When the Going Gets Tough We McCabe It
What I love about being a therapist is that I have license to be curious about everything that happens between me and my client in the therapy process. I am eternally fascinated by how people assimilate novel experiences, challenge their habitual patterns that no longer serve them, and how in that process we can collaborate to find a new way of being-in-the-world that allows them to live more freely, with purpose and meaning, and raise awareness of those moments when they feel stuck.
While I hold an extensive list of credentials and academic experience, much of what I’ve learned in how to be a therapist, coach, and educator, with or without horses, has come from thousands of hours of practicing what we teach, honing those skills by living and breathing them, rather than reading about them. This embodied way of working is fundamental to the HERD approach and for many of our students, getting in tune with their bodily process is their biggest growing edge.
Many of you will be familiar with our talented faculty member, Alison McCabe, who has been instrumental in the development and delivery of both our Equine Facilitated Learning and Psychotherapy Certification programs. Alison and I have known each other for about ten years now and I am so incredibly grateful and honored to call her a friend and colleague. Over the years, we have become familiar with each other’s ways of being-in-the-world, enjoyed countless conversations that dig deep into our emotional processes, and shared the joys and heartaches in our lives with each other. Through recent conversations with another faculty member, Elizabeth McCorvey, we realized that Alison’s “method” of embodiment needed to be shared with the wider world.
The McCabe Method™ is striking in its “simplicity”. I put quotation marks around that to acknowledge that while the concept is simple, the process is hard! Between Alison, Elizabeth, and I, when the going gets tough, we refer to the need to McCabe it:
Name it. Claim it. Love it. Feel & Move through it.
- Name it: What is happening right now? What is the emotion? What is the felt sense of the situation?
- Claim it: Whose emotions are these? What belongs to me and what is being placed on me? Can I claim my part in the process? What feelings come up when I claim it? Most importantly, can I claim it and accept it with absolute acknowledgement that it is part of me without distancing myself from it?
- Love it: How can I hold compassion for what I have claimed is mine? Especially when it comes with a hint of shame or judgement on myself, am I able to hold a loving attitude towards that part of me?
- Feel & Move through it: Where am I feeling that in my body? What happens when I focus on that? Do I need to move my body to allow for more awareness and/or for that feeling to dissipate? Am I able to let it go with the movement? What do I need to let go and what do I need to hold onto? How does this shift impact the relationships I am experiencing with those around me?
What’s happening for you, right now? As you’re reading this, pay attention to your own bodily sensations and notice what comes up. Next time you feel a rush of emotions in response to an interaction or event, allow yourself to McCabe it and see what happens. From experience, I can tell you it’s a game changer. We have tried and tested The McCabe Method™ in countless situations. For me, it’s a great way to remind myself of staying with the 3 Key Principles of The HERD Model: Here and Now, What and How, I and Thou. It’s also an excellent reminder that whatever I’m experiencing, I’m not experiencing it on my own. After all, as we always highlight in our HERD Community, it’s all about relationships, we are all connected, and we all belong.