Inquiry – Appreciative and Compassionate For trauma

Your stresses, your trauma, your adaptations, your bendings to fit in can have come at a cost, for it is not what has happened to you but what happened inside of you that’s important. As Bowlby has suggested, every child needs secure attachments, and that ability to form them is a great evolutionary trait

Berne spoke about the “adapted child” in his Transactional Analysis model. When do you feel you have adult to adult conversations with people and how often do you feel like a frustrated child being spoken to by a critical parent? Each of us arrives with a unique set of genes, into a unique time, with unique relationships, in a unique society, with unique norms and yet is part of a unique world full of individuals all experiencing this uniquely connected but profoundly disconnected world at the same moment.

copyright Kevin Chamberlain 2021

We need balanced conversations that understand there can be hidden traumas, unique traumas that require compassion. Tread carefully when you speak to me for it’s my soul you are treading on.

Appreciative Inquiry starts from a simple premis, ‘what works?’ My Appreciative Inquiry 1st group on Linkedin has a wealth of resources available on Appreciative Inquiry, or try the Appreciative Inquiry Commons site. I think this quote from Robyn Stratton-Berkessel says it more eloquently than I can,

An appreciative voice provides safety for others to speak their truths.  It is invitational and watchful.  An appreciative voice is unhurried and patient.  It can reframe situations to be helpful and resourceful.  It is flexible.  The appreciative voice is inclusive. It acknowledges diversity and identifies opportunities to offer possibilities to hold the space for transformational shifts to emerge.”

May all your conversations be filled with compassion and appreciative inquiry.

At the end of the 20th century the human race made an astounding discovery: that the brain is actually connected to the body!

Head Strong, Tony Buzan 2001

To now talk about the sympathetic and the para-sympathetic system is no longer thought left-field. In 1994 Dr Stephen Porges advanced the polyvagal theory describing how the mammalian autonomic nervous system evolved to keep us alive. The vegas nerve is a cranial nerve and cranial nerves are responsible send and receive signals and communicating throughout our body.

The concept of fight, flight or freeze is well known. After world war 1 survivors of heavy shelling were observed throwing themselves on the floor at the sound of a car backfiring as an instant reaction to stimulus, the body and mind in simultaneous learned response.

All of us have learned responses to situations. What disregulates our minds, disregulates our bodies and is stored in the primal expectation that next time we will be able to protect ourselves. To be alone for any length of time leaves most of us feeling vulnerable and therefore we enjoy the company of others who listen, see, hear and help us to regulate our mind and body, and I would argue that Appreciative Inquiry has a fundamental role in regulating individuals, groups and more widely. Cooperrider was influenced by Albert Schweitzer who stressed the interdependence of life.

“Appreciative Inquiry turn the problem-solving habits of the field on their head, and shows that change is more powerful, energising and effective when we inquire into the true, the good, the better and the possible – everything that gives life”….


What could be more regulating?