TU113: Integrating Self-Defense, Neuroscience and Affirmative Consent to Build Empowerment and Heal Trauma

by | Jan 23, 2020 | Brain Science, Episodes, Guest Interviews, Neuroscience, Personal Growth, Therapy, Trauma | 0 comments

Show Notes

“Yes means yes is the new no means no!”

Often we doubt our gut instinct, question our right to take up space in the world, and live governed by fear -especially when we’ve experienced trauma. Meet the Safety Team, a group of ordinary women doing extraordinary work teaching women how to build resiliency and re-claim their sense of agency.

In this episode,

Co-host Dr Ann Kelley joins this powerful group of women as they teach us how to find our voice, feel more present and powerful in our bodies, build resilience, and heal trauma.

Who is The Safety Team?

Christine DiBlasio, Ph.D., is the president and co-founder of The Safety Team, as well as a 4th degree black belt in Karate. For over 15 years, Dr. DiBlasio has coordinated and presented workshops on violence prevention, risk reduction, and self-advocacy skills to middle, high school and college students, as well as to community and corporate organizations. She has been instrumental in curriculum development, with a strong focus on serving survivors of interpersonal violence and trauma so as to promote healing. In addition, Dr. DiBlasio created a college and high school internship program and continues to provide leadership training to these interns as well as to an expanding group of volunteers.

Dr. DiBlasio’s dedication to the Safety Team is an outgrowth of both her background in martial arts as well as her extensive experience as a practicing licensed psychologist with 30 years of clinical experience. Dr. DiBlasio is the clinical director of a large mental health outpatient practice, and in the context of this work, has provided psychotherapy services for survivors of interpersonal violence, trauma and sexual assault across the lifespan.

 

tu113 Darcy Richardson Photo

Darcy Richardson, MS, is a forensic toxicologist and Vice-President of The Safety Team, a 501(c)3 non-profit focused on the empowerment of women and the reduction of sexual violence. As a toxicologist she has provided expert testimony in over a thousand cases in both criminal and civil courts at the state and federal level. These cases have included assault and sexual assaults where her expertise is used to discuss the impact of alcohol and drugs on the ability to consent or to react effectively in dangerous situations. As part of The Safety Team she uses this expertise to teach women about Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault (DFSA), and how to effectively navigate this risk. Research indicates that half of all sexual assault cases involve alcohol and/or other drugs, which means addressing DFSA in Empowerment Self-Defense (ESD) classes and curricula is an integral part of reducing the incidence of sexual violence overall. Darcy is a 2nd degree black belt in Karate and a 1st degree black belt in Arnis.

 

tu113 Christina Allard photo

Christina Allard, PT, is the volunteer coordinator, and instructor for The Safety Team, Inc. and a licensed Physical Therapist specializing in pediatrics and school-based therapy. She pursued additional training in childhood trauma and its impacts on development. She incorporates her knowledge of neuromuscular and somatic responses to develop movement strategies for emotional regulation in children and teenagers. Her interest in the therapeutic effects of movement sparked her interest in martial arts (brown belt in Karate) and her ongoing commitment to the empowerment model of The Safety Team.

 

tu113 Nancy Keller

Nancy Keller, MEd, CAS, is the treasurer, co-founder, and lead instructor for The Safety Team, Inc. and a licensed public-school educator with Winooski (VT) School District for more than 30 years. With expertise in curriculum development and instruction, she has created middle school programs for place-based learning in science and mathematics, as well as implemented a school-wide classroom-based program for physical activity. This program was designed to address the movement needs of those children who have experienced trauma, and was built upon her background in the martial arts (3rd degree black belt in Karate and 2nd degree purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu).

Along with her ongoing training in the martial arts, Nancy is currently a doctoral candidate in the College of Education and Social Services at the University of Vermont. Her research is devoted to women and gender studies, empowerment self-defense, and social justice. She recently completed a qualitative pilot research project that investigated the outcomes of those who have volunteered with The Safety Team.

 

What Does The Safety Team Do?

