Craniosacral Therapy – What It Is & Why I’m Trying It

Before I get into what craniosacral therapy is, and why I’m trying it, I want to give you a brief update. I’ve found a family therapist, we’ll call her Elle. She isn’t available for a month, so I’m seeing her June 29. This is fine by me, as I really need to think about how I want to proceed, and also let my husband and Mom know I won’t be involved in this situation anymore unless there is a neutral third party. I just can’t be. So they have to be willing to show up and work with me on this, or I’m not going to hear about it from either of them. I’m not their counselor. This is why I went to find another one. She has years of experience working with families, and has evening and weekend appointments. And, most importantly, can remain way more neutral than I think A would be able to (because I think, first and foremost, A would behave like my therapist, and not our therapist). I’ve never been a fan of having multiple therapists at a time, but in this situation, where hopefully my Mom, husband, and I can have a session together, I think its beneficial as long as I keep my lines drawn. I simply do not need my attachment issues with A getting involved in this situation. That’s messy enough.

Alright, craniosacral therapy. I’m really excited to try it but also very aware that it may bring up shit I don’t want to deal with. So that’s a definite consideration about all this here.

What is it? It’s a form of bodywork, or an alternative therapy, that uses gentle touch to manipulate the joints of the sacrum (pelvis bone) and cranium – hence the name cranial-sacral. A practitioner may also apply light touches to a patient’s spine, and pelvis. It came about from an osteopath and largely comes from the practice of cranial osteopathy.

Essentially, its a bit woo-woo when you get into it (even Sal called it woo-woo, so I feel comfortable doing it myself). The idea is that palpating certain areas of the body and maintaining deep connection with the client can help detect the (asserted – no scientific proof as of yet) small, rhythmic movements of the cranial bones in response to cerebrospinal fluid pressure – and that selective pressures may be used to manipulate the cerebrospinal fluid to assist in the release of tension/stress. The goal is to release stress in those areas that alleviates stress and pain – tension that sometimes we have been holding our whole lives.

Biodynamic craniosacral involves less manipulation than the other version of craniosacral therapy – which is good – when it comes to my head/neck/spine/fluids/whatever I don’t want anyone willy nilly twisting things around anywhere.

What I really like about it is that it involves touch, which has recently been a thing in my therapy (and the more I think about it maybe a thing I don’t want in that relationship). It also involves the creation of a contained and held space for stress to be released. Establishing comfort is a crucial tenant of craniosacral therapy, and ensures that what unfolds in a session is about a client and not occurring in reaction to a feeling of lack of safety.

The therapist quietly and gently holds parts of the body, listening for subtle rhythms and tracking changes within the system – listening to the body’s expression of what it needs. People I’ve talked to about their experiences have relaxed so deeply they fall asleep, entered a quiet meditation state, felt as though they are dreaming while awake, experienced memories and insights, felt like they were floating, and I’ve had two or three people say they felt like this massive energy had been released from within them – letting go of old patterns, and it resulted in them feeling incredibly emotional. One broke down crying in every single session after not being able to cry for years. The whole idea is that it’s body-led – shutting down the mind (ha! As if that’s possible), and letting everything release that needs releasing, while (literally) being held.

And while there isn’t much scientific evidence that I can find to pursue this, there isn’t any that says I shouldn’t, either. I think as with anything else it comes down to connection – if working with Sal can allow that hiding, young, inner part of me to express something its holding on to and improve my quality of life – I’m down.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

 

Changing Things Up

Before I start this post let me clarify that I’m not leaving A or our work together. But I’ve decided to introduce two more practitioners into my support mix, in an effort to really serve myself best. 

Sal – Biodynamic Cranio-Sacral Therapy

I don’t know if I’ve spoken about R before, or the work we do together. She’s a trauma informed RMT. Our work together is massage and only massage, as a self care aspect, but she is also trauma informed. She’s on vacation right now and has a new sub, which is how I met Sal. 
Sal is an RMT but also a biodynamic cranio-sacral therapist. I’ll save the details on exactly what that is for another post, but I had been looking for a way to incorporate body work and therapy together and settled on this method. I was looking for a practitioner when Sal dropped in my lap today.

Sal believes in all the things I do about autonomy and therapy and attachment and is super interested in birth stories and integrating with ourselves and believes generational trauma plays a huge impact on a life. Aka – we have the same belief system about all of this.

Most importantly I feel safe with Sal, and not judged, and like I’m not the only one who has gone down this journey. So, after discussing it today, I am going in to try cranio-sacral therapy on the 29th.

I knew I liked Sal when the standard “new person” introduction was different. Sal said “I know that I am not R, and I know trauma informed massage therapy with a new practitioner can feel overwhelming. I’m going to check in with you a lot, because if you’re disassociated at any point, I shouldn’t be touching you. Disassociated people can’t give consent. How does that sound?” 

