S3 E21 TRANSCRIPT Trauma Informed Police Care

[00:00:00] Jennifer: This is a really special recording today. And the first of its kind on Trauma Rewired. Oftentimes when Elisabeth and I are talking and dreaming about a world that we want to create, where understanding people’s nervous systems and being trauma informed is a way of life. And so what does it look like to have a trauma-informed presence and support in our greater society and in organizations and institutions like a police department? Recently, we got to have that experience as Elisabeth, Janine, and Victor worked alongside the Columbus care coalition to bring Neuro Somatic Intelligence to a section of the Columbus Police Department and First Care Responders. Joining us today are Janine Harris and Victor Jones, two NSI Practitioners and Facilitators that work in spaces of justice, equality, and inclusion. 

Welcome to Trauma Rewired, the podcast that teaches you about your nervous system, how trauma lives in the body and what you can do to heal. I’m Jennifer Wallace, a Neuro Somatic Practitioner bridging sacred spaces of expanded consciousness with embodiment. 

[00:01:04] Elisabeth: I’m Elisabeth Kristof, founder of Brain-Based Wellness and the Neuro Somatic Intelligence Coaching Certification. 

[00:01:14] Jennifer: Having Neuro Somatic Intelligence means that we understand that everything we do impacts our nervous system, including our relationships. If we want to experience deeper, more meaningful connections to ourselves and others- and show up differently in any area of life, including emotionally we have to know how to work with our nervous systems. Neuro Somatic Intelligence training brings together evidence based psychology and neuroscience to objectively measure and transform the integration and interpretation of sensory input that influences mood, mindset, emotions, reactivity, biases and performance. Registration for the Spring cohort is now open and there’s a free workshop December 15th. The link is in the show notes and we hope to see you there. Please enjoy this conversation.

[00:01:54] Elisabeth: Hey guys, I’m so happy to be here and have this conversation with you. We just all, as Jen was saying, recently got back from Columbus, Ohio. Well, Janine actually lives there. And for the first time, we’re able to try bringing this Neuro Somatic Intelligence training to an organization- tto police force and first responders. And this is something that I honestly had no idea that I even really wanted to do. But Janine took our NSI training and really works in this world and brought the idea to me and the opportunity arose. And I know that Victor is really passionate about this work and working with the community and with law enforcement. He was already a facilitator for NSI, so I brought him along and I found that I loved it. It was an incredible opportunity to reach people that wouldn’t always necessarily have access to these tools or maybe even any interest in learning to work with their nervous system. But I was able to see what a big impact it had on them.

[00:03:00] When I allow myself to think about the ripple effect that that can have for the communities that are impacted by police force and first responders and how what a really profound way that is to bring nervous system health and regulation and resilience to so many people through these people that are out in the community all of the time. And so I really just wanted to talk about how this happened and what we learned and what the possibilities are for the future together here today. So Janine, would you tell us a little bit about what brought you to NSI in the first place and why you wanted to bring NSI into the work that you do with law enforcement?

[00:03:48] Janine: Sure. So for years I’ve been working in embodiment spaces and struggled a lot with keeping my own nervous system regulated when I’m discussing things with folks or having difficult conversations, having dialogues that maybe included conflict between community members, did a lot of restorative justice, uh, work and restorative processes.

[00:04:13] And didn’t find that when we were in a circle that we could stay regulated to the degree to have conversations that were both healthy and productive. And when I found you and found your work and began working with Jennifer on the side, as a side note. I really saw a huge change in my own nervous system regulation, my ability to be present in my family with my partner, with my adult children. And also I found I wanted to bring this into every single space that I was in. So every circle that I did, everything even if it was, healthy relationship building mindfulness programs that I was conducting, I wanted this work was different. It was really settling people’s bodies in the moment and it was sustaining that. So that was a powerful impact. The training was powerful. It made a big difference in my life. 

[00:05:16] And when this opportunity with the CARE Coalition was unfolding, it was in three phases. The first phase was to provide trauma training to the police force. The pilot program in particular was a mobile crisis response unit, which has counselors and police officers side by side responding to issues in the community. What we were hoping for was- how could we build something that started with the understanding of trauma, how it lives in our body, what happens to us, and really more of an intellectual understanding of what trauma does and how we’re all impacted with it in various ways. 

