An invitation from Helena Wagener and Jane Ball, to deepen the learning from Helena’s conference Brief Encounter “Working with Triggers”
My teenage daughter often tells me something is “triggering” and, in this way, the phrase seems to have moved beyond the therapy room and into everyday common usage. While its over-use by teenage girls may trivialise triggers and their impact, it also shows that a sophisticated neurological theory is easy to understand because we can recognise it in our own experience. The speed of response is one aspect of the trigger, it can happen so fast we don’t notice what happened, the other aspect of triggers is their intensity, with some responses being extreme and potentially damaging.
The impersonal fellowship generated in a Dialogue has a unique quality that can offer more space to process emotional responses than the interpersonal dynamic of other modes of engagement. However, a Dialogue also deepens engagement and exploration beyond everyday superficial discourse with sometimes unexpected consequences. Both participants and facilitators can be triggered as subjects that are usually undiscussable come to the surface, and ‘thoughts’ and ‘felts’ return.
How do you respond when this happens?
During this session, Helena will introduce an exercise that will both evoke the experience of being triggered, and introduce a self-managed response. I will draw on my experiences as a practitioner as we go on to explore the relevance to our own work in an open Dialogue.
This Generative Dialogue will be especially valuable for practitioners working in organisations and communities where people have suffered trauma and might be re-traumatised by their own trigger responses or the trigger responses of others. As we are all affected by triggers it is relevant to anyone who is looking to explore their own vulnerability and awareness, and how it contributes to a dialogic process.