Cranio Sacral Therapist and Student Newsletter 24

June 08 – 2007

Questions and comments for this issue:

+ Do I use Somato emotional release?


If you sent me an email towards the end of May
and I didn’t reply, I’m not ignoring you and I am
interested, no really.

Sorry, . . what were you saying?

My email server dropped the ball for about 5
days and I didn’t get any mail so if you sent,
please resend.

I have some treats for you now and no, I’m not
trying to butter you up.  Here are some videos of
John Upledger talking about two cases he worked
on. The volume is low so be ready to crank your
speakers up.

The first one is about a boy who had
developmental delay, a spinal tap, cephaly,
seizures and neutrapenia.  The video is in two

The second one is about a girl with hearing
loss, seizures, and stiffman syndrome.  This video
is in two parts also.

The last one is of Dr John doing his thing. You
may need to lower your volume for this one.

As you know I gave my ‘Core Success’
postgraduate seminar in Brisbane in April. Jenny
Palmer organised the event and she has written an
article about it, which you can read here.

And speaking of postgraduate seminars, I have
also got around to putting up an article about a
full body release seminar I gave last year.  There
are some good pictures of the full body team in
action here.

And lastly I am putting together a page of
links for my web sites.  I have been collecting
and book-marking web sites for a couple of years
now an am just getting ready to share them.  So if
you have a favourite website, a cause, an
organization or a just plain funny site that you
want to let me know about please send me the

Anyhu, let’s get on with the


Dear John,
Thank you for your newsletters.  I find them
fascinating and very useful.  I particularly like
what you say about craniosacral at the bottom of
each newsletter. It is a vision which I fully

So this is me participating by asking a question.
I notice that you haven’t talked about somato
emotional release in any of your newsletters.  I
am wondering if you use it and what you think
about it.
Keep up the good work.



I have received a number of emails asking me
about somato emotional release.  I even had one asking
about its lesser known culinary equivalent,
Tomato emotional release.

Boom. BOOM.
I know. . .
Tomato. . .
No applause please.

So I will combine your answer with the others.
I don’t use somato emotional release per se.  What
I use is a technique I developed called
therapeutic inquiry.  My own cranio sacral
training was somewhat osteopathic in approach and
didn’t really encourage talking with the patient
during treatment.  I felt this ignored a whole
spectrum of possible information.

I studied a couple of different talking
approaches, including somato emotional release but
found that none of them covered everything that
needed to be covered.  I used elements from all
and filled in the blanks.

When it came time to teach this technique I
called it therapeutic inquiry because the essence
of what I was doing involved asking the patient
the right questions, at the right time and in the
right way.

Not everyone needs to verbalise what they are
experiencing when they are releasing a deep trauma
but if they do then you need to know very clearly
what is happening and be able to assist them
verbally and that’s where therapeutic inquiry
comes in.

Knowing the difference between who needs to
talk and who doesn’t is all part of the skill.

At other times you will have a sense that
someone is on the verge of releasing something and
it is one of those releases that needs to come
through the person’s consciousness.  The patient
needs to verbalise it but it just won’t come,
again this is where therapeutic inquiry comes in.

Therapeutic inquiry is used to help a
particular kind of restriction to release.  As you
know, in the course of treatment we use different
techniques for different kinds of restrictions,
some require direct technique, some require
indirect, some require remote work using intention
away from the site of restriction while others
require close work.
Well some restrictions require therapeutic
inquiry.  The sorts of restrictions that usually
require therapeutic inquiry often have a big
emotional component.

To explain why you would need to use
therapeutic inquiry, I need to talk a little bit
about how these kinds of restrictions are formed.
It usually happens during childhood and it goes
something like this: (You can hum along if you
know the tune.)

A child finds itself in a situation it can’t
cope with.  From the child’s perspective the
situation is threatening to its survival.  The
child needs to process the situation very fast and
arrive at a solution that will insure its
survival.  The child quickly reviews its part in
the circumstances that have led to the current
It identifies the behaviour that is responsible
and labels it as life threatening.  It then locks
that behaviour away in its unconscious, setting up
the emotional equivalent of a reflex arc.
Too important to leave to mere memory, the
child makes it part of its instinct.


