the need to be “in control”

A common theme with those healing from burn-out is a need to ‘be in control’ in order to feel ‘safe’.

A need to be in control is a primal survival mechanism, one that has ensured that we are alive now. Each one of us exists thanks to an endless stream of decisions that our ancestors made to ensure that we were materially ‘safe’.

So it’s not surprising that this hard-wired mechanism is etched deep in our way of being.

But now, even when our material needs are met, “something” continues to tell us that we are not safe, that we need to keep working/fighting/figuring things out.

This mechanism is not “wrong”, but it has been warped beyond its original function, keeping us in survival mode for far longer and at greater intensity than evolution intended.

Trust is the antidote to control.

Interestingly, but unsurprisingly, this “need to control” manifests in the body, through tension, gripping and tightening.

What occurs psychologically also occurs somatically, and vice versa.

Often, it is easier to begin healing this mechanism from the somatic (“irrational”) level rather than the cognitive one.

Understanding a process at the intellectual level only does not necessarily facilitate a sense of safety or security in the body. This means the understanding is not embodied — and you will still be gripping your palms, jaw, toes.

I use a combination of tailored somatic techniques to guide clients through their bodies and bring awareness to the areas where they are trying to stay “in control”.

We require a safe space in which to understand, experience and allow these sensations to exist and express themselves.

Only then can we trust the wisdom behind the process of our bodies, by recalling that embodied experience of what safety feels like.

What does ‘being in control’ mean to you? How much ‘control’ is enough? And what will happen if you ‘let go’ of that control?

These are some of the questions I look at with clients from multiple directions — from work, family, and relationships, to literal sensations in the body. They are all linked.