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Understanding Psychological Fields & Van Der Kolk's 'The Watchtower'

cptsd psychological field study and trauma the watchtower in trauma recovery van der kolk's the body keeps the score insights May 06, 2024

Hello, hello, hello...good to see you.

This is a clip from the last class I taught. I was asked a question about a Field Study and I used a soccer field as a metaphor for the psychological field. Below is the explanation I taught and what Van Der Kolk means when he talks about "The Watchtower" in The Body Keeps the Score.


Tool: The Field Study

The Playing Field: The “field” is like the environment or situation where things happen, similar to a playground or classroom where they interact with others.

Players and Their Goals: Humans are individuals to players in a game, each with their own goals or things they want to achieve, like scoring a goal in soccer.

Forces at Play: Forces push and pull influence what the players do, such as encouragement from friends (pushes you forward) or getting a yellow card (holds you back).

Changing the Game: Changing something in the environment, like adding a new rule or changing the teams, can change how the game is played, just like changes in our surroundings can change how we act or feel.

Strategy and Choices: Players make decisions based on the field and the forces, like deciding which way to run to avoid another player, illustrating how we make choices based on what’s happening around us.

Everyone’s Game is Different: Everyone’s field is unique with different goals and forces, so what works for one player might not work for another, highlighting the importance of understanding and empathy for everyone’s different situations.

The Watchtower: The medial prefrontal cortex (frontal lobe/executive function) offers "a view of the scene from on high." It enables "people to observe what's going on, predict what will happen if they take a certain action, and make a conscious choice." - Van Der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score p. 62


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