[00:06:04] Then phase two, how could we really bring that home to the body? How could we make sure that we’re expressing, sharing with them an opportunity and tools, tangible tools, to actually transform that trauma in the body? And then also then phase three would be where my team of Honest Dialogue would bring in the opportunity for dialogue. So that’s sort of the framework of what we were working with.

[00:06:38] Elisabeth: I love that. I love that you have been able to feel in yourself how dysregulating these conversations that are so important can be like. It’s: we know we want to have these big conversations; Ww know we want to open up honest dialogue and you can feel the impacts of that in your own nervous system and you can see it in the people that you work with. And so that really, it makes it so clear why we need a way to actually work with the nervous system when we’re doing these, having these difficult conversations and trying to push a conversation forward. Because it is inherently dysregulating and in order to sustain that we need tools. And then Victor, I would love to hear a little bit from you too. We’ve talked many times on this podcast, so we know a little bit of your background, but about why specifically you were interested in working with law enforcement and bringing NSI into that population.

[00:07:31] Victor: Yeah, thank you. Well, I’ve been a therapist for, I guess over a quarter century now, and I’ve had a number of children who come in. And, you know, quite often I ask kids, what would you like to be when you grow up? And some have said, I want to be a police officer, and that’s a wonderful thing. However, on the other end, the same children, especially growing up in what I call exploited communities are often reporting a lot of danger when it comes to the way that policing is done, the institution is carried out. So you’ve got children who respect the profession and want to do something for their communities. But on the other hand there can be a villainization of police officers and a lot of police officers are painted with the same broad brush.

[00:08:30] Where a few do some, some pretty terrible things, but everybody suffers. And then I have numerous friends who are police officers. I have numerous clients who have been police officers and some are being treated for PTSD. So their health concerns are just as important to me as anyone else’s. And I don’t think that that is something that is communicated well within our society. So in researching it, I found that police officers are much more likely to suffer heart attacks and gastrointestinal ailments. That they’re far more likely to have heart attacks and more likely to commit suicide. So it’s really a difficult profession and my heart goes out, has been going out to people who have been asked or required to do some impossible things. And with my understanding of the nervous system, I’ve become more aware of actually being asked to do some very biologically unnatural things. And when we do things that are biologically unnatural, incongruent, it shows up. And that is something that you’ve been talking about on this podcast like forever, right? So, these things show up in our behaviors, in our health. And I really envision our police institutions taking care of each other where it’s okay, where it’s actually important to identify where we are struggling before the struggle gets so big and to make it our standard.

[00:10:20] I think that police officers can be models of good health rather than at the mercy of the history of doing things in unnatural biologically incongruent things. So I  would love for our police officers to also look out for each other and make sure that they’re healthier so that our communities can be healthier. I think it’s all connected. So that’s been really important to me because I do want to see far less violence, but also far less health, what I think are really tragic, health outcomes for police officers as well. So I’m as concerned about their health as the rest of the society because police officers are our society. They’re not separate. We’re all part of the same, the same neighborhood, if you will.

[00:11:16] Jennifer: And they’re really experiencing trauma on great levels- on top of the trauma that they have maybe already experienced in their lives. Which a lot of times I’ve heard that first responders, the higher level active duty, like Navy SEALs, these people coming in, they already have histories of ACE scores and they come from places of trauma. But yet it kind of gets kind of just pushed away and pushed down. And so I’m curious from y’all, as you were going through this training, could you see the unfolding through the training of like the officers coming into witness that they also came from trauma?

[00:11:59] Elisabeth: That was actually one of the most powerful things for me in the experience was when we started the training, like I said I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I went in very open and knowing that applied neurology is really powerful and I’m just going to let the work work through me and see what unfolds. And when the training started, quite honestly, everyone was pretty braced and there was a lot of skepticism. I wasn’t sure if people really wanted to be there. These people don’t necessarily like trainings. And we were also getting into some… it can be heavy talking about some of these topics, the nervous system, the health outcomes.

[00:12:39] I’m also like, I don’t want to stand up there just lecturing to people about the health outcomes that they, they know they live this, right? They live this, the people, their colleagues, their friends, their comrades out there suffering heart attacks and suicide and addiction. So they see it. And as we worked with their nervous system, as we really got into using these tools and the rapid resets that Victor would teach, and working on respiration and vision training and moving a little bit through the body and sensory stimulus, it was like, it didn’t matter how they initially came in, the work started to settle into their system and as their systems relaxed, they started to open up and have the capacity to begin sharing some of the stress that they’re under on a daily basis.

