Heather Hannam | Holding Space to Facilitate Change

Show Notes:

Do you struggle putting words to what is going on in the body? Do your clients? Ever wonder what it means to hold space for another?

In today’s podcast physical therapist, Heather Hannam, discusses how to develop the ability to present for a client and provides the language to express it.

Beginning this journey takes vulnerability. It is not easy for people to be vulnerable yet daily you ask your clients to be vulnerable with you. A definition of vulnerability is there is nothing to defend. Just as a soft heart is a sign of strength. By doing your own work to learn how to be vulnerable or develop a soft heart, you as a therapist are able to honor and recognize the pain that each client brings with them. This helps you open up to the ability to hold space for your clients. 

Questions are a great way to teach a client an emotional language. Examples are: Where in the body are you feeling that? Is it mad, sad, glad or afraid? What number is it 0-10? Is there a color associated with it? The more comfortable you are sitting with your own pains or discomforts, the greater your ability to associate and facilitate a session with a client will be. You, as the therapist, become the pendulum in the room and synchronize the client to your present state. This affords a boundary of safety to the client. By increasing their feelings of safety they are more likely to share the root of the issue. By meeting your client where they are you can help facilitate change in the client. You can, then, help them recognize the differences they feel in their own body, so they embody that change.

Remember, we are all just matter when it comes to working on ourselves or others.  Matter is just made of space and energy. According to Heather, 99% of what we are is energy. Tiny particles moving around an atom. We can pick up someone’s energy from a distance. It is a coherent set of waves of every organism that we are sinking into and assessing. When we feel changes in a room when people are arguing, that is feeling energy. To hold space for a client, it is the concept of the both and (many and), instead of the either or. It is like holding 3 things in your hands. You sense you are holding 3 objects, but you can focus on just one of those objects. You can learn to hold presence for yourself and for the patient at the same time. This holding of presence allows you to be open to the information the tissues want to give you and your client.

To learn more about healing at a distance and holding space check out the advanced postpartum technique on-line course offered by the Institute for Birth Healing.  

If you have any comments or questions about today’s episode I would love to hear from you. Message me on Instagram or Facebook, or Email Me

If you enjoyed today’s podcast and are interested in more topics to support your clinical practice and treating your clients, find us on your favorite podcast app and subscribe so you don’t miss an episode. 

To learn more visit: InstituteforBirthHealing.com

About Heather Hannam:

Heather is a life long Oregonian, who received a B.S. degree in Physical Education from Portland State University in 1976. At PSU, she was honored as the Outstanding Woman Graduate from the department of Physical Education. Heather graduated with her degree in physical therapy from Pacific University in 1978.
Heather was employed in busy outpatient orthopedic physical therapy practices for her first 19 years, including working with the trainers of the Portland Timbers professional soccer team. While developing her manual therapy skills, she nurtured her budding interest in women’s health issues to include teaching childbirth education since 1981.

Her last 25 years continued her specialization and added TMJ focus by pursuing advanced course work in manual therapies (including visceral/Craniosacral/myofascial release, muscle energy, tensegrity, Primal Reflex Release Technique – “PRRT,” massage/spinal mobilization), exercise, mindfulness, biofeedback, women’s health care including Holistic Pelvic Care and Holistic Care of the Pre and Post-Partum Body, pelvic floor rehabilitation for women and men, and Distance Healing from the Core.

She has been a teaching assistant and lecturer for Suzanne Scurlock’s “Healing the Pelvic Core: Reclaiming your Power, Sexuality and Pleasure Potential” class each summer at Esalen, Big Sur since 2008. She guest lectured on relaxation and stress management for her local high school for 15 years, and provides physical therapy consultation and stress management for her parish community. As a holistic manual physical therapist, Heather brings a unique variety of skills and personal life experiences that enhance her commitment to the best care possible for her clients.Heather retired from specialized TMJ and pelvic care clinic work in 2022, and now has a humble private practice in her home.

Heather enjoys camping and playing cribbage with her husband of 48 years and four children, is an active “Grand” for her 7 grandkidlets, writes poetry, assists her friend offering body work/respite to through-hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail for a week in Spring, and is a lifelong seeker of personal and spiritual growth.

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