Husband Material

How To Do Experiential Healing Work

June 24, 2024 Drew Boa
How To Do Experiential Healing Work
Husband Material
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Husband Material
How To Do Experiential Healing Work
Jun 24, 2024
Drew Boa

Have you ever been disappointed by traditional counseling or talk therapy? In this episode, you'll discover the power of a whole-brain approach to outgrowing porn. You'll learn the why, what, and how of experiential healing work. This episode is required viewing for my clients.

Related episodes:


Are you interested in doing experiential healing work?

Come to our free online workshop:
HMA In A Day on Saturday, July 13!
Sign up now at husbandmaterial.com/workshop

Take the Husband Material Journey...

Thanks for listening!


Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Have you ever been disappointed by traditional counseling or talk therapy? In this episode, you'll discover the power of a whole-brain approach to outgrowing porn. You'll learn the why, what, and how of experiential healing work. This episode is required viewing for my clients.

Related episodes:


Are you interested in doing experiential healing work?

Come to our free online workshop:
HMA In A Day on Saturday, July 13!
Sign up now at husbandmaterial.com/workshop

Take the Husband Material Journey...

Thanks for listening!


Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Husband Material podcast, where we help Christian men outgrow porn. Why? So you can change your brain, heal your heart and save your relationship. My name is Drew Boa and I'm here to show you how let's go. Today we are talking about experiential healing.

Speaker 1:

Have you ever received counseling, coaching or talk therapy that didn't help as much as you hoped? Maybe you thought this is what I need to get free from porn, and then you understood some things better and you learned a lot, but you still feel just as attached to porn or, at the very least, like it still has a place in your life. This is super common, because talking about our problems and telling our story is essential, but it can only do so much. Why? Because it's not the talking, thinking part of your brain that's attached to porn. It's the feeling and sensing parts of your brain. In fact, you might even argue that porn engages your entire brain, maybe with the exception of the prefrontal cortex, responsible for moral decision making and impulse control, whereas most counseling and coaching is focused on talking about what's wrong and giving you advice about what's right, or trying to tell you what's true. In other words, it's engaging the parts of the brain that are least engaged by porn. So there's a huge disconnect and most of the time, guys, we know what's true, we know what's right. Problem is, we feel powerless, we feel frustrated and exhausted to actually experience that truth and to have it fully affect every part of us. Porn is appealing precisely because it engages your whole brain, your whole body, and so, in the same way, your process about growing porn needs to engage your whole brain and your whole body. That's why we need experiential healing. In this episode, you will learn the why, what and how of experiential healing work, and this is so important that I am going to make this episode required for each of my new one-on-one clients and every man who attends our healing weekends that are all about experiencing the truth and allowing our brain and body to do whatever it needs to do to leave porn behind. Are you ready? Here we go. Let's talk about why experiential healing is needed.

Speaker 1:

At a deeper level, I'm going to use the brain model that I picked up after going through brain spotting training, so if you're watching the video, you can see me with this brain. First of all, our brains are incredibly intricately designed. Anyone who talks about the brain can only presume to know just a little bit about how it works, because the brain has four quadrillion connections within it. So the very best we can do is begin to approximate what's happening in our brain. But, at the risk of oversimplifying things, a few regions of the brain you might need to know about are the top brain, the bottom brain, the right brain and the left brain. The bottom brain, the right brain and the left brain. The left brain is more responsible for logic, rational thinking, analysis. The right brain is more emotional, passionate, creative, imaginative.

Speaker 1:

Which part of the brain do you think is more interested in porn? Yeah, probably the more emotional, imaginative, wild and creative part of you. Now, the right brain is lightning fast. The left brain takes time to process things. So a lot of talk, therapy, a lot of counseling engages more of the left brain and not as much the right brain.

Speaker 1:

So if you want to outgrow porn using your whole brain, you have to go deeper than just talking and thinking and being logical. You have to access more of that wild part of you, the part that feels deeply, the part that is moved by beauty. That's more of the right brain. And similarly, you have to access both the top brain and the bottom brain. So the top brain is more responsible for making moral decisions, controlling impulses, executive function, whereas the bottom brain is the survival brain. It's focused on keeping you safe.