The Safety Team is entirely female led and female-focused. As such, it enhances the well-being, safety, empowerment, leadership skills and resiliency of women through empowerment self-defense trainings and offers a continuum of specialized, evidenced-based, therapeutic services to women who are recovering from the trauma of sexual assault and other violence. These services promote somatic reprocessing and healing while enhancing victims’ feelings of safety, personal power, and community connection.

 

Giving Survivors Their Power Back

Helping women reclaim their bodies by bringing awareness back into the body and encouraging women to take up space.

Affirmative Consent

  • Challenging the “No Means No” culture by shifting the terminology to “Yes Means Yes” in sexual consent. While this is a really subtle change in terminology, it is a huge change effectively.
  • The difference is that with “No Means No”, it means that I have a right to you until you tell me no. With affirmative consent, I have no right to you at all until I get that “Yes”.
  • And in terms of getting that “Yes”, it has to be enthusiastic, it has to be continuous, a0nd it has to be freely given.
  • Watch Tea and Consent-Affirmative Consent for a practical example of affirmative consent.

 

Moving Beyond the “Freeze” State

  • Keep in mind here, it is NEVER the victim’s fault.
  • The freeze response is a natural adrenaline response that intends to keep us safe. Through education about the neuroscience behind the freeze state, women understand that this is a natural response and that there is no blame or shame in this physiological response.
  • By empowering voice exercises as a group, women learn to assert themselves and give their brain the extra moment to decide how it needs to react.
  • By practicing strikes over and over, overriding the freeze response by creating muscle memory responses, women are empowered by the fact that their automatic body response will be defensive movements to keep them safe rather than the shut down, reducing re-victimization.

Trusting Your Gut

  • Your intuition always has your best interest at heart.
  • Pre-assault cues can help us recognize when we’re in the midst of a predator. We may even subconsciously pick up on the predator’s adrenaline rush! Neuroception is at work here.
For a deeper understanding of “The Freeze Response” and Neuroception, listen to
TU93: Polyvagal Theory in Action – The Practice of Body Regulation With Dr Stephen Porges
TU94: The Science of Self-Regulation – Breaking down Polyvagal Theory
TU110: Story Follows State – Investigating Polyvagal Theory with Guest Deb Dana

Future Directions

A long-term plan is developing an all gender presentation class that would include cis men.

The Safety Team recognizes the need for a cultural shift surrounding consent! We can move toward change through education and community.

 

Resources

Orchowski, L., & Gidycz, C. (2018). Sexual Assault Risk Reduction and Resistance. NY: Academic Press.

DeBecker, G. D. (2010). The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals that Protect Us from Violence. London: Bloomsbury.

Van der Kolk, B. (2015). The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma. NY: Penguin Press.

Information and Useful Links:

The Safety Team Website

Circle of Six Phone App

Stalking information: Gavin DeBecker’s Threat Assessment Tools

Futures Without Violence

Project Unspoken: I Am Tired of the Silence

A Parent’s Guide to Teen Dating Violence

Jackson Katz: Silence and Violence

Students Active for Ending Rape

Coaching Boys into Men

 

Other Episodes That You May Enjoy:

TU24: Grief And Our Body’s Wisdom On Surviving It With Candyce Ossefort-Russell

TU102: Finding Neurological Safety through Relationships, with Guest Bonnie Badenoch (Replay)

TU52: Using Mindfulness, Movement and Yoga to Manage Arousal, with Guest Kelly Inselmann

 

Who doesn’t love special offers?

 

brain neuroscience, amygdala, course
Our advanced course on attachment and neuroscience has been recently released and is now available! And, since you are deep into these shownotes then you are one of us, so get 10% off by putting in code OURCLAN. 🙂
While this course is utilized heavily by clinicians (CE’s available!), all who are interested in deepening security in yourselves and your relationships are welcome to participate. It is a full 4 hours of curated content!
CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION

 

Want to help us keep going? We are now on Patreon and you can become a Neuronerd supporter and help the show continue to improve. 

Join our exclusive community of Therapist Uncensored Neuronerds for as little as $5 a month!

Increase your access, join a kick-ass like-minded community, get discounts on our courses and get exclusive content.

