Drawing into Art to Thrive and Survive with Ruth Culver

Empowered Through Compassion: EMDR and IFS Informed Therapy - A podcast by David Polidi


Season 1, Episode 31, Release Date: 5-28-2024 Drawing into self to Survive and Thrive with Ruth Culver   Ruth Culver is an Integrative Hypnotherapist, IFS Practitioner, and Internal (IFS) Constellations She also created and leads workshops on IFS intuitive Drawing, and "Drawing into Self," Internal Constellations, and her "Survive and Thrive Spiral."   Ruth spoke about her work in hypnotherapy, and how IFS allows up to really understand a system so we can get permission from protectors before rattling exiles (very similar to how IFS can also aide EMDR).   Also, Ruth said that for some of her clients, the Ventral Vagal state did not feel like they were "tolerating" difficult things, it felt more as if they were "accepting" and feeling OK through the difficulties.   We spoke about "freeze" state, and how this felt like active energy, which is sometimes missed in descriptions. Ruth said, "This is very different than collapse, it is more a thought of, I got to do something about this, but I can't"     I (David) questioned if each part has their own autonomic nervous system of their own. Ruth's answer was that yes, and they are all reacting to a larger nervous system in the body. "The parts take on their roles in response to this larger nervous system."   When we check in with parts, in IFS, we are in effect reprograming each of their nervous systems. In this way, repetition is very important. In some ways, this feels a lot like reconsolidating the part's memories.   We spoke about spirituality, and Ruth shared that her journey has been more about being rather than doing. She shared that she has been involved with family constellation work, which really started through absorbing some of the practises of South Africa, and how they were interacting with ancestors.   Ruth shared how family constellation work was tuning into somatic energy, where there would be a group of participants and they would help represent family members and ancestors. Ruth broadened this to include internal parts of systems as well.    Ruth shared how you could feel a connectedness within the group and a form of synchronicity. Almost as if the group was a jazz band, listening and improving with one another! Again, Ruth shared how IFS brings a lot of safety to this technique.   We spoke about the similarities of this practise to Psychodrama, and Ruth shared that she believes "Constellations goes one step further." There is more unconsicious work being done, and less containment (not guiding participants how to act or what to say). Therefore, good preparation becomes vital.   Ruth said she creates safety by (1) slowing things down, and (2) staying curious. When exiles show up, it is OK because we can see them, and ask them to wait. As Cece Sykes says, "we can send them little golden threads." We can say to them, I might not be able to get to you right now, but I see you. This can be very healing!   We spoke about "Drawing into Self" and how healing it could be to have parts express themselves through color and movement on a page. This taps into preverbal and nonverbal modes of communication, and then we can do IFS through the intuitive drawing.    When we share this with partners, we also learn how to really listen to what someone is sharing. Ruth has put together many protocols for this. She has found that this externalizes parts.   She also has workshops on her Survive and Thrie model. "Its all about safety and connection."