Interview with Katrina Rachuy on her multidisciplinary approach to healing trauma and moving towards wholeness.
Katrina is a multi disciplinary healer, her main modalities are acupuncture/bodywork and psycho-spiritual somatic coaching. You can find out more about her work at www.patchworkhealing.com. She lives and works in Imnizaska, an area of Mni Sota Makoce, which is commonly known as Saint Paul, MN.
Listeners can find Katrina at www.patchworkhealing.com
and on instagram @patchworkhealing
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Ep 101 - Moving Towards Wholeness: Embodied Trauma Healing with Katrina Rachuy
[00:00:33] Cynthia: Hello. Today we are here with Katrina Rockway, who is doing some amazing work around supporting people through trauma, and so I'm really excited to have you here, Katrina, and just to learn more about you and learn more about the work that you do.
[00:00:52] Katrina: Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to be here.
[00:00:55] Cynthia: Yeah, of course. So yeah, for anyone who's been following along, for this quarter we're really focusing in on trauma informed care. We focused on family care last quarter, but, trauma informed care is such a specific niche and I think it's something. More and more we're realizing like there's all these different types of trauma and it's a way to heal that maybe, you don't even realize, like it's something that would support you too, right?
[00:01:26] Like for any everyday person. So for you, Katrina, just because you have been doing this work for a while, what would you say is your definition of trauma?
[00:01:35] Katrina: Yeah, so. I would say any definition I have of any concept is usually like a working definition. And there's usually a couple different ways of defining something as complex as trauma.
[00:01:49] The most simple answer I could probably give is the idea that we have certain core needs that we need to have met throughout our development when we're children and when those core needs are not met in a meaningful way. And that happens. A couple of times or it happens in a really big way, even just once that it disrupts our development.
[00:02:13] And so then we don't develop our basic, adult functionality that goes along with our core needs. We have a need to have our needs attuned to in childhood so that then we can understand what our needs are in adulthood and ask to have them met. And I think that's just an example of one, core need that can be disrupted in childhood pretty easily.
[00:02:36] I would just kind of boil it down to like when those core needs aren't being met in a consistent way, and then we develop into adults who then don't know how to get those needs met for ourselves in adulthood.
[00:02:49] Cynthia: Yeah, when you put it that way too, It makes sense that everyone has some level of trauma that they're managing because there's no perfect childhood, right?
[00:03:00] we all have needs that go unmet because we don't have the capacity or the skills to communicate our needs, or we don't have the right environment to support those needs. And I'm curious for you, Katrina. Brought you into this work. And for anyone who doesn't know let me also give a little background.
[00:03:19] So Katrina, she is a multidisciplinary healer and she does utilize acupuncture body work and also psychospiritual somatic coaching. So super cool, all these different ways that you can approach it. And I would love to dive in more into how you utilize all of these in your own practice. But first, tell us your story.
[00:03:42] Katrina: yeah, it's a complicated story. But I did grow up in a home that was pretty volatile emotionally. I had. Parents who were not capable of expressing their emotions in a healthy way. And so I was faced with a fair bit of adversity early on.
[00:04:03] there were certainly instances that would've been defined as abuse. Certain like things that happened that would very clearly be defined as like neglect or abuse by our standards now. But at the same time they it wasn't an overwhelmingly.
[00:04:20] Violent. Really terrible story. there's these stories that I remember reading as a child about really Horrible, horrible abuse stories where a child would actually be taken away. nothing happened in my home that would have caused like c p s to actually take me out of my home.
[00:04:38] It wasn't like that. So I think that kind of shows a little bit about our society's tolerance for what kids, potentially have to live through in their home. Environ. And so, because that was the case I grew up to be an adult who didn't necessarily know how to define my past or know how to contextualize the difficulties I had in adulthood.
[00:05:03] with actually forming healthy relat. So I had no history of secure attachment. or, very close to no history of secure attachment. And so that means that I was then a young adult in my twenties who didn't know how to practice secure attachment. We can't expect.
[00:05:24] Adults are going to know how to do the things they never learned how to do as children. And oftentimes, Parents aren't raising adults, they're actually just making their children more convenient for the period of time while they're children. And I think that's wildly changing with our generation.
