ACST Classes

Clinical Skills in the
Treatment of Trauma and ACST

with Anngwyn St. Just, Ph.D.

This series is designed for ongoing students and practitioners of systemically oriented trauma work who wish to expand their clinical knowledge.

Participants will have an opportunity to observe clinical demonstrations of up to four sessions each day, followed by an overview and ample time for discussion.


with Anngwyn St. Just, Ph.D.

In unresolved trauma, the past is always present and the experience of overwhelming life events can alter our perceptions of both time and space. A fractal vision of trauma views our individual human experiences, relationships, and families as an integral part of a much greater whole which includes Nature, culture and historical context. We live in a fractal Universe and time itself is a fractal phenomenon. What time is it our lives, family, career, culture, country and on the planet? This seminar explores the role of linear and non-linear time and the perception of time in understanding the causes, experience and healing of individual, family and social trauma.

Men Women and Peace :
 Together with
Dr. med. Karl-Heinz Rauscher

"It's time friend, time! For peace the spirit aches!"
"Have patience with all that is in your in the question."
— Alexander Pushkin

This integrative workshop experience offers an opportunity to explore connections between our personal and familial destinies and the larger forces that shape human experience, as men, and women with troubled relationships longing to move out of fixation into flow by establishing a peaceful atmosphere of mutual respect. In order to release the burdens of the past we use the newest techniques of trauma work and systemic constellation methods. As both the overt and covert causes of conflict, pain and misunderstandings between men and women will become obvious , pathways open for good and lasting solutions. Emphasis will vary depending upon the needs of individual participants .

Generational Trauma: If Your Family Tree Could Speak...

Is there such a thing as an "Ancestor Syndrome"? Like it or not..."We are not alone". This workshop will examine the issues of ancesteral legacy, known or unknown, gender, birth order and sibling dynamics, as well as the role of "co-incidences" intimate relationships , and life cycle transitions. We will also have a look at symptomatic pattern repetitions which manifest in a vast array of behaviors such as suicide, violence and abandonment, as well as addictions such as work, alcohol, drugs, gambling, eating disorders, compulsive caretaking and so forth. Anniversary reactions are also important, as well as roles, resources, and vulnerabilities to future stress.

Together, we will navigate the experiential edges between the known and the unknown within the personal, generational, and cultural perspectives of overwhelming life events. While we emphasize the potential liabilities in the range of responses within the human organism, we are also aware of the dynamic potential of morphic fields, healing movements and a willingness to explore the uncharted realms of the family heart and soul.

Understanding Social Trauma

Social trauma work emphasizes the systemic impact of trauma beyond individuals and families into the larger fields of local, national and global community. The concept of social trauma or of trauma extending beyond the individual into the community, culture,nations and Earth herself is still very new.This workshop will address those kinds of trauma and other states of overwhelm that extend beyond individual experience. With the frequency of natural and man made disasters, contagious diseases, wars, national conflicts and violence on the increase all over the world, treatment is often a question of real physical, social, cultural and political survival for the involved region. It is important to understand that trauma is a global issue and that there is an urgent need to develop international, cross-cultural, cost-effective trauma education and recovery programs based upon easily transmitted concepts. Workshop experience will explore multimodal options for working with social trauma which are based upon the recognition that the psychophysiological manifestations of trauma are directly reflected in the behavior of humans as social beings throughtout the life cycle.

Kinesthetic, Non-Verbal, Cross Cultural Options in
Working with Trauma

"For me , strength is balance"     Ida P. Rolf

In the aftermath of traumatic overwhelm one may find dissociation, chronic pain, existential despair and a deep sense of alienation. These "broken connections" represent a fragmentation in relation to self, to others and to the larger environmental matrix supportive of human life, similar to what Martin Buber called "a wound in the order of being". Whether the wound appears in a physiological, cognitive, emotional or interpersonal realm, it is inevitably carried by the physical body.

This workshop will revolve around the healing potential of finding kinesthetic ways to "move out of fixation into flow". Clinical demonstrations featuring the Tuning Board invented by Darrell Sanchez, as an adjunct to trauma work, together with the physioballs, will illustrate the vast potential of this method for introducing non-verbal healing options into a traumatized nervous system. These demonstrations will also include specific recommendations for cross-cultural work with specific populations. Emphasis will vary according to the individual needs of the participants.

Addictions and Post Traumatic Stress Phenomena

We will maintain a clinical emphasis on working with the interrelationship of trauma with substance abuse, chemical dependency, eating disorders and process addictions (gambling, work, sex, computers, compulsive caretaking, etc.) Those of us who work with traumatized people often find that addictive behaviors are indicative of deeper issues in need of attention. When challenged, addictions tend to "shape shift" and "morph" into other forms of problematic behavior. Addictive behaviors are often complicated by biochemical, systemic ,generational , social and economic factors. This workshop will include; lecture, demonstration and some experiential work involving a multimodal and contextual approach to the complexities inherent in addictions as post traumatic stress phenomena.