Um, #nailedit.

Finding A Family Therapist 

There is a lot that is unresolved between my husband and my Mom. And my husband isn’t going to Christmas unless it’s discussed and my Mom is angry and hurt but neither of them will talk to the other without me present, for their own reasons. 

It’s ridiculous.

I told my husband yesterday after a super intense conversation with my Mom and a really long night, that I think we need a neutral third party. I am not neutral and I am not capable of it in this situation. Immediately I thought of A, but my husband asked if I really wanted him and my Mom and their energy in that space that I’ve worked so hard to make safe for me. 

And no, I don’t. I also don’t want to spend months with A going over this present day family stuff, when I’m there for a different reason.

So I’m on the hunt for a family therapist who is willing and able to take on a challenge such as this. Meeting with me, my Mom, and my husband, and assisting in the navigation of all of this.. stuff. A temporary person, who I’m not attached to, to get in the thick of it with me and help us out of this mess.

I’ll write more tonight, a lot has happened since yesterday, but this is two things I’m adding that I think will really help. 

Coming Down

I’m calmer now.

Things have settled, to a point.

They’re messier, in other ways.

So far the only financial damage is around $233. My behaviour was so erratic, that Ticketmaster, Expedia, and the credit card company labelled my purchases ‘fraudulent.’ They asked if I remembered making the purchase. I don’t, and I said as much. I said I have no recollection of purchasing those items, but that I know I was drunk. We will see what they do.

I’m so fucking lucky. If that’s the only financial damage, I caught a break.

My husband and I are… ok. He’s furious with me but as I found out later tonight more furious with my family… My Mom decided tonight was the night to have a super intense conversation about both her relationship with my husband, and my relationship with my brother.

We were on the phone for an hour and eighteen minutes. And while I still played the parent, I also held my own. She’s upset about Christmas. I told her I would be there. She said my brother wouldn’t and I said that that isn’t my problem. I don’t care. If he isn’t going to be there, he isn’t going to be there.

I accused her of a lot. Of sharing my husband’s email, of taking my brothers side. And we hung up, and she was crying, and that sucks – I made sure she knew I loved her, because I do… but ultimately I’m done sacrificing myself for them.

I’m fucking done. I don’t have to put up with an abusive sibling anymore, and I won’t.

Anyways, my husband is still angry. It’s unlikely we recover from this soon. It’s touch and go, with him, at the moment. But when I asked if he was leaving me he said “no, why would I give up our marriage over this.”

But he also said earlier “I just want your mom and dad and brother to own up to it. To own up to the fact that incidents like Thursday are on them. This isn’t your fault, but I’m mad. I’m mad that you never got the chance to learn. To learn your boudaries or emotions. I’m mad.”

I don’t even know how I feel post that conversation with my Mom.

I also wrote out a draft letter to A.

I’m hoping you all know how grateful I am that you pointed out my expectation of a rupture. I’m so used to not being listened to. But A is not my past. She is not my mother. And I plan on telling her how last Thursdays session affected me (via writing, because anything else is WAY to hard).

We will see. We will see what happens. 

Out Of Control 

This is the first time in a long time I’m so ashamed of myself and my life I want to hide under the covers and not leave. 

My husband is mad at me, my friends think I’m insane, and I managed to spiral so out of control so fast and so hard last night I’m wondering about my own sanity.

I don’t know what triggered it. I got drunk at the meeting, drinking almost a whole bottle of wine to myself. 

On the way home on the train I spent almost $6000 USD on a surprise weekend for my husband (money I don’t have, at all, and debt I DO have).

I concocted some elaborate story (read: a lie) so he wouldn’t be mad (he was anyways, and still is. He was ready to go to bed when I got home, and ended up staying up 3 hours longer all a tizzy). He told me he knew I was lying, and that when the shit hit the fan because of it he would remind me that he was super clear about how lying impacts us, and how lying equals divorce (For those of you new to the blog, lying is a very sensitive thing between us, and he isnt being unreasonable saying that if you know our history).

I then cancel a flight while trying to cancel both.

I then rebook that same flight on a different airline. 

I then book two sets of tickets to something (read: 4 tickets for 2 people), costing me approximately another $1000USD. Non refundable.

I then book a hotel, also non refundable.

I then continue to fight with my husband, texting people to see if they’ll corroborate my lies. It appears I have better friends now than I used to, because they text my husband and won’t lie for me, and, quote-unquote from Dave “she’s drunk, and seemed off at dinner. Something is wrong.” Lu was also there for me all night. Thank goodness for Lu.

So the whole thing gets shut down. I refund everything I can, cancel the hotel (and that comes with an extra $300 cancellation fee).

I have never spiralled that quickly. Ever. I have actually never done anything like this, to that extent. My lies aren’t impulsive, my emotions don’t swing around like that. When I have big emotions I can usually stuff them away and move on. Drinking didn’t help.

