Massage Today: Heart Centered Therapy (HCT): Assume Only Love; Healing Relationships and the Emotional Component of Disease.
Small Article by a School Principal That Took HCT
He’d been sent to my office . . . again. The look on his face clearly said that he fully expected to be in trouble . . . again. This time, however, a surprise awaited him. This time, my principal toolbox contained a new tool. You see I had just returned from an HCT class, so I was eager to work with him in a new way.
Instead of approaching the situation as a discipline issue, I sweetly said, “Have a seat and let’s talk.” He eyed me suspiciously, but complied. He knew I was up to something. His intuition was right on track.
I posed the question, “So what do you want to work on today?” His reply was laced with denial and blame. With his arms crossed, he was poised for battle, daring me to change his mind. I simply said, “Hmmm.” I let the word fill the air between us and I held a space for understanding, acceptance and love. I waited for him to break the silence and to accept my collaborative support. Now HCT could begin.
We worked through the HCT protocol sitting at my office table. He said that he always felt safest when his dog was with him, so we invited his dog to join us. Through HCT, this little guy learned that it’s not about blame. It’s about looking honestly at a situation and feeling safe enough to examine the feelings behind it before attempting to resolve it.
With HCT, we focused our energies on positive growth and learning, rather than on blame and consequences. In the olden days, principals and teachers were quick to assign consequences and punishments as a way to drive out the negative behavior. That pathway is flawed from the onset because it focuses all of the energy on the negative behavior and fails to search out new attitudes and beliefs.
Punishment tends to make angry students angrier and sets the adult up as the target for their negative energy. It harms relationships and guarantees that we will tangle another day. Using the HCT protocol, students learn to work through their feelings and issues in a safe and soothing way. They can find greater peace and empowerment to make the changes that are necessary to resolve the conflict situation. When they are heard, REALLY heard, their anger is diminished and they emerge with a renewed sense of self.
With HCT, I have been able to delve more deeply into the thoughts, experiences, feelings and motivations that are driving the behavior. This is especially useful in understanding students from different cultural backgrounds or students who have special needs. HCT helps students to embrace new attitudes and new ways of dealing with difficult situations that won’t lead them to the principal’s office.
At the end of our time together, a new boy had emerged. It was obvious on his face. I was truly stunned by the transformation and I told him so. He was intent on his analysis as we looked in the mirror together. After a few hushed moments, I introduced him to himself. With a lopsided grin, he said, “Yeah, that’s how it feels. Like I’m brand new.” I told him that the ‘new image’ of himself would last forever if he held tight to that intention. He could prompt himself to behave in new ways. What a delight it was to formally introduce him to his teacher and later, to his parents. He shared his newfound understandings of himself and explained to them how things would look differently from this point forward.
That school year ended without a single repeat discipline issue from this young man. I was prepared for the possibility of a follow up dialogue session the following fall, but things have been going so well it has not been necessary. HCT has not only enhanced his school experience, but mine as well! It is such a joy to interact with him in so many positive ways at lunchtime, in the hallways, and during recess. He is making and keeping friends. What a gift to our school!
As educators, we know that for change to be lasting, it must first be internalized. HCT provides the framework for the students to do the work. If you regularly work with children, yours or someone else’s, consider the impact you can have with HCT enhanced dialoguing skills. Your words to a child can be harmful or healing. You choose. On behalf of children everywhere, I hope you choose HCT to support your interactions.
- Debbi Wagner,
Eberwhite Elementary Principal
Ann Arbor Public Schools
Ann Arbor, Michigan
How HCT Changed my Coaching Career and Personal Life?
I have been a dedicated competitive swimming coach for 30 years. I was fortunate to experience two of my swimmers making the Olympic team, one of which was a medalist at the Seoul Games in Korea in 1988. Two years ago I met Alaya at HCT 1 and came to the realization that I have a heart and that I could see and feel life differently for myself. My life was changed forever. It was at HCT 2 that it hit me what a profound impact this process could have on the children that I work with. How might I incorporate HCT in my coaching philosophy?
We started in a very innocent way introducing the basic principles of HTC and experimenting with these experiences in the water. We now have some kids purely swimming in their heart and working with sound improves skills and reduces fatigue levels while training and racing. I feel enthusiastic that we are moving forward with Heart Centered Swimming. I feel confident that through heart-filled intention and openness to further exploration, we could have a profound impact on coaches of all sports.
Working in a Loving way has challenged my own personal growth and has reduced the life stresses that we all put on ourselves. Creating change in people’s minds is always challenging, but very much worth the effort. I look forward to the continuing Journey that Heart Centered Swimming and living fully in my Heart Brings to my own life and lives that I connect with.
Basically, when the kids are in their heart space and using sound they can:
- Improve their stroke position floatability
- They can reduce increase speed using sound – therefore fatigue is not really present
- There swimming races can reflect when they are in their heart and not. Their splits (times time per length) can indicate when they where in or out of their heart.
We’ve done tests where I get the kids to do vertical kicking holding an object above water. When in their heart, there is very little noise in the water. In their heads… the total opposite, we hear grunting, and lots of water noise.
- Eric Kramer, Head Coach
Northumberland Aquatic Club
Port Hope, Ontario, Canada