Help us create a ripple of security by supporting us in freely sharing the science of relationships around the globe!

NEURONERDS UNITE! Click here to sign up.

Tweet

Recent Episodes

Journey to Self-Discovery: Navigating Identity & Mental Health as a Korean American Immigrant (241)

Journey to Self-Discovery: Navigating Identity & Mental Health as a Korean American Immigrant (241)

Dr. Ann Kelley and Hyeseung Song, a first-generation Korean American discuss Hyeseung’s experiences growing up as an Asian minority in America, touching on topics like racial stereotypes, assimilation, and the model minority myth .Hyeseung shares her journey of finding her voice and identity, highlighting the mental health challenges of navigating between cultures.

read more
Addiction, Attachment & the Felt Sense Polyvagal Model with Jan Winhall – Replay (240)

Addiction, Attachment & the Felt Sense Polyvagal Model with Jan Winhall – Replay (240)

Enjoy this replay episode with Jan Winhall, as we explore how our bodies can guide us towards healing and growth through the
concept of “felt sense.” This approach integrates neuroscience and focuses on our innate ability to perceive and respond to our experiences. Winhall’s work challenges conventional views on navigating challenges influenced by culture and trauma.

read more
Episode Swap: Secure Relating with Ann & Sue on The Baffling Behavior Show (239)

Episode Swap: Secure Relating with Ann & Sue on The Baffling Behavior Show (239)

One of the many incredible aspects of this community are the people we are able to connect and learn with, like Robyn Gobbel.
She is a licensed social worker, podcast host, keynote speaker, writer, trainer & consultant – and even host launch this spring. This episode, Ann and Sue joined her on her podcast, “The Baffling Behavior Show”, to talk about secure relating.

read more
Managing Intense Feelings for Kids and Grownups with Lindsey Kealey (Replay) – (238)

Managing Intense Feelings for Kids and Grownups with Lindsey Kealey (Replay) – (238)

As our schedules shift for summer, we think revisiting this episode with expert Lindsey Kealey is the perfect reminder. The warmer weather is great for vacations or some weekend fun in the sun, but we also know that the shift in schedule can be tough for parents and children. Little minds can have big feelings and in the spirit of secure relating, we are taking the opportunity to revisit strategies for teaching kids how to regulate their emotions and promote positive connection with others. Lindsey Kealey introduces a trauma-informed program grounded in neuroscience, employing social-emotional learning and problem-solving techniques to enhance decision-making and relational well-being. Through her Three C’s approach – connect, calm, and collaborate – she aims to revolutionize interpersonal dynamics, empowering individuals to interact more positively with themselves and others.

read more
Security Individually, Relationally, and in Community with Ann & Sue 3 of 3 (237)

Security Individually, Relationally, and in Community with Ann & Sue 3 of 3 (237)

This is our final part where we lean into the last section of the book to help us all build a deeper connection, Moving from individual to interpersonal and then societal levels, we discuss the complexities of human connection. Ann and Sue touch on leadership and the need for nuance in navigating today’s challenges while aiming to expand beyond just the Western lens. Whether it be with your partner or even how you navigate your community – building security helps us find a state of curiosity, openness, and wonder.

read more
Shifting Activation Levels: Part II of Secure Relating with Ann & Sue (236)

Shifting Activation Levels: Part II of Secure Relating with Ann & Sue (236)

Following the launch of the book, our virtual party, and our Modern Attachment conference in Austin, TX, Ann and Sue open with gratitude from the event, and for the overwhelming outpour of love and support from our community and those who help inspire this content. As we dive into more chapters of the book, we lean into understanding the attachment spectrum colors, recognizing what is happening internally when we feel activated, and shifting activation levels.

read more
Holding Your Own – Behind the Scenes and Part I of Secure Relating with Ann & Sue (235)

Holding Your Own – Behind the Scenes and Part I of Secure Relating with Ann & Sue (235)

After years of hard work, Sue and Ann could not be more excited to celebrate the release of their book. Today’s episode offers behind the scene’s conversation and a deeper dive into Part 1 of the book, Secure Relating Holding Your Own in an Insecure World. You can purchase it now directly at www.securerelatingbook.com and get an ad-free podcast feed at www.therapistuncensored.com/join.