Trauma, Sexuality and the Reproductive Cycle

This workshop on sexual trauma will focus on the overt and covert connections between violence and sexuality.Sexual trauma will be presented as a planet wide issue inclusive of the cross cultural and generational aspects of treatment, recovery and prevention. Relevant topics will include sexual identity, power struggles, reproductive phenomena, medical surgical experiences and developmental issues. Our format consists of lecture, demonstrations and experiential work. Particular emphasis will depend upon the topics of interest for individual participants.

Exploring Mysteries of Chronic Pain and Illness

Why Me? Why This? Why Now?

We will present innovative multimodal strategies for working with chronic illness and pain as a symptom of unresolved trauma. Emphasis will remain upon ways to resource patients, their personal and professional caregivers and significant others within the therapeutic setting.

Chronic pain and suffering can provide a compelling urgency toward finding answers to our deepest existential questions. Willing or not, we are confronted with Mystery. I have found the languages of medicine and psychology woefully inadequate for understanding this realm of human experience. From my perspective, the languages of the arts, of myth, of the spirit, and of dreams are "closer to the bone".
This workshop has been long in the making and fraught with reluctance. A lifetime of personal and professional experience with pain and suffering has presented me with more questions than answers ... Interestingly, after I had committed to doing this workshop I was thinking about St. Francis, who talked of Brother Pain as welcome and well loved as any other visitor in a life filled with birds, and beasts, with light and dark. That night I had a dream. I am standing in an open landscape, together with some colleagues, as we watch a passing circus train that is transporting beautiful birds and beasts. The crew of the train is very pleased at how carefully they have built the boxcars and transport cages. I feel a deep sadness as they pass and am grateful to not be a part of that train or that circus.
Upon waking, I realized that this dream of standing by the tracks evoked my objections and aversion to the package deals and narrow containers offered by conventional medicine and especially the HMOs. On more than one occasion, I have objected to the circus atmosphere of the power therapies with the parlor tricks, mechanical gimmicks and other claims of rapid cure.
Synchronistically, I came upon a poem by William Butler Yeats which evokes for me the necessity to descend to the underworld of the soul as part of the healing journey.

The Circus Animals Escape
Now that my ladder’s gone
I must lie down where all ladder’s start
In the foul rag and bone shop of the heart.

The landscape of the Underworld is familiar terrain. I have served more than one sentence in subterranean realms where I acquired the deepest appreciation for the transformative powers of "terrible knowledge". The only way to gain this knowledge is terrible. We turn away because it requires direct experience of the darker sides of the human condition. I have accompanied family members, friends and many clients throughout their experiences of descent. While often wishing it otherwise, I have come to understand that the healing journey requires a surrender to the process of change. More importantly, I have learned that making peace with the body has a lot to do with developing a willingness to explore uncharted realms of the heart and that undefineable essence of spirit and being that one might call soul.

Medical and Dental Trauma

Medical and dental trauma may begin before, during and after birth. The potential for post-traumatic stress responses occurs in conjunction with emergency and routine medical and dental procedures in all stages of life. Patients and professional caregivers alike are at risk for overwhelm for secondary or vicarious traumatization. We will explore reproductive technologies, obstetrical practices and pediatric protocols that have a traumatizing potential for the entire family. Workshop material will also include immobility patterns generated by body casts, orthodontia, orthopedic braces and prostheses, as well as patterns of re-enactment, responses to various forms of anesthesia in diagnostic and surgical procedures, organ transplants, and geriatric issues. Our emphasis will be upon the importance of developing resources for a sense of empowerment, increased option and resiliency in relation to medical and dental experiences.

Systemically Oriented Trauma Work

The integrative workshop experience explores an ongoing resonant and co-creative relationship betweem somatically oriented trauma work and the systemic constellation work in the tradition of Bert Hellinger. Working with individual, social and global trauma from a systemic perspective offers new windows of opportunity for deeper understanding of the Human Condition, along with expanded options for reducing overwhelm, healing broken connections and resolving hidden entanglements.

This innovative approach – which began 1997 - navigates the edges between known and unknown within the individual, generational and cultural perspectives of overwhelming life events. While this modality emphasizes the potentials and liabilities in the range of responses within the human organism, it also includes the dynamic potential of morphic fields, healing movements and a willingness to explore uncharted realms of the heart and soul.

Compassion Fatigue - Burnout

Compassion fatigue, burnout, cumulative overwhelm, secondary traumatization...this phenomena which has many names and countless variations, presents an ongoing challenge for personal and professional caregivers. Compasson fatigue is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion, where one feels depleted, chronically tired, helpless, hopeless and bad, even cynical about oneself,work, life, and the state of the world. During the seminar we will address the role of blind spots, unfinished business, trauma bonds, and underlying motivations contributing to overwhelm. Our workshop experience offers innovative preventive strategies, as well as options for restoring and manifesting a sense of relative balance and resiliency. We will also explore the value of nature as a resource, tandem partnerships, creative coalitions and supportive professional community.

Clinical Applications of Systemically Oriented Trauma Work

This module is designed for ongoing students and practitioners of systemic and body oriented trauma work who wish to expand their clinical skills. Effects of trauma will be addressed from a multimodal perspective , including physical structure, physiological process, emotions and belief systems relative to historical context and cultural identity. Participants will have an opportunity to observe clinical demonstrations of up to six sessions each day, followed by an overview with ample time for discussion.