The autonomy about you? A little? Many? Passionately? We talk to you about it with Eric, the hypnotherapist, who participated in the creation of our very nice Omum massage rituals. He gives us a complete explanation of autonomy.
Eric, can you explain to us what haptonomy is?
A few extracts from the definition provided by Dr. Frans R. Veldman, director of the International Center for Training in Haptonomy, specify: “Haptonomy, as a science, studies the laws that govern emotional life. The word autonomy comes from the fusion of two concepts from ancient Greek: HAPSIS and NOMOS. Haptic designates: what we feel, what we feel, tact, touch. Nomos means the rule, the law, the norm. Hampton, in the word autonomic, comes from the verb Haptein, which means: to touch, to unite, to create a relation, a link. In the more figurative sense: to come into contact (tactile) to heal, make whole, and confirm. It is this specific contact that characterizes the autonomic approach: the touch which encounters, which makes one, which encompasses the whole person to confirm him in his being … “
What is your definition of haptonomy?
In summary, autonomy makes it possible to establish a relationship through a particular touch and invite the person who is touched to open up to himself, to the other, to the world around him to feel how he can BE in. life, in complete autonomy.
Quite often, the reverse of what our own education and society have taught us. But for that, it is necessary to be able to live the experience while being accompanied by a touch that is present, reassuring, and containing. This is what autonomy support offers. This emotional contact is therefore essential for the development and fulfillment of every human being. And it is for this reason that the applications of autonomy are quite wide.
The main ones are haptosynesia (to support the sick, disabled, elderly, end-of-life people, etc.), psychotherapeutic support, pre, and postnatal support, haptic-obstetrics.
What is prenatal haptonomy?
In the prenatal context, autonomy will invite and initiate parents to discover the possibility of meeting the baby in the maternal bosom. And this from its first movements ( between 4 and 5 months ). It is this contact, through a soft and reassuring touch, that creates a bond before birth between parents and baby (s). This support also invites the father to take his place actively during pregnancy, during childbirth by reassuring gestures towards mother and child.
This relationship will continue after birth, where the parents will discover and make the child discover his own autonomy with some gentle “handling” and some “ carrying techniques.”
What does this bring to the baby?
Support in autonomy allows the child to acquire certain security very early on, called basic security. This is important for its autonomy. Also, this support opens the child to his interpersonal skills.
He will discover that it is not only his mom but that other people are there in the outside world which surrounds him and, in particular, his dad. This emotional encounter will be very nourishing for him.
To explain to parents, I often take the example of a small house. At the start of construction, it is important to make a good foundation with the right materials and tools if this house is to be stable, to be able to rise properly and to survive the turbulence of the sea—life (seasons). With the child, it’s the same. It is advisable to love him very early on, to establish a secure relationship with him to face life more serenely.
From birth, babies accompanied by autonomy are immediately in the relationship. Their face is often more open. They are more awake because of the relationship established very early since they are still in the fold.
What does this bring to parents?
This allows them to experience birth to 2 and not to undergo it.
This support creates an emotional relationship between the father, the mother, and the very early unborn child that is called a triangular relationship. Everyone, therefore, finds their place. The father discovers that he has a vital role, that he is not left out, and that birth is not just a woman’s business. It is fully included. It is also he who will accompany the notion of attachment/detachment. This thus allows the child and the mother not to be only in an exclusive and fusional relationship which will facilitate the entry into mothering.
As for the mother, she will feel less alone in the face of the unknown represented by the birth of a child. She will be able to open her heart to her child, which is not always easy in the face of the many bodily changes and ailments she is experiencing. She is going to discover herself as a mother. Certain gestures will also be able to modify some of her physical and psychic tensions, helping her to cope better with the pregnancy.
With support in autonomy, parents will become actors and not remain spectators.
How does the first haptonomy session take place?
I receive the future parents for the first time, listen to them on what they each experience at their own level, what they feel. I ask them what they know about autonomy, what they expect from it. Then I explain to them how I can support them. This exchange is important because it allows everyone to get to know each other a little better.
It must also allow parents to feel if the autonomy corresponds to them, if it is indeed what they had imagined and if they are “motivated” to live this support. And myself to make adjustments if necessary. I explain this emotional commitment that parents should have in sessions but especially at home to mature the relationship to 3.
Then, I accompany the parents in this first relationship with the child through touch. I make them discover the maternal fold in which the baby grows up and invite him to the relationship.
And the following ones?
In the following sessions, in the beginning, I always take the time to listen to how each person experiences the relationship. Then, after having requested the agreement of the 2 parents, I make contact with the mother’s bosom to feel how the mother and the child are.
With what I heard at the start of the session and what I feel, I will be able to carry out my session: propose such and such gestures to promote the meeting, allowing the baby to have more space, allowing the pain to be managed…. As I explained above, we are also working on the notion of attachment/detachment. The first detachment being the birth of the child.
I have many “tools” at my disposal that I offer to parents depending on what will be best to support them. Obviously, I respect a certain path. Some actions cannot be offered at any time during pregnancy.
At the end of each session, I always leave a little time for the parents to find themselves alone all 3 and to say goodbye to the child, to tell him that it is the moment of the end of the meeting.
– this support is not a classic preparation for childbirth subject to care
– Eric always works in conjunction with gynecologists-obstetricians or midwives; it is important to allow him to ‘guide if necessary.
Haptonomy, when, how?
When to start As soon as a mom feels her baby move, i.e., around the 4th month of pregnancy
How many sessions? There is no rule: every 2.5 weeks / 3 weeks. But sufficient time between 2 sessions is important so that future parents can develop and cultivate the emotional relationship with the baby. The sessions will go until birth ( on average: 7 to 8 prenatal sessions and 2 postnatal sessions ).
How much does it cost? Each practitioner evaluates the price of their session. For my part, I apply a price allowing a greater number of people to benefit from it ( between 50 and 60 euros/session).
Duration of a session? I offer sessions that last one hour.
Where? In Troyes.
And after childbirth?
I suggest that parents see them again with the baby 3 weeks to 1 month after birth. I listen to parents on their experience of childbirth (significant) and their relationship with their baby. Then we work on “techniques” of babywearing to promote the relationship and open the baby to the world around him. Other relational aspects are discussed.
In the event of cesarean birth, I suggest that parents come back earlier to do specific work to relieve both physical and psychological tensions. Indeed, often the experience is heavy and difficult, and it requires to be worked in autonomy not to hinder the relationship with the child.
Any advice for expecting mothers?
I have several tips for them. Pregnancy is a special time in a woman’s life. It is therefore important to take care of it. Give yourself time for yourself and your unborn child by providing specific care and being accompanied by holistic approaches. Pregnancy is not a pathology. However, it requires adopting a pace of life that is as calm as possible. It is necessary to pay attention to certain gestures to go until the birth as serenely as possible.
Preparing for the baby’s arrival in autonomy is an unforgettable experience that invites everyone to a certain serenity.
A big thank you to Eric for all this info on the practice of autonomy! To consult the Omum massage rituals co-created with Eric, it’s here!