This is an enjoyable and highly readable book; as well as being originally conceived and thought-provoking, it is not the usual technical, instructive or educational bodywork title filled with anatomically- labelled diagrams. Every Body Tells a Story by craniosacral therapists Liz Kalinowska and Daška Hatton tells the story of a ‘fictionalized’ client named Anna undergoing 10 craniosacral therapy treatment sessions, narrated after each session from the point of view of the client - Anna, the therapist - Sarah, and sometimes the supervising therapists – Liz and Daška.
The client Anna is a composite ‘amalgamation’ of many clients encountered by the authors over many years in practice. Anna, who was very stressed, and having disputes with her partner and children, had never before encountered any type of complementary / alternative therapy, but had visited Sarah on the recommendation of one of her friends Sasha.
Every Body Tells a Story tells how this ‘virgin’ client, who had no idea of what craniosacral therapy was, how it might work, how long it could take, and what could be the results, presents herself to Sarah the therapist. And then the amazingly interesting story unfolds. Anna has never been asked to lie on a therapist couch or have hands laid on her. When, after their brief initial conversation in which Anna can’t really articulate what is the problem, Anna lies on the table and Sarah, who really doesn’t know anything about Anna, asks Anna to relax and holds her head in her hands.
Each chapter narrates events told by the client - Anna, the therapist - Sarah, and sometimes Sarah’s supervisor. If you have experienced many bodywork or other complementary therapy sessions - massage, acupuncture, osteopathy - it is likely that you know what the therapy consists of, what generally happens, what sorts of problems it can treat, and perhaps how long it might take to see results. However, in this account, you can hear Anna asking herself many of the questions we may ask ourselves: “Am I wasting my money?” How long will it take to see results? and Is this going to work?
In this book, Anna experiences a profound and moving epiphany near the beginning of the treatment sessions which piques her interest and respect for the process and sustains throughout the treatment.
Not only do we experience the feelings of the client; it turns out that the issues affecting Anna trigger emotional reactions to her own life situation in Sarah, the therapist. This is an important and not often discussed issue, outside of the psychological / counselling therapies community. This further provokes the very common reaction on the part of the therapist to share their own life experiences, which is not always appropriate in the therapeutic relationship. Once the therapist divulges one ‘secret’, then refuses to divulge more of her life, this sets up a reaction in the client that she has been rejected.
In addition to the therapy sessions each told from the above mentioned perspectives, there are references to Greek Mythology, the Hero’s Journey and Pilgrim’s Progress, Jungian Psychotherapy and other psychosocial / mythical figures.
I think that this book illuminates much that is hidden, undiscovered and not discussed about what happens in therapeutic situations between the client, the therapist and supervisors. I found the outcome and the prospect of the client’s continuing journey a satisfactory ending to this saga, and genuinely recommend this book to fellow clients and practitioners alike.
Available from all good bookstores and Amazon