I’m not at all blaming A, for the record, with this next part. That therapy session was definitely some sort of trigger for a massive spiral – but ultimately I am responsible for my own actions. I also believe that in all likelihood the being held offer and conversation is still touching a raw nerve, and I don’t know how to handle it. 

I should have realized the state I was in and either cancelled the dinner and gone home or not drank. I was really, really, angry after session and with no safe way to get rid of it and the lack of an ability to stuff it I did two things I always used to do – try to run away, and lie. But it was different. Something was off. Something was wrong. 

I’ll let you know the final damage to my life as I tally it amidst my shame spiral. My husband isn’t speaking to me, and if we recover from this it’s going to be a long journey. 

What the fuck happened. What the fuck did I just do. 

I feel so incredibly alone right now. 

A motherfucking waste of a session 

This is a quickie, because I am on my way to a business meeting (why do I do that, allow therapy before I have to work). Thankfully it’s a vendor trying to impress me, not the other way around. 

I’m a mess.

What a motherfucking waste of a session.

You know those ones where you feel like you get nowhere? I really wanted to discuss what I wrote about my mom, and she was forcing talking about us. Not forcing, that’s unfair, but she did point out I was taking the conversation away from the present and away from my feelings. I didn’t want to talk about my feelings. I wanted to talk about my mom.

And now I booked to see her twice next week. Because why, exactly? Ugh, I’m frustrated.

It’s so unfair. 

I wanted to talk about what I wrote to my Mom. I was proud I had done it, and I wanted to share. And she redirected us and we never got back to it. And that would have helped me get to a place where I could discuss my emotions. And it would have helped me cry. And now I’m just mad. 

It’s about time we had a rupture. It’s been a while.

I feel like picking a fight. I have to calm down. This is not how one does business (I’ll be fine, I’ll just disassociate away from it). But Dave will be there, and he will see, and he will know. 

This is why you don’t let people in. Because then you can’t hide. 

My Relationship With My Father

I’m not ready to talk about it yet, but I did the same exercise that I did about what I wish my mom could know – but written to my Dad.

And when I was done and cried out and finished writing, I read it.

And it was an apology letter. From me, to him. 

Wait, what? 

I wrote this rage and guilt and sadness and grief filled opus to my Mother encompassing all the emotions – the love, the sadness, the longing. But it was honest and true and said what I needed to say. 

I sit down to tell my Dad what I wish he knew – and it’s full of sentences like this. 

I wish you knew:

That I meant to do better. Im sorry for all the times I disappointed you. I tried so hard to meet your expectations, and I don’t ever know if you’ll love me for the effort.

That I’m sorry I couldn’t figure out how to love him the way you wanted. I’m sorry that I couldn’t be the sister you hoped I’d be. I’m sorry I’ll never be good enough for you to proudly announce I’m your daughter. 

That I love you so much and there are so many times I wish I had done better by you.

Whoa. 

And these aren’t sarcastic apologies. I don’t mean them sarcastically. I feel like I’ve failed him. 

There are clearly, clearly, some deep seated issues here. 

And unlike the letter to my Mom, which I’m bringing in to therapy today to talk about with A, I think I’m going to avoid talking about my Dad for a while. 

It’s a sore spot. I just didn’t realize how bought in to that narrative of not being good enough for him I was. 

I’m bought in, a lot. 

Milestones 

You know how we celebrate milestones in life? And often with a huge party, and especially photographs? Weddings, engagements, children being born, maternity photographs. 

I had this idea the other day, to create a milestone of my own. 

I really feel as though my growth recently is deserving of its own milestone. It’s own photoshoot. It’s own expression. 

There’s a song I’ve listened to since day one of this therapy journey. It’s called ‘Paper Crown’ and it’s by Alec Benjamin. And I wanted to create, in essence, this photoshoot representing that song and my journey, to document it. 

So today, I took a leap and told my good friend, Clare, about the idea. Clare is a seamstress, a wizard with costumes and in incredible dancer and artist. And initially I thought about how dumb it seemed and worried but Clare loved it. She loved it so much she started sketching on the spot while listening to the song. 

You know, people celebrate important life milestones with photos all the time. This coming into myself, this growth – and especially if you listen to the lyrics of this song – the strength I have as I learn to live as me – it deserves to be honored. It’s likely the most important milestone in my life, learning to accept and love myself – past and all. 

So now I’m off to pitch the idea to my photographer friend, and maybe get the ball rolling. Because I can think of nothing more freeing for a part of me that has been trapped for so long than letting it be expressed creatively in front of people I trust, as I am. 

She’ll make it out, but she’s never the same
She’s looking down, at the scars that remain
But you hold your ground, though your kingdoms in flames
Cause it’s the story of a queen whose castle has fallen to the sea


Read more: Alec Benjamin – Paper Crown Lyrics | MetroLyrics