[00:13:30] And it was like, once we got to that point, it felt like, man, they really want to talk about this. They really want to be heard about the stress that they’re facing from past trauma from the daily stressors that they’re under doing all these things that are counterintuitive, biologically stressful to the system. And then also the societal stress of, you know, there’s a lot of pressure on police officers and they aren’t necessarily loved by the community that they’re serving. And that’s hard too. That’s hard on the system too. And they seem to really want to talk about all of this. As the more they settled with us in their nervous systems and the work started to move through them, the more it became clear that they, not only saw this, but really wanted to explore these conversations.

[00:14:25] Jennifer: From what I’ve even heard about police officers and first responders, but it police force in particular, they are not offered therapy. It’s sort of taboo that one of them would go out and seek therapy while they’re active within their organizations. I’m just curious about how- if you walked away from that feeling, like, do they have an understanding of the purpose of a daily nervous system regulation practice? Because one of the things that Victor said in our last conversation was that NSI would be such a brilliant support for crisis management- before, during and after. But also that NSI has the ability to expand a person’s thinking capacity in crisis. And so as a reflection, would you say that you feel more hopeful in that vision?

[00:15:21] Victor: I would say I do. I think this is kind of like the door cracking open. Janine, would that be okay to say? But it’s like anything else, you know, the breeze is still trying to blow it closed again. So, uh, it’s great that this opening has been created through the body, but if there’s not an ongoing application, encouragement,  information, but especially a lot of body work, a lot of the NSI, the rapid resets that actually make it feel safer for those systems to stay open then the system itself will close that door again, in my opinion. I mean, we’re talking about really one of the oldest professions in this country, which is law enforcement, right? And it does not have really good beginnings considering the historical purpose of creating something that would protect the interests of the wealthiest and those that were exploiting people. Which is contradictory to why I think a lot of police officers go to the work, they want to do good in their community, but you’re taking a person that wants to do good and putting them into a system that has been developed in some ways to do bad.

[00:16:44] And so to keep those doors open, we have to make it definitely an intentional part of the culture for police officers to acknowledge their bodies, to acknowledge the wisdom of the nervous system. And that’s what we saw was  an acknowledgement of their bodies, of their nervous systems, trying to take care of them. But then they were running against the institution itself. So I think it’s going to be really important to make it a regular part of the system and not just a one off, you know, a class once or twice a year that doesn’t work when you get into the other stuff 24 hours a day.

[00:17:25] Elisabeth: Yeah, absolutely. I think one of the most important things will be the follow up and the continuing education and the continuing practice to really, like you were saying, to make it part of the culture, to have a culture that is nervous system literate, nervous system health forward. And to, because again, it was this crack, this opening, this opportunity. And now it’s like, where does this go from here? And I know Janine is planning to continue this work in the next phase of the project and to keep incorporating the neuro as they’re having these difficult conversations. But I think Jennifer, to speak to what you were saying too, a lot of the officers told us how being vulnerable or coming into their body or that they had been conditioned at a very deep level not to feel into their body. And again, sometimes in these situations, like you can’t. You have to run toward danger, not away from it. You have to do the thing that your instinct is saying, don’t do this. And so there is a big level of disconnect from the body and the nervous system, not just like culturally, and it’s not okay to experience emotions, but in order to do my job, I have to sometimes disconnect from this. And so it was definitely, even over the course of that intensive training, a very gradual unfolding that we had to work at the level of their nervous system capacity in that container.

[00:18:57] Jennifer: It’s dissociation and a different level of survival. And how does that level of dissociation impact a nervous system that could already potentially be chronically dissociated? And then to go into a job where your survival depends on you cutting yourself off from that other person? It really puts a blockage into empathy, into compassionate care.And I think with nervous system regulation helps to kind of like bridge the gap there of like, what is compassionate while I’m here? Even in reflexes, how you might respond to another body in a crisis situation or an environment and a crisis situation and in training your vision and your auditory. And could you be better at your job, right? By training all of the systems and just getting into a different level of awareness into your own body and into the first responder space.

[00:20:01] Victor: Yeah, I would say definitely because a lot of what we’re talking about is our body trying to protect us. So, if our threat level, and we heard this, if your threat level has become “normalized” to be like eight out of 10, it doesn’t take much for you to go over the edge, because you’re already that way. So something that is really low level threat, if it’s a threat at all, you’re walking in with a level eight. And so, of course, our brains are not going to be able to perceive information accurately. And really it’s going to be far more prone to see everything, even the most safe thing, as an additional threat. And so then we have tragedy.

