What Does “Reframe Your Thinking Around Autism” Actually Mean?
It means changing from a ‘deficit’ model to one of appreciating the intelligence and potential of each and every individual.
Reframing means exploring autism from a different perspective.
People with autism are often diminished by a narrow and outdated medical model when there is so much evidence to the contrary. When we begin to explore autism via the Polyvagal Theory (PVT) we get a much better appreciation for the people who live with autism, and we can be more empathic in our approach
Holly Bridges’ Anxiety Reframe Technique (ART) is about helping people to make the most of their gifts.
Through gentle physical movements and a neurodivergent approach, we work to build people’s strengths and individual style, and help diminish some of the many co-occurring and debilitating issues people on the spectrum often struggle with like anxiety, depression, digestive issues, insomnia, self-regulation, anger issues.
Many of these things can be greatly alleviated when we take a more biophysical approach.
What is A.R.T.?
How is the approach different?
Breathing techniques and mindfulness are really difficult for a lot of people on the spectrum. By working directly with the body, we avoid the stress of having to use the ‘top down’ approaches of more traditional therapies.
Showing people how to work directly to calm the body can sometimes be much more efficient. When you learn how to be in a calm state and how your eyes, ears, face, voice and thinking can come back ‘on line’, you feel like yourself again. When you consistently teach your body to be in this state, you improve your vagal tone – your ability to deal with stress.
Working directly with the body with gentle body focused exercises can be much faster than trying to work first with the mind. The more you can train the physical nervous system know how to be calm and respond well to stress, the more you can begin to strengthen and keep yourself in a restorative state. You begin an upward spiral of health, vitality and strength. Here you are much less susceptible to anxiety and much less likely to rely on medication for your wellbeing.
We see these results time and time again with A.R.T. We work with people of all ages and all capacities on the spectrum and, in their own, unique way, they start to have greater levels of self-mastery and a greater capacity to enjoy themselves and express themselves more fully in their world.
How Does A.R.T. Work In Practice?
Internal martial arts
For people who train in the martial arts one of the most important principles is the relationship between stillness and motion. Understanding how stillness is the basis for motion allows you to establish true balance and control within yourself. Stillness is where you collect and center yourself for the movement to come. Your power lies in the stillness of the mind and body.
In this context, facilitation is how manual muscle stimulation can influence relaxation, movement and communication between different parts of the body.
Applied relaxation aims to teach the student how to control anxiety by self-soothing, and ‘teaching’ the body to sit in a parasympathetic (relaxed, restful) state.
This is the opposite of a prescribed (forced or coercive) program, and means being sensitive and empathic to what is needed in each and every session. Key to this is letting the student and his or her body tell us ‘what is next’.
Exploring the student’s emerging self through counselling and the application of the ART toolkit and techniques.
Artful Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
Encouraging the student and stakeholders to challenge long held beliefs and assumptions about what is possible and what a person can or cannot do.
Unfixing the eyes and teaching the student to operate in a ‘soft state’; to cooperate with the body, with moving and with learning.
These are selective physical and mental feedback techniques that ‘teach’ the body to read and reduce stress-sensation.