Merging psychosomatics, bodywork, and integral trauma facilitation with Dr. Christian Gonzalez
In today’s society, we have been taught to deny, ignore, push down, and avoid unpleasant emotions. It’s easy when we live in a world with endless distractions and endless means to avoid things that may be too painful for us to process. It’s easier to turn to food, television, social media, and addictive substances than to sit with ourselves and process our feelings. What isn’t spoken about enough is that suppression of our emotions, which are essentially energy in motion, can lead to myriad health issues in the body. These unresolved emotions get trapped in the body where they build and fester, draining our energy, leading to burnout, emotional imbalance, and eventually disease. It is now becoming more apparent than ever that to heal the physical body, we must first heal the emotional body.
We spoke all about this with Dr. Christian Gonzalez, an educator, naturopathic doctor, and neo-emotional release practitioner. Neo Emotional release therapy merges psychosomatics, bodywork, and integral trauma facilitation to help release stored emotions from the body. Dr. Gonzalez explains how it differs from other somatic therapies and why traditional talk therapy only touches the surface of releasing our suppressed emotions, making the connection between emotional release and breaking generational traumas.
You recently went to Portugal to become certified as a Neo Emotional release practitioner. What is Neo Emotional release therapy and what is the purpose of this healing modality?
Neo Emotional release is the comprehensive and integrative approach to emotional healing. And by emotional healing, I mean not the cathartic emotions that you see in breathwork or other types of somatic healing, but the emotions that are beneath your compensative protective mechanisms. Under these protectors are your authentic emotions in which we have all exiled, demeaning, unsafe, and unlovable. At some point in our life, we have all exiled these emotions, so coming into contact and re-meeting that part of you allows for the deepest healing in existence.
What is the correlation between our emotions and tensions in our bodies?
Absolutely everything. Tension is a manifestation of fascial distortion. Fascial distortion in the body is a compensative mechanism for emotional imprints in various parts of the body. Just like facial distortion is created through injury, it too is created through emotional injury.
What is the law of resonance? How does this connect us to suppressed emotions?
Every emotion has an energetic imprint and frequency. Anger’s energetic imprint is much different than helplessness, shame, guilt, apathy, and grief. These energetic imprints have an affinity for different parts of the body, which is why we see ancient healing modalities like Traditional Chinese Medicine or Ayurveda classify different parts of the body with different emotions. An example is Traditional Chinese Medicine’s classification of grief in the lungs and anger in the liver. There is a reason that this ancient modality, after so many years, has created this perspective and it’s because those imprints have an affinity for those organs. So, it stands to believe that when you create safety and space in the body through Neo Emotional Release techniques, the allowance of the energetic imprint is given permission to move through the body, out, and transcend.
What organ is responsible for holding the emotion of fear?
The kidneys have long been documented for holding the emotion of fear, but I would also say that anecdotally and experimentally, there is a manifestation in the left upper quadrant area of the stomach.
Why, in your opinion, does emotional release need to be an essential focus for all healing?
It needs to be the primary and first focus before all healing. This is because at the basement level of health and healing are emotions. You cannot do all the things like healthy eating, taking the best supplements, having the best workout routine, and even having a good community without being right with yourself first. The way to be right with yourself is to address those emotions that are stuck in the body, particularly the fascia, mobilizing them so one can transcend and embody their truest, most authentic, expansive self. When you are in this state, it is very difficult for disease to exist.
Why do you think most people these days forget how to feel?
Because we have never been given permission to feel. The moment we feel the deepest, we are told that it is not acceptable by our parents, teachers, mentors, and community. There are very few people walking around this earth who are fully embodied, fully expressive, and fully themselves. When we see these people, we are so attracted and drawn to them because they show us a part of ourselves that we don't accept.
What does our ego have to do with our held emotions?
The ego manifests as the protector of our emotions, which are oftentimes compensatory mechanisms that serve us. It's the reason they are perpetuated. That said, our ego manifests regardless and it is always trying to protect us and ensure our survival. Twenty years post-trauma, our ego becomes more and more of an illusion as an adult. We can transcend that ego and allow ourselves to be, but it takes the process of co-regulation of Neo Emotional release to achieve that. It is very difficult to do it by yourself.