read more
Integrative Attachment Therapy with Dr. David Elliott (234)

Integrative Attachment Therapy with Dr. David Elliott (234)

Exactly 100 episodes later, Ann and Sue are thrilled to be back discussing Integrative Attachment theory with Dr. David Elliott. Together they delve into the therapy model’s development, centered around three key elements: enhancing collaboration, fostering metacognition, and constructing new internal working models through imagery. Dr. Elliott elaborates on how the therapeutic journey prioritizes the therapeutic alliance, perspective-taking, and employing mental imagery to cultivate fresh attachment dynamics. Despite limited empirical validation, anecdotal evidence suggests its efficacy in symptom reduction and enhancing overall well-being. Ann and Sue share insights into crafting their book and course on attachment insecurity, emphasizing the significance of mental imagery and collaborative engagement in therapy, while underscoring the necessity for more therapists skilled in attachment therapy.

read more
Information Processing: Sunglasses, Early Attachment & More with Ann & Sue (233)

Information Processing: Sunglasses, Early Attachment & More with Ann & Sue (233)

Ann and Sue are back for another deep dive, this time on all things information processing. Using the concept of sunglasses as a metaphor for information distortion, they explain how our internal working models and attachment experiences shape the way we perceive and interpret information. The sunglasses represent different states of activation, with clear glasses indicating a secure state and aviator sunglasses representing a defensive, self-protective state. Sunglasses can affect our relationships – but they don’t have to stop us from building healthy connections. Follow along as we explore the importance of curiosity, self-reflection, and open-mindedness in navigating relationships.

read more
The Neuroscience Behind Our Collective Dysregulation: Navigating Today’s Social Crisis (232)

The Neuroscience Behind Our Collective Dysregulation: Navigating Today’s Social Crisis (232)

We can understand our social pain by considering the nervous system, just think of it as a collective amygdala hijack!  Threat is pressing us to live in an alarm state and then we get used to it, as if it’s normal to be so divided, hopeless and disdainful to those who are holding different positions in the world. We need to cultivate secure (mature) relating to move ourselves back into a social, relational place that makes us more generous, compassionate and able to work with complexity to stay engaged to solve some of these pressing world and community issues. Keep hope alive! Iwww.therapistuncensored.com/join

read more
Hypnosis for Healing: Understanding the Powerful Science with Dr. David Spiegel (231)

Hypnosis for Healing: Understanding the Powerful Science with Dr. David Spiegel (231)

Join Dr. Ann Kelley and Dr. David Spiegel as they dive into the benefits and misconceptions of hypnosis. Hypnosis is a state of highly focused attention and cognitive flexibility, allowing individuals to explore new possibilities. Whether it’s trouble with sleep, intense anxiety, or a need to break bad habits, hypnosis has proven to be an effective tool for many. Dr. Spiegel has dedicated years of research and emphasizes the importance of accessibility to hypnosis in our healthcare systems. His app R E V E R I has over 1 million downloads and allows you to rewire your brain, conquer negative habits, and achieve personal growth from home.

read more
Mind, Body, Heart, Spirit: Embodying Liberation Psychology with Dr. Shena Young (230)

Mind, Body, Heart, Spirit: Embodying Liberation Psychology with Dr. Shena Young (230)

Join co-host Sue Marriott and Dr. Shena Young as they dive into liberation psychology and the conflict between intuition and the traditional European model of psychology. Dr. Shena highlights embodying a holistic approach to help heal traumas and deeply root us in our most authentic selves. Whether through connections with nature and/or the exploration of ancestral traditions, this discussion is enriched with various opportunities to reconnect and liberate our mind, body, heart, and spirit.

read more

What else do you want to learn today?

Get Your Modern Attachment-Regulation Spectrum (MARS)Bundle

3 videos, 3 handouts, and 7 podcast episodes to get you started on your path toward secure relating.

Success! Please check your inbox to confirm your subscription and access your starter pack.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This