[00:20:59] Elisabeth: Yeah, absolutely. And a lot of what we ended up talking about was, what we talk about on here all the time, which is that, that daily practice of healing and rehabilitating the nervous system to reduce the deficit so that your overall stress level on a second by second basis is being reduced so that you now have more capacity, right? Because again, these people have layers of trauma, right? There was maybe developmental trauma. There was all kinds of stress growing up, and now they’re in this stressful situation. So there’s a lot of water flowing into that threat bucket that we speak about on here all the time, right?

[00:22:41] And then we have all the physiological and biological compensations that have developed under all of this stress- deficits in the visual system and the balance system and the proprioceptive system and interoceptive system. We talked a lot about how by taking the time to rehabilitate these deficits, what we’re really trying to do is create more capacity so that the baseline level of stress starts to change. Because I think initially what a lot of the participants were looking for was like this quick fix in this moment with a dysregulated person or in a really stressful situation. What’s like the one thing I can do for that person to regulate them, to change the situation or maybe something I can do even for myself really quickly to regulate?

[00:22:29] And while having rescue tools is important, we know for sure that that regulation always starts with us and that we’re going to have the greatest impact on the dysregulated person by coming into the space with more capacity in our nervous system by being a more regulated, grounded person our self. And that even though those rescue tools are important, what’s more important for the participants is really developing that daily practice so that they change the baseline level of stress that they are operating under all of the time through that rehabilitation. And then can experience different outcomes and have more altitude and cognitive ability in those really stressful situations.

[00:23:09] Jennifer: We have seen so much tragedy in this space. And there was something brought up earlier about restoring trust. And restoring trust is also very layered. It’s restoring trust within the nervous system of the person, right? To trust themselves, trust their abilities, trust their instincts. But then there’s also this restoring trust within the community. And we’ve been at odds in this community- defund the police or fund the police. Like that is a very political thing right now. And so I really see NSI as this bridge of why would we defund? Why can’t we just add new training? The world moves and grows and evolves and how can we grow and evolve with it and ask the institutions to rise up to meet the change instead of it being power driven? And so I guess my thought is, I really have a question for Victor really. This is for Victor, because I find this- as an outsider- to be a really powerful moment. And I’ve heard you say before I’m comfortable and uncomfortable places and I’m uncomfortable and comfortable places.

[00:24:27] Like I show fear where I’m safe and I feel really safe when I should show fear. But I feel this is like a really full circle moment for you to be part of this training. And it feels so poetic and beautiful that you’re part of this training. I don’t know if I’m even saying this right. It feels kind of weird, but I’m obviously talking about, you know, like we see a lot of violence. That’s where a lot of the mistrust comes from is the police against black people. Am I asking a question or I’m just having a conversation? I don’t know. (laughing)

[00:25:03] Victor: We’re having a conversation. It’s all beautiful.

[00:25:05] Jennifer: I’m just rolling. Someone stop me. (laughing)

[00:25:06] Victor: Just rolling with you

[00:25:07] Victor: My first memory of encountering the police was probably around age 12. My best friend and I were riding our bicycles and there was a warehouse that was closed, appeared closed to us, and we were riding our bikes up on the dock of it, you know, just rolling around. We got tired of that and headed home. And we were stopped by police officers in the street with their guns drawn on us, two little kids. And I have never had that memory with a degree of fear. Never. It was almost like it was, it was expected. It was no big deal. Now, as an adult, it’s so conflicting in my body to think about that. Two or three cars of police officers stopped two little kids on their bicycles with nothing in our hands except our bicycles with their guns drawn. So yeah, that could have been a horrible, horrible day. A horrible, horrible time for everybody. And now my interactions with the police are where I’m helping them with their nervous systems. So yeah, it’s all these different connections of it, you know, treating police officers with PTSD, working with the spouses of police officers who have committed acts of domestic violence. You know, all of this stuff that goes on, but always now with the work that I’m doing now with NSI and with the Neuro Somatic work and all of this there’s this context of all of us as human beings. And as we said before, of these people in law enforcement going into their professions with their own levels of trauma. And maybe what they thought was a fresh start was really not a fresh start, right? It was kind of like, I’m already here and this is what I’m bringing in, and you don’t get to just dismiss that because you’re now an adult.