[00:05:42] The way that our generation is parenting is actually much, much closer to a way that is Very much respectful of a child's need to develop. So yay us. Like, I think like our generation is reviewing such good work. And you can see that in the kids now. Like kids today are much more capable of Just a range of emotional intelligence that is natural for them because nothing's getting in the way of it.
[00:06:08] So anyway I then Did a lot of therapy a lot of mental health care for myself to get to where I am today, which is still someone who is very much healing from my past. I'm still someone who is practicing secure attachment. I now can say that I'm not open to relationships. Any friends or partners who are not also willing to practice secure attachment, which is never perfect.
[00:06:36] That's why I say practice. it's something that we try to do. It's something that we show up to. It's something that we make mistakes at. But I no longer Engage in any relationships that aren't, at least with people who are willing to practice that with me. And so I've had to really reparent myself in order to get myself there.
[00:06:55] I've had to really go back and recognize the ability to be in connection which is the first core need. Was disrupted in me. So I have had to reestablish my own understanding of what it means to belong in life and belong on this planet and actually want to be here.
[00:07:17] After that I have had to. Not that this was necessarily in order, but this is in the order that they arise in childhood. Attunement as a child, I was wanted if I helped other people. And if I was useful for someone. And so I didn't learn how to have my own needs and I'm still very much working on this one.
[00:07:38] This is definitely a pain point for me where I'm still learning to have my own needs in relationship. And then trust is probably the one that impacts me the least of all five of. Major developmental survival styles. But trust has to do with being able to count on others enough so that you can be in a reciprocal relationship with them.
[00:08:03] And like I said, I feel like that one impacts me the least, but I think it's important to look at all of them. And then the the autonomy, survival style so this is like, With connection. This is like birth right, this is actually even pre-birth. When you're in the womb, you're learning what it feels like to be in this world when you are in the womb.
[00:08:21] Attunement is the first couple years. Trust is getting into like more adolescence and pre-adolescence. And then autonomy is very much like, this is when you're a teenager, right? Like this is really where that solar plexus chakra starts to come online and you start to identify yourself as different and show up.
[00:08:42] And this one, I feel like I've been pretty comfortable being different, but it's brought me a lot of pain in my life. Like I have stuck out like a sore thumb. Especially in my family, there's a lot of trauma around that. I've had to learn and I still have to learn how to be someone who is different and odd and is a multidisciplinary practitioner, where in a world where I feel like it's much, much easier to be siloed and to be very specific and then the last one is love and sexuality, which is really about can I go out into the world and form relationships and opened my heart to others?
[00:09:25] And I think that is especially challenging. In this particular world because I think that the way that we form relationships, especially romantic relationships, comes from a very competition oriented framework. we kind of think of Dating as like we're always kind of playing a game.
[00:09:45] I think this can show up in friendships and in like feelings in social circles and feelings of popularity or being liked by a lot of people. So those have all had Their time in my life I have had to touch into these. And I also touch into them fairly often.
[00:10:06] when something's come up in my life which things come up in life all the time, right? Like conflicts arise. These different areas show me where I'm functioning from. is there, kind of this story that's coming in from way, way earlier I happen to be in the womb for five months before either of my parents knew.
[00:10:27] They had conceived. And so there's a part of me that doesn't feel like I'm wanted. and so when situations arise where I feel like maybe I showed up and I wasn't wanted, that can really trigger that connection, survival style. So I've already introduced NAM because that's actually, those are the five survival styles within NA rm.
[00:10:50] So, yeah, that's a little bit more about my story.
[00:11:53] Cynthia: thank you for sharing it. It sounds like there's just layers, right? So there's a lot of layers of unmet needs and being able to recognize that in present day. Then there are these triggers that just remind you of those needs that were unmet.
[00:12:13] It's this response that then arises. I'm curious too, does NAM stand for something? Is it like an acronym?
[00:12:22] Katrina: Yeah. So it stands for, right. Cuz if it wasn't an acronym, it'd be like, what?
[00:12:26] Cynthia: That's a strange word.
[00:12:27] Katrina: So is the neuro effective relational model. Which I also feel is like, does this help explain to people what this is?
