by Beatrice Doubble, September 2016
Reading Liz Kalinowska and Daska Hatton’s new book ‘Every Body Tells a Story’ feels like taking a journey down the Amazon. It flows beautifully and invites the reader to step into previously unchartered territory, navigating the highs and lows of the therapist-client relationship as both protagonists embark upon a process of self- discovery, growth and rebirth.
Although applicable to all bodyworkers, this is the first book of its kind to focus upon the Craniosacral process by merging fiction with personal accounts. As a CST student I recall being frustrated by the lack of published female therapists, and Liz and Daska seem to have made a breakthrough in an area that that has been long under-served. There is nothing egocentric or self-indulgent here, and confusing therapy jargon and psyco-babble has been avoided. The book engages us with a warm and welcoming tone, boasting endorsements from Susie Orbach, Robin Shohet and Franklyn Sills.
The therapist, ‘Sarah’, and her client ‘Anna’ work through the layers that have brought Anna to seek treatment, and the therapist-client relationship reveals itself from both perspectives. There is a risk that the content could be repetitive, but the authors manage to skilfully interweave and mirror experiences so that they become an exchange and amalgamation of insights.
“I began to worry that I might have been spending my life going round in huge circles and this mademe feel like crying again. This time Sarah looked me in the eye quite firmly and told me that life is a cyclical experience, but the trick is to be prepared to meet each turn of the circle head on rather than getting caught up in another round. If you realise what your triggers are, it is hoped you can choose whether you are ambushed by them or not. ”
As the therapeutic process unravels, Liz and Daska add their own commentary and first-hand experiences from a combined 45 years of practice. From a therapist’s point of view it’s a reassuring read, tackling every doubt we’ve ever encountered with surprising relatability and a firm guiding hand. It made me appreciate how the ‘quick-fix’ mentality that many of us feel pressured to pander to can be a superficial and dissatisfying experience compared to working with those committed to delving deeper along the path of self- knowledge and embodiment.
“Sarah’s instinctive contact provides Anna with the support that she has been searching for all her life…Meeting in this way is something that can’t be taught on any training course and it’s what elevates our work into an art form distinct from mere physical manipulation.”
From a potential client’s perspective, the breakthroughs and steps backwards during the course of treatments are also spot-on. Liz even says that she’s had feedback from clients who’ve read her work, claiming it’s helped them engage morefully in the process.
The book is peppered with references to Greek mythology, Jungian analysis and intentionally echoes ‘The Hero’s Journey’ by Joseph Campbell. Nods to shamanic practice and other ancient healing arts infuse the text with a mystical sense that reflects the less tangible side of CST.
“There are many stories involving separation and discrimination. They usually accompany journeys to the underworld or the unconscious leading to eventual rebirth, only for the cycle to repeat. They describe the need to separate from our early experiences and borrowed judgements and discover our own paths.”
There is something about the female voice that lends itself to the nurturing side of CST, and complements its fluid nature. This book is an engaging and responsible read, if perhaps at times slightly over-cautious in its emphasis of therapist-client boundaries. But there is always an over-arching sense of compassion and support, as we are gently reminded that we are all ultimately just sharing the experience of being human.