Svagito Liebermeister’s new book reviewed by Aneesha Dillon.
When Life Stops
Trauma, Bonding and Family Constellation
by Svagito Liebermeister
Perfect Publishers Ltd, (4 May 2022)
328 pages, 417 gr, 13.97 x 1.85 x 21.59 cm
Available from Amazon in your country, www.amazon.com or through the author at family-constellation.net
Svagito Liebermeister’s new book, entitled When Life Stops: Trauma, Bonding, and Family Constellation, is a rich read. Every page is filled with his deep, yet easy-to-understand teachings, gleaned from years of experience and insights working in Osho’s Multiversity, and around the world.
The book reflects Svagito’s many decades as an Osho therapist, specializing in his own unique blend of two contemporary approaches to treating Trauma – Somatic Experiencing and Family Constellation.
Somatic Experiencing works primarily with individual trauma and, as a methodology, is firmly rooted in the body, in the brain and nervous system, in feeling and instinct. Its focus is on the client’s personal history and lived experiences, often connected with early childhood
Family Constellation, a less embodied approach, addresses ancestral and collective trauma, and works within the energetic field of the client’s birth family to focus on generational relationships. Traumas that happened to an individual’s ancestor or the family group in the past can strongly affect the lives of individuals born several generations later.
Over many years, Svagito developed his method of working with people which effectively combines these two approaches. Including the physical body, the psychology, and the familial energy field together within one session results in a much more complete and integrated session experience.
Throughout this book, meditation is shown to be an essential ingredient in Svagito’s work with people. Osho’s Active Meditations are integrated into his group program as a way of bringing a new vitality and presence to the therapeutic process. And of course, to grow in the capacity to witness.
Another powerful influence on Svagito’s work has been the guidance that Osho gave to his therapists over many years – that love is what heals. It’s not techniques, but rather the loving, caring, accepting, attitude of the therapist that heals.
As Svagito tells it, this book was all but completed five years ago, when the accidental death of his beloved wife and life partner Meera occurred. At that moment, not only did her life stop – his life stopped also.
Trauma stops life in its tracks. The natural ebb and flow of life energy, our creative life force and our capacity to feel, are hijacked by trauma, as everything shuts down inside to protect against unbearable pain. The disowned experience remains bound up in our muscles and in our minds, clouding perception and blocking self-understanding, preventing natural feeling and expression.
When trauma happens in early childhood it is often repressed into the unconscious, and the traumatized person might not even remember it. However, at the time of Meera’s accident, Svagito was already a grown-up, and a highly experienced middle-aged psychotherapist. Though shocked and frozen in the days, weeks, and months after the accident, as a long-time meditator he was able to witness the painful reality that unfolded before his eyes, and in his heart and being.
In his book Svagito gives a full account of his own traumatic experience of Meera’s death, and describes his inner physical and emotional reactions, which unfolded over many months in the aftermath of the accident. Throughout the book he uses his own traumatic experience to highlight different points of trauma theory, which makes the book very alive and present.
He writes about the effects of individual and collective trauma on individuals and families, and offers effective ways and methods to understand and disentangle the complex threads of trauma. Examples from his sessions with people demonstrate the principles he teaches, and each chapter contains exercises and meditations to support the reader in becoming more aware of their body, feeling, and healing.
A topic that is very present in Svagito’s work is Creativity, and how creative expression can heal trauma. He was deeply influenced by his wife Meera and her life work as an artist during all the years they spent together.
Meera was a prolific artist who lived her creativity through her work and her life, especially through painting and dance. Svagito shares how she inspired creativity, aliveness, spontaneity, and joy in those who came to her groups. She used the very gifts of her own energy and her own wild and free creativity to heal.
In the concluding chapters, Svagito describes some essential qualities a therapist needs to develop in order to be truly helpful to their clients. First, he makes it clear that working with people in Trauma Therapy requires that the therapist has explored and made conscious his own traumas. Without that clearing there is every possibility of being unhelpful as a helper.
The healing qualities that an effective therapist embodies are qualities that have nothing to do with the particular method a therapist employs. It is the meeting of love and meditation that naturally heals. From this meeting, compassion arises, acceptance, letting go of expectation, willingness to be in the unknown, seeing each moment with fresh eyes…
This book provides a tremendous resource for anyone who suffers from trauma and would like to understand its long-repressed roots in their body’s nervous system and their psychological makeup. It is also an invaluable reference book for healing professionals of all kinds, to support their understanding of the complexities of trauma.
Svagito offers the possibility of healing on many levels, to lift and lighten the debilitating shadow of trauma.
- Guilt and Trauma – An excerpt from the book, When Life Stops: Trauma, Bonding and Family Constellation
- Farewell to Meera – Three articles Svagito wrote for Osho News about Meera’s fatal accident
- Dissociation is when… – Quick notes by Punya about Svagito’s online workshop, Dealing with Dissociation and Denial
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