[00:12:36] one aspect of NAM that is important is the relational aspect. So, The practitioner is in active relationship with the client. And so they are contracting for around what the session is going to be about. that's an active process on both sides.
[00:12:55] there can be times when the client might think I really wanna figure out how to get what I want from this situation. Something where it's like, what you're asking for isn't entirely in the realm of either of our control.
[00:13:06] So let's figure out what it is that we can contract around that is within the realm of our influence here together. so that's a little bit more about Nam. I can keep sharing more about, I could probably share a lot about nam
[00:13:20] Cynthia: so let's say you have a client you pinpoint, okay, there's like an attunement issue here, right?
[00:13:25] Like, needs weren't met as in childhood. And so now they're not asking for their needs or they don't even know, they can't even identify what their needs are. is Nam used just for like acknowledging that or what's that next step in the healing process?
[00:13:43] Katrina: Yeah, so the next step then is to be with that material there's usually a little bit of psychoeducation, which is. Talking with them a little bit about what attunement is about. what it's sort of about to have needs and then working with what arises in response, right?
[00:14:00] Because usually It's not like you say, okay, so everybody has needs and it's actually fine for you to ask for what you need. And they go, okay, cool.
[00:14:10] Cynthia: Oh, that was easy.
[00:14:10] Katrina: I'll go home and ask for what I need. Then there's usually, this big uprising of emotional content where it's.
[00:14:19] The resistance and the fear to actually doing things differently. So survival styles really need to be looked at as they are exactly what we say they are. They helped us survive. So when we go back to the idea of core dilemmas This is gonna be important for talking about how NARM works.
[00:14:40] So there's this core dilemma in childhood, which is we must have connection in order to survive. We must be connected to our caregivers in order to survive, cuz we depend on them for survival. They literally feed us and clothe us and hold us. But we also need to have authenticity.
[00:14:59] We need to be true to who we are. But guess what gets trumped If there's ever a difficulty in choosing, if it's ever like you can't have both. Right? See, this is what I see our generation doing in our parenting. We're showing up in the best way possible where we're giving our kids the ability to have both authenticity and connection.
[00:15:22] This is not what happened for a lot of us as children. We were told, oh, you're gonna be like that. Well, then you can't have this anymore, and there's no way. we would ever turn our backs on our connection because they take care of us. They keep us alive. We see our parents as God. We see our parents as creating reality, and so we will then abandon anything in ourselves that we have to abandon in order to maintain that connection.
[00:15:57] if that means we don't have needs because we have to be there to meet mom's emotional needs, we will do that. we will not be outspoken and rebellious if we must do that. And we will also not see our parents as being at fault either. We will see ourselves as bad because once again, parents are, God parents create reality.
[00:16:20] the small child consciousness cannot conceive of my parents actually are making mistakes right now. They're actually, their behavior is bad right now. They can't house that within the reality of these are the people who are feeding me and keeping me alive and so, a child will see themselves as bad.
[00:16:40] that's how that works. So you can imagine all of the content, all of the physical, emotional, spiritual content that lives in our bodies, lives in our nervous system that will keep us in the pattern of our survival style. Because we adopted that survival style in order to stay alive, in order to continue with the reality of our parents are good, it's us, that's bad.
[00:17:10] And that becomes, the subconscious that lays down underneath all the things that we build our stories around, all the things we build our behavior around. That's the foundation. Who we are when we enter early adulthood, basically. So there's an, a great undoing that has to happen in order to really come into our own wholeness if we're going to start showing up and asking to have our needs met, just sticking with the attunement survival style example, we have to start saying, Oh, I wasn't bad for having needs as a three year old. I wasn't, it was actually like a caregiver failure I've had people say kind of sarcastically, oh yeah, it's just, good.
[00:18:01] We have another way to blame our parents. So this isn't about blaming our parents. This is about healing trauma so that we can not repeat. I'm able to see my parents, I love my parents. I have them in my life now. I am able to see them as like flawed human beings who also had similar ways that their needs weren't being met in early childhood and didn't know any better.