Speaker 1:

So if you're focused on making better decisions and having more of a top brain emphasis, you might actually be missing out on a really, really important part maybe the most important part of allowing ourselves to heal, which is feeling safe. Feeling safe, fear is one of the core emotions underneath really strong sexual arousal. It's one of the three great sexualizers. So to re-establish safety is imperative for healing. And when you have an approach to healing that is not just engaging your top brain, your left brain, but your right brain and your bottom brain, that's going to be a more whole brain approach. I truly believe that feeling safe is absolutely required for any kind of deeper healing experience. So we cannot brush over this bottom brain. Safety is the foundation upon which everything else is built.

Speaker 1:

So if you want to do experiential healing work, probably the very first thing to do is establish a feeling of safety. And the sad truth is, for many of us, porn is the safest place we know. Porn is the place where our whole brain is engaged right Emotions, passion, creativity, my body, my senses, my feelings, my fantasies, rather than just talking and thinking and trying to make good decisions and all of that. So many men who are trying to outgrow porn are essentially fighting a battle against themselves, with their left brain fighting against their right brain, or their top brain fighting against their bottom brain At Husband Material. We want to help you end that battle so that you don't have to fight it anymore and actually befriend your brain. Instead of battling against your brain, you can actually use all parts of it for healing. That is what experiential work is about.

Speaker 1:

I keep using this word experiential, but what does that really mean? Think about the difference between going to school, sitting in a classroom and listening to a teacher talk and then going on a field trip. When I was a kid, I used to love the Magic School Bus. Magic school bus the teacher, miss Frizzle the frizz, used to take all the kids on these field trips that were wild and wonderful when they wanted to learn about water. They would become rain and then land on the ground and then flow into a river and they would experience what they were learning about. They wouldn't just talk about it, they wouldn't just think about it. Ms Frizzle was the best teacher in the world because she had the power to give students an experience. That is the difference between academic learning and experiential learning.

Speaker 1:

And, in a similar way, there is a huge difference between what you might think of as talking and thinking about healing and actually experiencing it. As humans, we learn by doing. If you want to learn how to play the piano, you might be able to read all the books and talk about it beautifully, but if you don't actually sit down and play it, you're not really going to know it. I mean, how much can you really know? So any experiential approach to outgrowing porn is going to give you an opportunity to do something. It's going to be action oriented, so that you can actually practice the skills that you need to regulate your brain and body, so that you can actually get to know the parts of you that have an attachment to porn up close, really find out what do they look like, what do they want, how can I help them? So when you do experiential healing work with me, we're not just going to talk about your sexual thoughts and feelings, we're not just going to talk about what's going on in your life and your emotions. We're going to go on a field trip, we're going to hop on the magic school bus and allow your brain and body to take you on an adventure, and that is so, so different. I mean, there is an important part of the work that I do that is focused on understanding these things, talking about them, allowing you to tell your story, and that's the foundation for going on a journey that engages your whole brain and your whole body. I realize that whatever we do online on Zoom is limited in that capacity, which is why our healing weekends and why our annual retreat is so powerful. And yet so much goodness, so much healing can take place even online, because what ultimately matters most is you being able to connect with your brain and your body, and you can do that right where you are, even when someone is with you digitally.

Speaker 1:

I must admit, experiential work does not come as comfortably or naturally to everyone, so that's why it's important to have a lot of different options to try out and see what works for you. At Husband Material, we emphasize inner child work, because it's not men who get hooked on porn, it's little boys. Heal the boy to free the man. Inner child work means finding the young parts of you that are still attached to porn, locating them in your story, loving them, listening to them and then giving them what they need. So whenever we do experiential inner child work inner child work I am going to lead you on a magic school bus journey to spend time with your younger self Could be your three-year-old self, your seven-year-old self, your 13-year-old self Find out where he is, where he's stuck, and just to be with him, to listen to him, to love him, to build trust with him and then to lead him out of wherever he's stuck so that he can join you in the present. That is how you grow up into a sexually and emotionally mature man of God.

Speaker 1:

Inner child work can be really helpful for that. It's an approach that resonates with so many men and also it's a little bit oversimplified because we don't just have one inner child. It's really more like an orphanage and there are many different parts of us, and that's why parts work is another experiential approach that can be so helpful. It takes inner child work to the next level, really, and internal family systems is perhaps the premier approach to doing parts work, and we do that all the time in my one-on-one sessions in Husband Material Academy and we've got some great episodes on it that you can listen to as well.

