Transforming Trauma Episode 093: Cultural Animation and Applied Human Ecology with Anthony Twig Wheeler
A podcast brought to you by the NARM® Training Institute
In this episode of Transforming Trauma, NARM Senior Trainer Brad Kammer is joined by his old friend and long-time colleague, Anthony “Twig” Wheeler. Twig is a Trauma Specialist, Environmentalist, Performance Artist, Applied Human Ecologist, Consultant, Educator, and so much more. His interest in how to resolve the conflicts within society, and being introduced to Peter Levine’s work of Somatic Experiencing, led him to branch out into different areas of trauma. While Twig’s interests led him to a variety of studies – such as evolutionary, somatic and ecological psychology, and environmental and cultural anthropology – it was his own therapy that created his focus for advocacy and translating the work for the world as best he can.
Twig and Brad recollect on their early experiences learning about somatic psychology and specifically connecting to Somatic Experiencing. From the beginning, Twig knew that he wasn’t destined to be a clinician. He learned trauma healing skills, and while we provided direct service to clients, he was focused on finding other avenues through which he could share and explain the work of Somatic Experiencing in a larger way. He realized that he could make trauma work more accessible by taking clinical information and making it colloquial. He found great interest and hunger from people for more down-to-earth, direct application of trauma healing theory and skills.
Twig describes what being a Cultural Animator is all about. He shares how he learned about this societal role during his time in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and that he has been seeking ways to implement this into American society. He has created and presented his work in various formats, including online, on stage, and in professional trainings, and he is currently looking forward to creating a show to take on the road this year where he can do street performances focused on knowing and appreciating the stress response.
Twig and Brad also reflect on the evolving understanding of complex trauma and the various ways to relate to this new understanding. They reflect on their years of being on this learning and healing journey together and appreciate their connection and friendship.
We are grateful to Twig for his dynamic appreciation of the modern human condition and his unique approach to healing. We invite you to listen to the full episode to hear more about Twig’s experience.
Anthony “Twig” Wheeler specializes in the restoration of a participatory relationship between humans and their nature – as in, how to enjoy our biology rather than hate it. As a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner and trauma expert, Twig works with individuals, groups and helping care professionals. As an Applied Human Ecologist, he works toward an articulation of the evolutionarily established needs of our species. As a Performance Artist and Cultural Animator, Twig translates his social observation and research for general public audiences with humor, grace and care with the intention to enliven, inspire and catalyze action for good living, respect of self and others and engagement with biodiversity. With his studies and a strong background in social change and ecological preservation efforts, widespread travel and years spent mastering the wilderness living arts, Twig has developed an unusual appreciation of the human species and modern human condition.