We are delighted to announce Lynne V. Rosen, LCSW as our newest member of our Re-authoring Teaching Faculty. Currently practicing in Los Angeles, California, Lynne has been engaged in therapeutic work for over 25 years in medical, residential, inpatient, community and private practice settings. She found her therapeutic and philosophical home in the early 90’s when she traveled to New York to hear Michael White and David Epston. Most recently, Lynne has focused her attention on integrating Narrative Therapy with EMDR, Somatic Therapies and Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB) with clients who are living with the effects of Trauma, Eating Problems and other difficulties that compromise relational well-being.

 Lynne’s work is guided by this favorite proverb:

Until lions have historians, tales of hunting will always glorify the hunter.

                       An African Proverb

Lynne has had a long-standing interest in bringing forward lions’ tales, stories and experiences at the margins, where there is wisdom and knowledge that can transport us all. She continues to feel passionate about teaching, supervising and public conversation work and for many years, she had the privilege of working as Core Faculty and Director of the Postmodern Therapy Training Program at Phillips Graduate Institute (PGI) and Co-Founder of WPLA (Women’s Project Los Angeles).

Have we thrown the body out with the bathwater?  Integrating Narrative Therapy and EMDR

Lynne Rosen

At a recent PoMo Gathering  in Los Angeles  (April 3, 2016) Lynne gave an inspiring workshop on possibilities for thoughtfully integrating Narrative Therapy and EMDR. Drawing from Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal development, she provided a philosophical foundation for how she makes meaning of the work. Addressing assumptions from narrative therapy, interpersonal neurobiology and EMDR, Lynne offered language for talking about EMDR work from a relational constructionist lens and possible implications for expanding talk therapy conversations.

Sharing illustrations from her practice, she demonstrated what adjunctive EMDR work makes possible. Using transcripts, she – and her colleagues- showed how it is possible to bridge narrative therapy with EMDR and somatic therapies.

Now Lynne will bring her skillful and enthusiastic teaching to our Narrative Training.  In the second half of 2016, Lynne will present two Collab Salons on integrating narrative therapy and EMDR. She has also begun work on an online course. In the future, we also hope to sponsor Lynne offering a Vermont workshop. Watch this site for further information!

A bit of history

Lynne’a appreciation for therapies that access wisdom outside of spoken language is rooted in a range of training and experience.  She considers narrative therapy and social constructionism as her philosophical home:

Having started my training in the early 90’s, in a facility that offered movement therapy, art therapy, psychodrama and family sculpting to clients living with the effects of trauma and eating problems, my appreciation for therapies that accessed wisdom outside of spoken language has always been close at hand. I discovered Narrative Therapy/social constructionism around this time (White, Epston), which has remained my philosophical home. I found myself interested in and grappling with how to better bring client experiences of sensations, feelings, images and memories into the therapy room. I resonated strongly with various thinkers: Tom Andersen, who spoke of working with the physicality of all language; Ken Gergen, who influenced my thinking as I struggled to find ways to step outside of binaries and think about experiences of thinking, feeling, sensation and brain from a relational constructionist perspective and Bessel Van der Kolk, who has written eloquently about working with the effects of trauma.

Learning EMDR and other somatic-oriented therapies was an exciting next step. I am working on putting language and understanding around an integration that resonates both philosophically and practically. I look forward to others joining me in the process! I am just now making meaning of what I have witnessed along the way: an integrative way of working that accelerates and amplifies healing and bestows dignity and moral agency to clients in ways that position them back in the drivers seat to act in accordance with intentions, values, purposes, hopes, dreams, beliefs and commitments. 

Michael White (2004), in writing about responses to trauma, referenced the  work of the Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky (Zone of Proximal Development), and the Australian psychiatrist Russell Meares. Two tenets that caught my attention are that children learn from the responses of important adults in ways that help them construct a reference point to evaluate and make meaning of new experiences, and that memory unfolds from an unconscious to a conscious process during early childhood. This maturation is important in developing concepts for narrative construction, autobiographical memory (a sense of “myself” that unfolds over time), and a language for inner life (stream of consciousness). One effect of severe and early trauma is that it seems to rob clients of memories, and disconnects them from what has shaped moral virtues and intentions, as well as a sense of “myself” across time, constraining the movement from the known to what is possible to know.

Exploring distress as tribute to what one treasured that was threatened or corroded, discovering acts of resistance and redress, and thickening subordinate stories, actively engages clients in a process of reestablishing memory, and a connection with the language of inner life. However, what I have witnessed is that in working with the effects of severe and/or early trauma, some of the connections made in re-authoring conversations seem to vanish outside of the therapist’s door; clients lose a reference point and a sense of agency, and moment-to-moment experiences continue to be influenced by trauma in ways that seem unconscious and factual. Experiences of sensations and images become the enemy. The turning away from these experiences often leads to a sense of confusion, numbness, anger and shame.

As I have been co-researching the effects of integrating Narrative Therapy and EMDR/Somatic Therapies with those who consult me, I have come to appreciate how using a process of dual awareness to re-member early experiences sparks new associations with memories not ordinarily accessed (a kind of “double seeing”). This leads to discovering different metaphors and ways of looking; reinvigorating a connection with moral virtues, a language for inner life and new possibilities for action. When sensations, images and memories are engaged in this way, with child-like creativity, clients connect with real and imagined allies, and solutions and subordinate stories emerge.  A sense of “aliveness” and agency creates new possibilities for relating.  Lynne Rosen 

Questions to Ponder

In her quest to bring emotions and physicality into therapeutic work, Lynne offers these recent musings to ponder:

  • How do we work with client experiences of chronic physiological arousal, dissociation and shut down/collapse?
  • What do we do when clients seem to be predominantly in run, hide, flight, freeze mode?
  • What becomes inscribed on the body when the effects of trauma are operating, and how do we shift these performances of emotions/sensations and images?
  • What are the effects of accessing memories, sensations, feelings and images (parts of experience ) that are not ordinarily accessed?
  • How do we work with the language of sensations, images, memories in the therapy room? What are the effects of rendering these experiences invisible, so clients continue to hold them privately?
  • How do these alternative practices helps to take apart cultural constructions of how clients “should” respond to trauma, which invites self-hatred, self-blame and shame?
  • How do we think about biology and the brain in ways that are not causal or support interiority ideology? How do we recast the discourses of the mind, brain and so-called biological “truths” while honoring what biology might make possible? (Gergen, 2009)
  • How do we work with clients who experienced trauma before spoken language was on board?

Watch this site for further information!

Lynne is scheduled to present our September and December (2016) Collab Salons. Check out the schedule here!