[00:18:25] And in some ways were children themselves in adult bodies. By the time they were actually giving birth to me and raising me. that's kind of my perspective on that. So your original question was them, how do you use Nam? So within a given session, we can only get through so much of this material, we can only work with so much of what arises, and it's important to take things very slowly and not try to bust through to like new levels. For some people just hearing the psychoeducation around core dilemma attunement survival style. Is enough to bring them to a place, to their level of peak tolerance of really what they can kind of handle in one session.
[00:19:13] So allowing the body to feel those truths, those pieces of information. Usually there's some emotion that gets released in this process. we only have, an hour per session. And so there needs to be some kind of like kind of coming down process, that allows them to go back out into the world.
[00:19:35] With, a readiness to let this continue to sink in for a little while, until the next session. But things are already moving at this point, right? as we say in Chinese medicine, cheese is kind of like a word for sort of energy. It's already moving, right? Some stuck energy is already moving.
[00:19:51] the movement has already begun towards being someone who can Start to speak up for their needs. But you know, there's a lot that's in place that's in the way of it, right? I'm not here to teach anyone how to speak up for their needs because that's actually like an inherent, known thing that we're born knowing how to do It's all the things that have been laid in. Blocking us from being able to do that work. that's the real material that we end up working on in the session.
[00:20:23] Cynthia: Yeah. So what I'm hearing is and this is where the interdisciplinary.
[00:20:28] Part comes in and can be so helpful cuz it sounds like utilizing the structure that like play structure of Nam, you're able to cognitively help people understand, what's going on with their psyche, what's going on connecting the dots from the past to the present to how they would like to move forward.
[00:20:49] And then that energy that she is moving. And then is this kind of. Maybe acupuncture or body work would kind of help compliment the whole process?
[00:20:59] Katrina: Yeah, it really depends on how people want to work. I find that some people are much more comfortable having more just like sitting and talking And some people are more comfortable. They want some table time, like they wanna actually feel that moving in like the physical body. I think the verbal process, the process of sitting with the material, speaking it out loud Being with the emotions that arise, that needs continued sessions.
[00:21:29] But people's like to weave in some acupuncture, some table time into that as well. So sometimes folks will, maybe do like half of their session Where we're more just talking and then half will be resting on the table with needles in. Some people will do more like, every third session, do acupuncture instead of talking.
[00:21:51] That kind of thing. I think it's like, important to remember. All of the material that arises for us that we have to work through can be worked through on any level. It can be worked through on a spiritual level, a physical level, an emotional level, an verbal, intellectual level. So, there's a wholeness to the experience That can be had no matter what you're feeling like.
[00:22:17] So people start to get in touch with what it is that they want for themselves that day. that's part of the structure of NAM is asking, what is it that you'd like for yourself today? Knowing that we have like about an hour to work together what would you most like for yourself today?
[00:22:31] And of course that's like a very difficult question to answer, but I've come to the point where I ask like a very similar question. If someone is coming for acupuncture I'm more interested in how they want to feel. And can address how they want to feel, like quite easily In either like a nam, psycho-spiritual coaching session or acupuncture session, so, yeah.
[00:22:54] Cynthia: Yeah. So it sounds like, it can be really scary work, right? To be with these emotions that maybe you've ignored, shut down, not even acknowledged over the years, and so to be able to work with you and have this safe space.
[00:23:11] You know that space is being held in a very, Calm, collected way in a very skilled way. You can guide the conversations to really help open up some insights. I wonder for people who maybe aren't there yet, like ready to work with someone and really dive into that, I wonder if there's any little tips or tools you might have for people who are just starting to find awareness of, oh, I might have some trauma that I need to deal with.
[00:23:45] Katrina: Yeah, so I think, using the body to get comfortable being in their bodies is often an important tool for people who have been disassociated from their emotions. They're also often quite disassociated from their bodies. So just doing really simple practices. Where the goal is simply to notice a sensation in particular noticing sensations in the lower body because when we're cut off from our emotions and we're cut off from our bodies, first of all, in the West anyway, we're all kind of, infected with this notion of, I think therefore I am the decart binary of, you have a mind and a body and they're not together. They're not one thing I don't even like using words like mind body connection because that implies that they're separate. I picture like a little girl holding a balloon on a string and the string is connecting the balloon to her and it's like, no, like your mind and your body are literally one thing.
