Sharon Stanley and the Power of Face to
By Jacqui Metzger; LlCSW
A number of colleagues have trained with Sharon Stanley and all speak
highly about her and her work, but I met her for the first time at the
October 2013 "Practice of Somatic Transformation" workshop. I didn't
know what to expect, but hoped to learn more about the relationship
between "Somatic Transformation" and the psycho-dynamic and rela-
tional work I do as a therapist and psychoanalyst.
I found there was some overlap along with different vocabulary used for
familiar concepts. However, the focus on our own deeply felt experienc-
es as well as on paying new attention to those of our patients provided a
profound learning experience.
Sharon's presence was powerful; she physically conveyed her passion
for and belief in the concepts and ideas she discussed with us. Sitting
with her was a visceral experience. Even in that big conference room
surrounded by a large group of other clinicians, I felt she embodied the
very concepts she was discussing.
There were many moments that stood out but one resonated in particu-
lar ... early in the discussion Sharon had a power point up on two screens,
one on either side of her. There were some tweaks needed with the
equipment, and finally she said, 'Tm going to turn off the power point
and talk with you:' The now blank screens became background as we
refocused on her and she made contact with us. It was a different kind
of contact - one that didn't happen when the screens were displaying
With all the talk about email, texting, and other kinds of electronic and
screen communications, and the impact on the quality our interactions,
Sharon, in one fell swoop, demonstrated the power of face-to-face con-
tact. In that moment she transformed our collective sense of disconnect
to one of connection.