In many types of healing work, we work with branches, trunks, and roots of issues.
We may start with an everyday issue as it’s presented. One that makes sense from our conventional experience of the world. We then refine it into a central issue which is the metaphorical trunk. We find the underlying beliefs and identities, the roots. And then, whatever beliefs and identities that branch out from the central issue.
That’s the simplified version, and it leaves out some important parts: protection, supporting beliefs, deeper and additional roots, and additional trunks coming from the roots.
Fear and protection. There is often fear around approaching and releasing any cherished beliefs or identity, and we’ll often need to acknowledge and meet this fear. It may be good to start here, and do so with respect, patience, receptivity, and understanding that the fear has a purpose, is there to protect the self, and comes from a visceral sense of care and kindness.
Supporting beliefs. There are also related beliefs and identities that support the initial belief and the underlying beliefs. If we want to be thorough, we’ll identify and explore these.
Deeper and additional roots. And we can go deeper and broader in identifying underlying assumptions. What other underlying assumptions are there?
Additional trunks. We can also look at what other beliefs and identities come out of the root, which ones are fed by the underlying and more assumptions.
All this can take time, but with central emotional issues it’s worth it. And the release will often be felt broader in life than in just the initial issue.
Here is a simple example:
Presented issue: Feeling socially awkward at school. Unease.
Central issue: Feeling isolated and judged in school.
Underlying assumptions: I am unpopular. They don’t like me. I don’t have good friends.
Branches: I need to stay quiet in social settings. I need to hide away.
Fear in approaching: It’s painful. It’s overwhelming. I’ll get to see it’s true.
Supporting beliefs: I don’t have good social skills. It’s important to be popular.
Additional underlying beliefs: There is something wrong with me. I am unloved. Life is difficult. Life is a dangerous place.
Additional trunks from the roots: My life won’t go well. I need to stay safe. I shouldn’t take risks.
Of course, we’ll often discover branches, roots etc. naturally in the course of a session. And the issues don’t always fit so neatly into this outline. But sometimes, it can be good to keep this map in mind to see if we have overlooked something.
In theory, and if we are thorough enough, we can start anywhere and eventually get to just about any issue. And, in reality, we’ll be moderately thorough and then keep exploring issues as they show up in daily life.
In my case, I use this general approach mostly in inquiry (Living Inquiries, The Work) and with Vortex Healing.
- roots and branches
- just about any type of healing (inquiry, vortex healing etc.)
- presented issue – as the client tells it
- central issue – refined, narrowed
- roots – underlying assumptions (identities, beliefs) (can always go further)
- branches – what’s fed by it, what it leads to
- support – supporting / associated beliefs
- defense – fear of approaching, protection
- additional trunks – additional beliefs coming out of the root(s)