The Return to Embodiment

Listen to “Embodiment as inquiry with Amber Elizabeth Gray: How am I, in this flesh and blood and love, a part of everything?”

In this conversation, Dr. Amber Elizabeth L. Gray asks a series of questions, which deepen us into the question of embodiment and its function to sensitize us to one another and cultivate respect and reciprocity within the more than human world.

Dr. Gray is a Dance/Movement Therapist, Somatic & Human Rights Psychotherapist, and long-time yoga and Continuum teacher. She works with survivors of war, torture, human rights abuses and historical trauma and oppression, in the US and in active and post conflict zones, refugee camps, and disasters. Equally activist, artist, advocate, author, mystic and therapist, her clinical, healing, educational and organizational work endeavors to promote reciprocity and empowerment and incite meaningful change. She brings her Polyvagal, Heart & Spirit-informed Right to Embody somatic human rights framework and Body of Change eco-somatic regenerative retreats to communities of therapists, artists, global citizens and change maker world-wide. Amber originated Polyvagal-informed Somatic & Dance/Movement Therapy through 25 years immersive mentoring and exploration of Polyvagal Theory. This work is a survivor-centered, multi-cultural & social justice framework that reflects many years of co-inquiry with her clients to understand how Polyvagal Theory promotes restoration and healing in the body-heart-mind-spirit for survivors of egregious human rights violations. She has been teaching this work globally since 2003 and is the inaugural member of The Polyvagal Institute’s Editorial Board.


Trauma and the Body with Amber Gray

Listen to “TRAUMA AND THE BODY with AMBER GRAY” and The Brilliant Body Podcast with Ali Mezey.

Be enriched by a thoughtfully crafted conversation where sensitive topics related to trauma, torture, and self-loathing are gently woven into a narrative that is ultimately about love. There are no graphic descriptions of torture, just some causes and effects, but we nonetheless recommend that sensitive listeners prioritize their well-being and engage at their own discretion/pace. Also, for those intrigued by the idea of swimming with whales, a friendly reminder to follow safety guidelines and never venture alone into such deep waters.

Join us in this episode as we connect with Amber Grey, a masterful Human Rights Psychotherapist and Somatic and Dance/Movement Therapist with over 25 years of experience. Through her profound insights gained from working with survivors of trauma, particularly torture, war, and human rights abuses, Amber shares invaluable lessons and practices.

Ali and Amber explore the profound lessons Amber has gleaned from her work with both whales and torture victims, professors and shamans, including the complexities of dissociation, what traditional trauma recovery misses, and the impactful ability to shift one’s state of being.

Amber’s integrative approach, which merges refugee mental health and torture treatment with creative arts, mindfulness, and body-based therapies, offers a unique perspective on healing. The discussion also delves into the innovative Restorative Movement Psychotherapy, a resiliency-based framework co-created by Amber and her clients, designed specifically for trauma survivors in diverse cultural contexts.

Exploration Points:
– Amber talks about the lessons we can learn from whales, including their social dynamics, communication skills, patience and ability to adapt to changing environments and how whales’ enduring nature serves as a metaphor for resilience and persistence in navigating life’s challenges.

-Ali and Amber examine the psychological factors and societal influences that contribute to people’s capacity to commit acts of torture, shedding light on the complex nature of human behavior.

– Amber shares insights into the adaptive function of dissociation in coping with trauma, highlighting its role in preserving mental and emotional well-being during overwhelming experiences.

– Ali and Amber reflect on the origins and manifestations of self-loathing and shame, its psychological impact, and strategies for cultivating self-compassion and acceptance.

– Amber sheds light on the concept of “restoration” as a more holistic approach to healing after trauma, emphasizing the integration of past experiences and the cultivation of a renewed sense of self in the ongoing process of restoration and healing after trauma, emphasizing the journey of growth and resilience rather than a simplistic and erroneous, notion of “recovery.”

– Amber shares techniques for the power of state shifting: Exploring various tools and practices, such as mindfulness, somatic experiencing, and creative expression, for managing emotional states and promoting healing in the face of adversity.

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Being Yoga podcast: Interview with Dr. Amber Elizabeth Gray

Listen to “Being Yoga podcast Ep. 24: Interview with Dr. Amber Elizabeth Gray” by Elisa Jouannet

Amber is a licensed human rights psychotherapist, innovative movement artist, board-certified dance/movement therapist, master trainer and educator, Continuum teacher, and public health professional.

In her father’s words, Amber was born “dancing, fighting, and has never stopped”. Her life-long commitment to social justice and planetary, animal, and human rights; her passion for the natural world and everything wild; and her commitment to service have all inspired and shaped her work. An innovator in the use of somatic psychology and movement–based therapies (Dance/Movement Therapy, Yoga, Continuum) with survivors of trauma, torture, war, and human rights abuses, Amber has spent the last 20 years in service of her belief that, “Every human being has the right to inhabit their body in the way they choose”.