of yourself.
If you think back to when you started to learn cranio sacral work and you first heard about flexion and extension, for example, it all made sense – in theory.
Then you put your hands on someone and you tried to feel it and all you could feel was NOTHING!
And it felt awful.
You trusted your trainers and you persevered. As time passed you learnt new things, like feeling lesion patterns in the sphenoid or some such and when you tried to feel them, all you could feel was NOTHING!
And it felt awful.
You looked forward to the day when you wouldn’t feel that awful feeling.
Without noticing, two important things occured.
1) Your palpatory skills were improving and changing. You were actually feeling more. When you were struggling to feel whether the sphenoid had a flexion or extension lesion, you didn’t notice that you were feeling flexion and extension with relative ease.
2) The awful feeling wasn’t changing. It was the same awful feeling you had when you began.
Here’s the secret – As good as your palpatory skills get, as good as your diagnostic skills get, as good as you perceptive skills get, you will still have that voice in the back of your head wondering, ‘Am I making this up?’
Outstanding cranio sacral therapists haven’t eradicated uncertainty,
they’ve mastered it.
That mastery is not somewhere you arrive at. It’s not like you get it sorted and never have to deal with it again. It’s something that goes on every time you treat someone and it’s one of the most difficult aspects of cranio sacral work.
I know this because I went/go through it myself and I have seen ALL the people I have trained go through it in one way or another.
If you’re just starting out in your training I suggest the following; put the question of ‘Am I making this up?’? on hold for the first year of your training.
Make a deal with yourself that for the next year you’re not going to ask yourself that question. For the next year you’re just going to take it that what you’re feeling is true. It’s not forever, it’s just for a year.
What you will be doing is allowing dormant parts of your brain to activate. You haven’t been conditioned to think in the way that you’re trying to think when you do cranial work. Your neuronal pathways are formed in a different way.
Continually asking yourself if you are making it up won’t allow new neuronal pathways to form. We’re not MRI machines, which is a good and bad thing. Good because we have the capacity to go far beyond our own expectations and pull miracles out of the bag. Bad because we also have the capacity to have an off day and get it wrong.
When the year is over you can ask yourself the question again.
Will you make it up?
More in the beginning.
With experience, 1-2 years minimum, you can begin to discern when you’re making it up. You can spot it and in time it too becomes another thing to note, along with the multitude of other things you’re registering as you work. ‘The rhythm is changing, I wonder what that means? The patient is feeling sadness, I wonder what that means? Now they’re angry, I wonder what that means? I just made that bit up, I wonder what that means? Now they’re about to release this bit, I wonder what that means? The sadness is still there. .’ and so on.
When it comes to self doubt I encourage you to persevere. The rewards far outweigh the difficulties. And the weird thing is as you become familiar with and master uncertainty, it permeates your whole life and it becomes more . . well . . fluid.
What are your experiences with certainty in craniosacral work?