Our Theory of How KCT Works
KCT promotes polyvagal flexibility, and builds a template for secure attachment through direct state induction and modal priming, while resetting the homeostatic stress baseline, and releasing "stuck" trauma points, all within a safe and attuned connection.
KCT is informed by the works of: Steven Porges, Bruce Perry, Dan Siegal. Peter Levine, Pat Ogden, Allan Schore, Bessel van der Kolk, Laurel Parnell, Dan Brown, Bonnie Badenoch, Lou Cozolino, Iain McGilchrist, Bruce Ecker, Jaak Panksepp, Bessel van der Kolk, Pat Crittenden, and many others through the years.
Engages the Primary Regulatory Network
Bruce Perry, Psychiatrist and Trauma Researcher states that we need "patterned, repetitive, rhythmic somatosensory activity" to bring ourselves back into safe, connected regulation. KCT is exactly this. You can literally feel this snap of attunement between the participants the moment it happens. In fact, many witnessing these moments can see and often feel the attunement and regulation vicariously in their bodies as well.
Attuned Connection and Co-Regulation
Many of our most trusted tools given to clients are based on ways to self-regulate. KCT's novel and cutting-edge regulatory exercises use attuned co-regulation. As a result, we move to the resonance network which not only brings the nervous system into Ventral Vagal, it also brings clients and therapists a feeling of wider connected "tribe" safety. The client's experience of a warm, connected, and attached therapeutic relationship "primes" the client for new secure attachments, offering more opportunities for co-regulation outside of session.
Treatment for Dysregulation
Nervous systems can get locked into repetitive response patterns that detract from the joy and vitality of life. Sympathetic activation, or fight flight or freeze leaves people constantly on edge, while dorsal shut down or dissociative reactions numb people from feeling alive and connected. KCT is designed specifically to quickly bring regulation to these habitual dysregulated nervous system response patterns. It is not enough to recognize one's dysregulation, the nervous system needs help to create new pathways with repeated somatic experiences.
Bilateral Stimulation Processes Traumatic Stress
Bessel van der Kolk states that "Martial arts may be among the very best treatments for traumatic stress." Martial arts empowerment plus rhythmic bilateral stimulation invites the hippocampus to create cohesion within the implicit memories allowing them to be accurately time stamped as the past. The present time feeling of empowerment is a disconfirming experience to the feeling of powerlessness.
Helps the Helpers
Compassion fatigue, burnout, secondary and vicarious trauma can affect workers in the helping professions with symptoms such as irritability, reduced productivity, hopelessness, anger, and withdrawal from relationships and activities. KCT used in sessions can help regulate and process these emotions through coregulated bilateral stimulation providing a powerful tool to increase overall wellbeing.
Power of Play
The novel and enjoyable aspect of the stick exercises are like “play”. According to Stephen Porges, play functions as a neural exercise that improves the efficiency of the neural circuit that can instantaneously downregulate fight/flight behaviors. Play is healing and promotes faster neural rewiring. In addition, the parts of the mid-brain that engage in emotional association and learning make connections much more quickly during play than during lecture. Therefore, old emotional activation patterns can be permanently erased rather than just being deactivated. The direct state induction of empowerment during session translates to a greater sense of agency following treatment.