[00:24:49] Think about the nervous system. The nervous system is like coursing through our entire bodies. It's does not stop in the brain We get stuck up here, right? We get stuck up in our heads. so then we walk around not feeling our feet. And it's amazing that, there just aren't more like accidents, than there are it's amazing that we don't all just roll our ankles all day long, with how disconnected we are.
[00:25:13] But try walking around without shoes on. Try feeling your bare feet, try feeling your bare feet in the grass. We're finally getting some warm enough weather for that. Try just laying on the floor and putting something heavy over your shins how would it feel to lay on the floor with one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart?
[00:25:36] there's no goal, there's no objective. But what's it like? Can you notice, just one sensation in your belly one sensation in your foot. If someone would like to be guided Christine Neff, I believe is her last name.
[00:25:56] She's the self-compassion person. she has a nice body scan that you can get for free. But even just listening to one of those to just be in your body for just a second. And that, can be really triggering for someone who's afraid of it.
[00:26:11] And if you have been divested from your body for a long time, it can be really scary to do that. So then it's important to bring in the concept of titration. so in chemistry it's like you add a tiny drop of something to a larger solution.
[00:26:27] Because if you were to pour a whole vial of, whatever into the solution it would explode. this comes up in nervous system work and somatic work a lot. If I were just to smother, my clients with all the love and all that, you're so awesome and you totally deserve to get your needs met and all the positive affirmations, it's actually really overwhelming to the system.
[00:26:50] Really overwhelming. And if you're afraid of being in the body, you might try. Five seconds of just pressing the balls of your feet into the ground like firmly, and then stop and then do nothing else. And that's titration. Just taking a tiny sip of something so that your system doesn't overload.
[00:27:09] Cynthia: I love that concept of titration. Just taking it little by little, going at your own pace. And actually, it reminds me, I was looking at your website and there's this quote that you have on there. Let me just take a peek. We will work together at the speed of trust so that you can make profound changes and integrate them in a way that's nourishing for your whole self. That just. Hits home, right? The speed of trust. Cuz that's so important, especially when managing, healing from trauma, acknowledging the trauma, and being able to get into that next chapter of feeling like you've owned that process and you've created a new way of being.
[00:27:52] It's a really tender space that you hold. So I'm really glad that. You're available to support people through this really challenging chapter of life. And I know, like you said, it's ongoing healing. It's never like, oh, look, check, I'm
[00:28:08] healed now.
[00:28:10] Katrina: And that concept, the speed of trust, comes from Adrian Marie Brown, actually.
[00:28:15] I take that very very literally. And that trust very much happens in its own time. And it can be very much drop by drop my practitioner who's also local her name's Porsche Richardson. I very much work with her, in a way that's she knows that, I trust her with just a little bit more each time.
[00:28:37] And we've had a very slow build of trust and I've been her client since 2020 now, almost three years. And so, Yeah I'm not in any rush. Everything happens in its own time.
[00:28:50] Cynthia: Yeah. Beautiful. Well, if there was just one thing that a listener could walk away from this conversation with, what would you hope that one nugget of wisdom, information knowing would
[00:29:06] Katrina: Take one central idea away. It would be that the work of moving towards your own wholeness is the work that the world really needs you to be doing. We need the creativity that you have. We need the love that you have. We need your whole self to show up in the way you really want to show up.
[00:29:31] we need the art that you want to create. We need the relationships that you are destined to form. So this work is definitely important work, not just for you, but for the whole wider web of beings.
[00:29:48] Cynthia: Beautiful. We need you, not the guarded you, but the you in your fullest expression.
[00:29:57] Katrina: Yeah. the fullest expression that we're able to be in any given moment. and it's normal to have guardedness and fears. And we all have them. And it's brave work to be working with that.
[00:30:10] Cynthia: Yeah. Well, thank you so much Katrina, for just sitting with me today and being able to share just a little bit about what you do and what you can offer people.
[00:30:23] I think it's wonderful, important work.
[00:30:25] Katrina: Thank you. Yeah, this was great. Thanks for having me.