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Zdjęcie główne artykułu From Surviving to Thriving: The Healing Symphony of Defense Mechanisms and Sub-Personalities

From Surviving to Thriving: The Healing Symphony of Defense Mechanisms and Sub-Personalities

Text from the series “Holistic Healing Chronicles: Nourishing Your Body, Mind, and Soul for Lasting Wellness” by Nisarga Eryk Dobosz.

Greetings to all fellow seekers of healing and self-discovery!

In the world of breathwork and trauma work, the core of therapeutic practice lies in the creation of a sacred space for the client—a space where the intricacies of their emotions can unfurl, where their armor can shed, and where the intricate web of defense mechanisms – our subconscious survival strategies formed in childhood – can be unraveled.

Our journey through life often necessitates the development of various sub-personalities—adaptive roles such as the pleaser, victim, nice person, rescuer, joker, inner critic, skeptic, judge, cynic, controller, detached, and know-it-all. These personas (which I also call defense mechanisms) are built during our formative years as a means to navigate the challenges and emotional threats life throws our way.

In therapeutic spaces, be that Biodynamic Breathwork, Myofascial Energetic Release, or Compassionate Inquiry sessions, these defense mechanisms manifest as patterns that have safeguarded us through the years. It is crucial to recognize these patterns as gifts, acknowledging their role in our survival and resilience during difficult times.

When a client exhibits dissociative, controlling, or judgmental patterns, the key is to guide them towards self-realization. Together, we embark on a compassionate journey of exploration and enquiry. As we start to understand that these patterns have very deep roots—they’re often formed 20, 30, or even 40 years ago— we both see the necessity of time and patience. Over multiple sessions, we are able to reshape the neuroplasticity of the nervous system and establish new, safer modes of engagement.

The foundation of this transformation often involves creating regulation in the nervous system, fostering the Ventral Vagal Complex for safety, intimacy, presence, love, and compassion. Building this foundation requires the creation of a Counter Vortex, enriched with internal and external resourcing, resonance, interoception, and felt sense. This process enhances awareness and embodiment, and creates a newfound sense of safety.

As therapists, navigating this journey with our clients requires self-awareness of our own countertransference—acknowledging any projections we may have onto our clients. Maintaining a clear space of compassion and possibility, devoid of a desire to change the client, allows us to honor their complete and integrated potential as human beings. This acknowledgment creates a safe haven, empowering clients to muster the courage to delve into challenging memories or traumatic experiences from their past. In the present, they are able to express themselves within the safety of their bodies – sometimes for the first time in their lives – and over time, they are able to witness their own healing journey.



With heartfelt compassion and dedication,

Nisarga Eryk Dobosz


Follow Nisarga’s Facebook page – here

Nisarga Eryk Dobosz – founder of the Integral Body Institute. He has been practicing bodywork, breathwork, meditation and tantra for over 20 years. He is a bodywork and breathwork therapist, specialising in Myofascial Energetic Release, Biodynamic Breathwork and Trauma Release and deep tissue work. An experienced teacher of Lomi Lomi Nui massage and Tantra.

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