[00:27:26] Things that happen in those officers lives, and I would assume that several of them, many of them, have had experiences like myself, whether it be with domestic violence, substance abuse.Maybe even, uh, abused by authority figures. And now, you don’t get to start over. You just carry that right into your, into your career. So it’s no wonder that the health outcomes are so dire for police officers. It’s no wonder that the reactions can be so over the top. Because these things have not stopped living in their nervous systems. So being invited by Janine and by Elisabeth to bring this into the lives of these police officers who had such big hearts. They’re working with, they’re going out into the community to help people with mental health issues, right? With mental health struggles, problems. Such big hearts, but they’re taking their traumas with them into their into their professions. As big as their hearts are, they’ve got to have tools for their own healing. Janine you said so many wonderful things and can I ask, you’re right there because you know these people before we were brought in. So, I’m just curious about your thoughts as well.

[00:28:53] Janine: I think you said it so well, Victor. They just have such big hearts and want to be of service and are so conflicted. They don’t really realize what they’re carrying and they don’t realize how it impacts people to the degree it needs to be realized. They’re caught in a really tough spot. They’re called to do this work. Something called them to serve people, to help, to be of service. And they see and feel such good, you know, they get such good feedback when things go well, when they’re able to, you know, get someone safe, to get someone help and then they have these situations where things go really bad and really wrong so quickly. And it’s almost like they’re not given the tools they need. And they’re not given the tools that can support each other to maybe intervene when it’s needed, or pause or stop or de-escalate like all the things that for many years I’ve heard about how to solve conflict or how to resolve conflict. It never included the body. It never included the nervous system. And it’s like, wow, this is the thing that’s been missing in so many spaces that I’ve operated in. And I just saw so much vulnerability and so much willingness to try this stuff on. And I saw a big change after just two short days of you and Elisabeth training and offering them these tools. And the feedback, oh my gosh, some of the feedback that we heard at the end was incredible. It really was incredible. And maybe the two of you can share some of that- what you heard.

[00:30:36] Jennifer: If you’re listening to this conversation and seeing the ways that Neuro Somatic Intelligence could support your organization, please find a link in the show notes to book an exploratory call with Elisabeth Kristof.  

[00:30:45] Elisabeth: Yeah, thank you. Thank you, Janine, for saying that. And thank you for sharing your experience, Victor, too. And it was really incredible to watch the whole container shift over the two days. And there were many, many things that I picked up working with Victor. This training I feel like you were so in your element, Victor, is really beautiful to watch you shine at this. I have a harder time with these big spaces. (laughing) So like every break I’d be in the bathroom doing my drills and regulating. while Victor’s like walking around talking to people more, getting more information, making more connections. But the pace that you work at it, you slowed me down. Yeah. And you gave people more time to let things sit and to just for us to be okay in the room with like pausing, just these these pauses to absorb the information and to do the work at a more calibrated pace. And that was really powerful for me to watch. And it was just powerful to watch the whole container shift over the two days and really gave me a deep confidence in the neuro tools.

[00:31:51] I already, of course, deeply believe in this work as I’ve dedicated my entire life to Neuro Somatic Intelligence. But it still sometimes surprises me when I watch how incredibly powerful it is to work directly with the nervous system. And there was one moment in particular, where we were talking about emotional expression, kind of saved that to the end of the two days because I knew that this was going to be a bigger, harder topic with this audience and the culture and with people in general, right? Like with everyone, emotional expression is tough. 

[00:32:28] And we were talking about it all and Victor you brought up something that is so incredibly powerful and you reminded the room, or maybe for a lot of people I think this is the first time hearing this or putting these dots together, that we live in a system where people in power did not want others to be able to express their emotions because the people that they oppressed, whether that was racial oppression or the women that they violated- if those people were able to express their emotions, then they would also have to feel that pain. And there is a connection between all of us at a nervous system level. And so for a long time it has been part of the culture that it’s baked in to not express your emotions because it serves the people that are in power for others who are oppressed and to not be able to express. And then that becomes what we think of as our culture. You know, boys don’t cry and women don’t get angry. And then you stopped and you paused. And I felt like hit everyone in the room. And I felt how it was really received at a somatic level by many of the people in the space. And it was a really powerful moment for me. And just yeah, I felt like it was like the climax of like, we’d done all this work with our nervous system and then boom, there was this big truth and we collectively held it.