If we hear a sudden loud noise our bodies will
have an instinctive protective reaction.  Without
thinking, our body interprets the noise as
potentially dangerous and reacts to protect
itself.  In these circumstances we are operating
from our instinct.
It is into this instinct that the child puts
this emotional reflex arc.   Whenever the child is
in a situation that is similar to the original
situation, it will have an instinctive protective

Back to our child.  Time passes and the child
grows into an adult.  The difficult situation has
passed but the embellished instinct does not
change, it stays in place doing its job. Because
it doesn’t adapt with the growth of the
child/adult, what was once a lifesaver, becomes a
source of disharmony in the persons body, or put
another way, a restriction.

Not clear enough? Okay here’s an example.

A young boy pulls a chair over to the stove to
investigate the strange wispy cloudy stuff coming
from a pot.
His mother enters the kitchen. Horrified, she
sees her little darling about to scald himself.
She rushes to the stove, pulls him away roughly,
slaps him and tells him he is a very naughty boy.

The boy can see she is very upset.  In an
instant the boy decides the following, which I
will explain in adult language.

  • ‘A. My mother is very angry with me.
    She has hit me and caused me pain.
    She normally doesn’t hit me.
    My mother is the source of love and
    nourishment in my life and if she
    continues to be angry, she will withhold
    her love and nourishment and she may
    continue hitting me.
  • B. If she withholds her love and nourishment
    and continues hitting me, I will die.
    C. What did I do that has caused this
    disturbance in my mother?

Reviewing: : : : : – – – –

Answer: I was being curious and

  • D. I must incorporate into my instinct

the following directive.


The above conclusion is reached within minutes
of being slapped.  The boy includes the new
information in his instinct and gets on with his
As an adult the boy/man finds change incredibly
difficult.  He experiences abnormal stress at the
prospect of changing house or jobs.  When his
marriage breaks down he becomes so tense he has
difficulty sleeping and experiences chest pains.

Fortunately he goes to a cranio sacral
therapist for help.

Cranio Sacral Therapy to the rescue.
High five!
Low five!
Suit yourself.

Therapeutic inquiry allows the patient to get
in contact with the embellished part of their
instinct and begin to communicate with it.  All
going well this dialogue will lead to changing the

I have found that a restriction will only
change its function by a direct command from the
person.  Even then it can be reluctant to accept
that authority.  The command from the person has
to be with the same emotional intensity with which
the restriction was first imprinted, because the
restriction was charged with the job of protecting
the person against mortal danger.

Restrictions are reluctant to return the
authority if the person is half hearted.  They are
understandably cautious because of the life &
death imperative with which they were programmed.
The difficult part of therapeutic inquiry is in
easing this instinctive defensiveness.

Therapeutic inquiry is a difficult technique to
become competent in because it requires you to do
all the difficult work you are already doing with
your hands and presence AND include this very
precise line of questioning.

Just to give you a little window into the
technical difficulty involved, there is a huge
difference between asking,  ‘Are you afraid?’
or asking, ‘How do you feel?’
The first question suggests the
idea of fear and in a nanosecond the patient will
be thinking.
‘Why are they asking me this?  Is there
something I should be afraid of?’

Asking the patient how they feel allows them to
tell you the way they are experiencing the
situation; not the way you think they are
experiencing the situation.

It is very important to get it right because
you are engaging with a very powerful part of the
person and you don’t want to be messing around in
there.  Therapeutic inquiry is the one technique
that, far and above all the others, I found
students have most difficulty becoming competent

As with every ‘technique’ it is something that
needs to be mastered and integrated.  In practice
I rarely use isolated techniques and this includes
therapeutic inquiry.  Everything blends together
and is significant.

From the first phone call with a new patient to
everything I say to them and everything they say
to me.  It is all significant and part of the
blend of treatment

So that’s it for this issue.

Cheerio for now.

Till the next time.

Your Mate,

John D.

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