Speaker 1:

If you're doing parts work to outgrow porn, you might engage with the part of you that watches porn, the part of you that hates the fact that you have watched porn. Maybe there's a purity culture, warrior part of you that we need to engage with, and underneath all of that there's oftentimes parts of you that are carrying shame, lies, pain, trauma. All of these different parts of you are not bad. However, they do need some help, and whenever we do parts work, your job is to become the leader of all your parts as an orchestra, where all these different parts sound really bad when they're trying to play together and you're like the orchestra conductor who's helping them to all play in harmony. But the truth is, sometimes we're not able to give ourselves what we need emotionally and relationally, and that is one reason why, as Christians, we have a huge advantage when it comes to experiential healing through the presence of Jesus. In whatever type of experiential healing work you're doing, you can invite Jesus into it, or rather notice Jesus with you in the middle of it, and oftentimes that leads to a breakthrough that nothing else can bring, when you not only know about Jesus or believe in him, but when you sense Jesus in your body, in your whole brain, what a tremendous difference that makes If you're in a one-on-one session with me or you're coming to a husband material retreat, we can be creative and use any number of techniques to help you feel what you're working on in terms of your recovery and freedom from porn, so that your whole brain and your whole body can experience something new. We learn by doing so. What might we do? Maybe we will create art together. Maybe we will do some psychodrama and role-playing and allow you to say what you need to say or to do what you need to do with your body. Even on Zoom, we can use the objects and the physical space around you to create an experience.

Speaker 1:

Now, one of the most innovative and increasingly popular approaches to experiential healing is brain spotting, an approach that I was recently trained in and that I'm working on certification in. Brain spotting essentially uses your eyes as a window and a direct connection into the deeper parts of your brain. So I'm taking out my brain model again. Essentially, this talking thinking part of the brain the top and the front is called the isocortex. Underneath that we called the isocortex. Underneath that we have the allocortex no-transcript. Brain spotting is essentially accessing these deeper areas for processing, because this is where trauma is stored, this is where addiction is formed, this is where porn has its power. So rather than fighting against this, we're going to follow it wherever it leads.

Speaker 1:

The premise of brain spotting is simple when you look affects how you feel. So in a brain spotting session you'll be noticing how you feel when you look at different spots, and a certain spot might hold a lot of pain for you, or a certain spot might hold a lot of power for you. A certain place where you look might have love and connection and healing and hope, and another spot you look at might hold anger, grief, might hold loneliness, and in brain spotting it's very relational. It's not as much about a specific technique as it is being with you While you let your brain go where it needs to go. And you let your brain go where it needs to go and you let your body do what it needs to do, and really all experiential healing work is about that. It's creating a space where deeper processing can happen, because so often, when we are stuck in a pattern of watching porn or some other kind of unwanted sexual behavior, there is something deeper going on.

Speaker 1:

There's a process that's getting interrupted and through experiential healing work, you get to uninterrupt and let it happen. Through experiential healing work, you can get unstuck. This can happen online, this can happen in person, this can happen in a one-on-one session. This can happen in a group. This can happen at a retreat. I hope that you can find a safe, creative healing space for you to do some experiential work toward outgrowing porn.

Speaker 1:

And if you're ready to take a new adventure in doing some experiential healing work with me or at one of our husband material retreats or maybe somewhere else, I want to give you some guidance about what to expect, because it's a risk. You never really know what's going to happen and I feel like if someone had told me some of these things that I'm about to share, I would have had a lot more peace of mind about what I was getting myself into. The most important thing you need to know is that it's probably going to be a little bit weird, because any kind of experiential healing work is going to ask you to get out of your head. It's going to challenge you to let go of thinking, judging and actually get more into your body, getting out of your head and getting into your gut, into your heart, into your body. Getting out of your head and getting into your gut, into your heart, into your body is a part of any of the approaches to healing work that we've talked about Inner child work, parts work, healing, prayer, psychodrama, brain spotting.

Speaker 1:

Your job, in the wisdom of Daniel Siegel, the neuroscientist, is to SIFT. So he created this acronym S-I-F-T to help us engage more than just our thoughts. Sift stands for Sensations, images, feelings and Thoughts. When you're entering some kind of experiential healing work, you want to pay attention to sensations, images, feelings and thoughts. I love that little acronym SIFT.