[00:34:02] Victor: I think that’s the beauty of working with the body. And one of the ways that these tools help me is being able to slow down and know that there is so much work that is going on beneath the surface. Behind our eyes, within our bodies, and trusting that this work is happening. And it’s always happening. It’s always happening. That’s part of the beauty of working in person. Or even on a call like this, but especially when it’s in person because our nervous systems are interacting with each other. And there’s so much communication that’s going on that is literally wordless. So I really feel like so much of what we brought out was the chemistry of the entire room of all of us interacting with each other.

[00:35:12] Jennifer: That’s so beautiful. It sounds very powerful, like that powerful moment. Janine, can you share with us what’s next for Columbus Care and the Ohio Police Department in regards to NSI and how that will continue to be part of the organization?

[00:35:29] Janine: Well, this is a pilot program, I can share a little bit about the Columbus Care Coalition as part of Columbus Public Health. And so the Care Coalition’s whole kind of focus and purpose is to bring Columbus into a trauma informed city. And so that all people, all places, all organizations would have this lens and how to support and bring collaborative entities together, so that we all are doing this work together. And so they rely on the support of volunteers and different organizations around the community to bring the work into and I’m a part of that training team. 

[00:36:08] And so this pilot program specifically was developed by Marion Stuckey in leadership at Columbus Public Health. I believe her vision was- how do we reach those folks that are in those positions of power that can impact our community, that impact them daily? How do we both reach them and support them, but also impact how they are able to support the people of our community? And there’s troubling, as you both have mentioned, there’s troubling interactions in our community- all over the place, but in particular neighborhoods in particular. And so we’re in a crisis. We’re in a racial crisis and this program was out of a desire to really provide tools and hope that this would be an ongoing process. So that it would be something that maybe we are able to reach the new recruits. This time it was around 50 officers and, you know, range from 20 to 50 that attended over this year long period. And so the next step is hopefully after my piece is done with my colleagues around honest dialogue, then we will also have a community, an opportunity for the officers in the community to come together.

[00:37:28] And so a small amount of community members and the officers that have been through this training come together and also engage in conversations around how do we bring more understanding and more safety and more support to the community so that we break down these barriers of fear and anxiety and stress.

[00:37:58] When we see an officer, when we see any kind of lights, I mean, it’s not, not ever something that our, all of our nervous systems are firing at all times. And especially if you don’t look like me, you’re not a white bodied female, you’re a black or brown person. So, I think the hope is that this is a yearly ongoing process and that NSI could be a part of that, an integral part of the embodiment piece. The piece that really supports that intellectual information around trauma and actually engaging in the world with that understanding. For me, something you’ve said Elisabeth, I won’t do justice to it, but it’s NSI it’s trauma informed for the body. It’s trauma awareness for the body, but it’s like where the rubber meets the road. It’s the real deal. And maybe you can say it a little better for me.

[00:38:51] Elisabeth: No, that’s so true and really one of the entire reasons for NSI’s existence is I really wanted to bridge the gap between understanding trauma intellectually, like there’s so much information on how trauma affects our body, affects our nervous system and so much of it is just this very intellectual speak, right? The research, the talk, and how do we actually do something about it? What are the practical, actionable tools that we can use to rehabilitate the nervous system? And how can we bridge the gap between mindset and mindfulness and somatics through the nervous system? Through working with the nervous system and then having real tools that take all of that research and understanding and bring it into a daily application that people can really use.

[00:39:45] And it’s the difference between understanding how your nervous system works and working with your nervous system. And that’s a real important difference. And people need the tools not only to… definitely everybody needs to understand how their nervous system works and everybody deserves to be the expert of their own nervous system, but then you also have to provide people with tools because that’s where the hope is. That’s where the rehabilitation is. Otherwise you’re just swimming around in this muck of, Oh shit, this is happening to me. And you need to know like, what can I do about it?

