Can you tell if you’re doing too much in a session?

One of the fundamental principles of Ortho-Bionomy is to do the least amount necessary to facilitate the body’s capacity for self regulation and self balancing. But sometimes we can end up doing too much or what we might call “over working” our client which can greatly reduce the effectiveness of the work or stimulate an exaggerated response.

There are definitely some signals that we may be doing too much in the course of the sessions with a client. Checking in with our client about how they are responding early on can help the session progress smoothly and comfortably.

1. Suddenly the responses in the body seem confused. As we’re working we may notice that the reflexive responsiveness that was clear earlier is no longer feeling coherent. In fact, we as the practitioner may be feeling confused about what is happening when we were feeling on track just shortly before.

2. The client or the body tissues start to feel agitated. Wen the nervous system is receiving too much information for it to process it may go into a state of hyperactivity to try to slow things down. So what was previously comfortable in the session is now feeling irritating or aggravating.

3. Suddenly it feels like the body is “unavailable”. Another nervous system regulating strategy is to simply check out – there won’t be any kind of reflexive response felt in the tissue in the tissues. It’s as if there is simply noone home to respond.

4. The tissues start to feel “waterlogged”. The body responses are no longer feeling crisp but are feeling sluggish instead.

So what can you do when you start to notice that you may be going into the over-worked state?

1. Shift the focus of the work to another part of the body. The area may need to have an opportunity to integrate following the input during the work it received. Working somewhere else can create some space to allow the input from the initial work to integrate and can support changes elsewhere.

2. Start working with self care exercises. Perhaps the amount of change that can happen in a session has already been achieved so it might be better to explore some self care techniques or exercises. I’ll often change the focus to what the client can pay attention to after the session so that the work can continue in the timing appropriate for the client.

3. Re-orient or centre yourself as the practitioner. Sometimes our attention can drift from tracking what is happening for the client and we’re actually no longer following the client’s patterns but our own. By initiating a “state shift” by re-orienting ourselves we can clarify the present time responses with the client.

4. Create more “space”. Perhaps the client is responding to the experience of having too much or too intense a focus. By stepping back and perhaps changing the pacing or timing of the session we can facilitate greater responsiveness with the client.

Usually when we overwork the client’s body is able to regulate efficiently and there are no adverse responses. For those clients that consistently report that they experience a greater than expected short-term exaggeration of symptoms after the session I’ll be more vigilant for signs of overworking. And I’ll also want to get more feedback from my client during the session to make sure that we’re both not missing the signals of nervous system over stimulation.

By noticing the early signs of overworking we can avoid overstimulating the client’s tissue responsiveness and we can efficiently facilitate change within the context of ease.