Speaker 1:

So when you're getting into some inner child work or brain spotting or psychodrama or any of the experiential approaches that you might be interested in, you want to SIFT, notice the sensations in your body. You'll probably have somebody ask you where do you feel that in your body? And notice you might have a sense of pressure or you might have a burning in your chest, in your heart, you might have shaking hands, you might feel a strong urge. Just notice those sensations and also images. You might have a weird picture come into your mind. You might all of a sudden be imagining something that doesn't make sense, but that's okay. In fact, if it doesn't make sense, that might be an indication that you're really allowing your brain to go where it needs to go. And then just notice how you feel with all of this. And then, of course, thoughts. Maybe there are messages, Maybe there are lies, maybe there are truths that are coming to the surface. Sift them S-I-F-T.

Speaker 1:

When we allow ourselves to integrate these different parts of us, so often our sensations, images, feelings and thoughts are disconnected from each other. In experiential healing we bring them together. We bring together the whole brain and the whole body, trusting that God has created us with an amazing capacity for healing. The job of your facilitator is to be with you in that experience. And the most important thing any kind of facilitator or therapist or coach can do in experiential healing work is attunement. If you want to learn more about attunement, I would recommend going back to my episode Attunement the Key to Connection.

Speaker 1:

But just to summarize it, attunement means tuning in. It means truly listening, truly discovering what is going on for another person and then adjusting myself to where they are. You might describe attunement as meeting the other person where they're at. Attunement is absolutely essential for experiential healing work, especially because if you have a facilitator who's trying to force something or who's not really attuned to you, it could be re-traumatizing and the way that you protect against that is by checking in with attunement and really holding the space in a way that I can't fully describe here. But the point is you want a facilitator to be with you and if you feel like this person is pressuring you or trying to take you in a direction you don't want to go, then you fully have the right to say actually this doesn't resonate with me, this is not working for me. You always have a voice and a choice, but really a huge part of experiential healing work is for you to attune to yourself and trust that your brain and body are going to take you where you need to go and find someone or a community of people who can join you in that journey.

Speaker 1:

Brain spotting, and in my most recent brain spotting session I discovered something new that I had never realized in my story and processed something that I had totally discounted as, oh, that doesn't matter, but it was actually one of the earliest experiences that shaped my sexual formation and my sexual fantasies. Many of you know that I have had a sexual fetish for teeth and braces. In my most recent brain spotting session, I made a connection that I never made before. Even after years of teaching about freedom from porn and understanding sexual fantasies, I had never seen this connection before. When I was two years old, my sister used to bite me. She bit me a lot and I had no idea that my brain and body were still carrying that feeling of fear of girls, fear of their teeth, fear of being bitten, of being consumed of their teeth, fear of being bitten, of being consumed, of being hurt. And in this brain spotting session I got to access these parts of myself that I didn't even know were there. It was mind-blowing and I allowed them to play out and it was weird and it was wacky and it was wonderful and in the end I got even more healing. I got even more freedom.

Speaker 1:

I really wish more of you guys could see this for yourself, because it's more caught than taught. You have to see it, you have to witness it to really get it, and that is why I have decided to give you all an opportunity to do just that. On Saturday, july 13th, I am hosting an all-day training for free, called HMA, in a Day which will basically consist of me teaching the entire HMA course in a condensed version, and each teaching that day will be followed by an example of experiential healing work where we are going to do exactly what we've been talking about today. And I really hope you get a chance to witness that and, more than that, to receive it for yourself, not just to talk about it and think about it, but to receive it, to allow your brain to go where it needs to go and to allow your body to do what it needs to do. And on Saturday, july 13th, we are opening wide the doors to welcome you into witnessing this healing work and to actually do it for yourself.

Speaker 1:

The whole day is going to be experiential work. I'm not just going to be talking and teaching. I'm going to be experiential work. I'm not just going to be talking and teaching. I'm going to be leading you through exercises. We're not just going to be discussing theory. You're going to witness these kinds of healing experiences live. It's going to be awesome. I would love for you to be there and, more than that, I want you to find a place where you can experience the truth that you are God's beloved son and in you he is well pleased.

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