[00:40:11] Victor: I’m thinking, how about if our law enforcement was organized to address trauma, to address hardship, but organized around health, organized around connection? And I think the way it’s organized right now is about how do we have the maximum response to violence. If I’m not mistaken, I think law enforcement training is maybe three to six months- its not very long. Whereas in countries that have much better outcomes, much lower incidence of violence, they’re getting like two to three years of training before they’re fully licensed. But that also includes so much in the area of de-escalation, of community engagement. So, if we could acknowledge our particular law enforcement system, yes, it was organized around some horrible things, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. It could be restructured, reorganized, reprioritized around health and wellness and caring for our communities and caring for each other as officers so that we’re not just on the back end of trauma, but we’re actually on the front end of health and wellness. I want officers to look forward to going to work. I want them to sleep well at night. I want them to not wait until their two week vacation or whatever they get to try to calm down. The beauty of what we’re doing now is that we can settle and do some repair work with our nervous systems along the way- before, during, and after.  ut I think it could be even, even, even more than that. So as we continue to move forward, I’m looking forward to officers being much more healthy. I think they should be people that we look forward to seeing and not people that we’re scared. You know, our hearts jump out of our chest because, oh my gosh, there’s police, what am I doing wrong? I think that’s uh, to me that’s an unacceptable way to continue living our lives.

[00:42:46] Jennifer: It’s a beautiful vision. I think that the four of us do hold. And I think one thing that we all have an understanding of, we all in the Neuro Somatic Intelligence community, have a deeper understanding of is that there are no personalities, there are outputs of a nervous system. And when you understand that there are outputs of a nervous system, when it’s under stress, you have a different level of compassion for the body in front of you because you have an understanding of your own nervous system and the way that you’ve lived your life. And can see then just the basic, different general understanding that gets extended as grace and compassion to other bodies that we are living in the world with. And I don’t think anything else does that. 

[00:43:38] Janine: Yeah, thank you, Jen. I love that. And maybe Elisabeth and Victor, you remember, I believe there was one of the officers that had been in the force for 25, 30 years and towards the end shared that all of his work, like all of the folks that he had been present to over these years, it finally made sense that he wasn’t working with the face in front of him. It was this nervous system, he really was sharing. Like he understood the pain and the suffering and had a different level of compassion for what he had been facing. I don’t know if you remember that feedback or that reflection at the end, but that really was powerful.

[00:44:23] Elisabeth: It really was. And actually quite a few of the officers that I spoke with after said like, ‘this understanding, this education is making sense of so much that I have witnessed through my entire career. This is connecting so many dots for me in what I see, in what I’ve experienced, and also in my own experience, like in my own outcomes, in the things that I’m facing in my own life. And like, I get it now, I understand it at this deeper level, at the level of the nervous system. And it makes so much more sense. And now there is that new lens to view things through that leads to curiosity and compassion and a new possibility.’

[00:45:09] Victor: Yeah, there was such a liberation in what they were sharing at the end. And it was like, it’s okay to feel, it’s okay to be in my body and even the recognition, my body’s actually, you know, on my side. (laughing) Now that I know I have a nervous system, learning that it is actually on my side, it has actually been trying to take care of me. But then everybody else has one too. And theirs is also doing the same thing. So the welcoming of learning about our nervous systems, it has been, and continues to be, so marvelous for me as a therapist who was taught to talk to the nervous system or to the brain from the top down, to have an understanding of our nervous system from the bottom up has been remarkable. And I’m just grateful for this work and for everybody here.

[00:46:16] Elisabeth: Me too. I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity and extremely grateful to Janine for bringing us in and for Victor for sharing all that you did and helping to shape the training in such a beautiful way. And I’m really excited about the potential for how this work can continue to grow into these organizations and create regulation and resilience for many communities.

[00:46:45] Janine: Same. So grateful for both of you for all of you sitting here- Jen, Elisabeth and Victor. What a gift and just like we got to follow those input pulses and I’m glad I reached out. And I just felt really confident that this would have an impact and I’m hopeful for the future.

[00:47:02] Jennifer: I’m definitely hopeful for the future too and bringing this NSI work into our greater society at large and heal some of the disconnect that we are experiencing with each other, with organizations and institutions, all the nervous systems. So thank you all so much for sharing your experience with the police force and your reflections. Really beautiful work. Like I started this with like so many times, Elisabeth and I walk and talk and dream about what it’s like to bring NSI into the world at large. And then we get practitioners who come into NSI and then here we are, literally living the dream. So cool. You guys. So cool, Elisabeth.

[00:47:53] Elisabeth: All right. Awesome. Thank you guys so much for having this conversation. And I feel like. This is just the start, the four of us have big things to do here. 

[00:48:01] Jennifer: Thanks y’all. 

S3 E21

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