How can Neo Emotional release break generational traumas?
Often, generational trauma is created by the subconscious belief/manifestative action impregnated in the subconscious of someone in your familial line. That belief and pattern are subconsciously created in dynamic situations within the family. As one comes into contact with that part of them, that deepest emotion is in alignment with the same weight that your father or mother has been carrying and that suppressed emotion is in line with the same weight that your great grandmother/father has been carrying.
So, in essence, the liberation of your most authentic self and the liberation of your most suppressed emotions are oftentimes the same exact suppressed emotions that your family is suffering with. By transcending those emotions and re-creating a new relationship with that deep emotion, you can break familial trauma and prevent that from being perpetuated in your children.
You mentioned that talk therapy shows you that there is a tree, but it will never get to your roots. Can you explain why we can't talk our way through moving emotions out of the body?
You absolutely cannot talk your way out of moving emotion because thoughts arise from emotion and thoughts are a very different consciousness from the language of emotion. The language of emotion is the language of the body, so when emotion is suppressed in the body, logic must be taken out of the equation for that to move. You cannot think out an emotion, you can only quiet logic.
Unfortunately, talk therapy will never move the most suppressed emotions in the body. The place of talk therapy is to create a knowing that you are carrying something. Allowing the body to take over through a practice like Neo Emotional release and then bringing talk therapy in again integrates a new sense of self and a new identity.
Some would say that breathwork is a form of somatic work. What is the difference between Neo Emotional release and doing breathwork or other types of somatic therapies?
Breathwork is effective in getting you into your body and is effective in the cathartic part of emotional release. But the catharsis is not the endpoint to healing - catharsis is your superficial emotions. The difference is that after catharsis with breathwork, your protectors still end up coming to the surface and your deepest, most unlovable emotions oftentimes don’t come up during breathwork.
Breathwork can be a part of emotional release, but there needs to be other modalities integrated to get past those protective mechanisms. They are steadfast in many people and very difficult to surrender. Through Neo Emotional release, we provide space for the person to create in their own body, and surrender to get to those deeper emotions. So, in short, breathwork is a great way to get through those cathartic emotions on the surface, but it does not get to the deepest emotions. That takes transcendence and an integral approach.
What can someone expect to feel after an emotional release therapy session, and how many sessions, in your opinion, would it take to fully release what we have stored in the body?
Depending on the level of emotions that are accessed, if it’s a cathartic experience of superficial emotions, it would be similar to breathwork. On average, I would say practicing takes two or more visits. One visit would be for someone who is very much in their body, very in touch with their emotions, easy to get out of their head and into their body, and easy to express themselves vocally and through sound. For those people, it usually takes one visit. But on average, it takes a while for people’s protector to come to the surface and to be surrendered to get to the emotions under it.
If we don’t have the ability to work with you, how can we all start to work on releasing our own suppressed emotions? Most of us don’t even know where to start.
As far as Neo Emotional release practitioners, there are only two in the states right now, but we are running trainings the rest of the year, which I will be leading in the US. Sit tight because there will be more practitioners in the next six to eight months.
In the meantime, it is very important for people to be in touch with their body, allowing themselves the time to lay down and feel every inch of their body from toe to knee, to hip, to stomach, to chest, and all throughout their hands and throat and to their face. The more that you remove logic and the more that you are in your body, the more you get to experience the superficial sensations of emotion.
After you let yourself feel those, then comes protective mechanisms. Bringing awareness around the connection to what your protectors are would be a transcendent tool in itself. Trauma is oftentimes regulated through someone else, with someone else as a co-trauma. When someone says something to you, you feel it. When someone does something to you, you feel it. So, healing through trauma also requires co-regulation where there is someone there creating that space for you to feel safe with someone else’s energy to feel safe in your own energy. So bringing awareness around your body is a great place to start before seeing a practitioner.