Emotions play a great role in our psyche. It is through dealing with our emotions that we find healing. Today, Cedric Bertelli, the founder of the Emotional Health Institute, provides valuable insights about Emotional Resolution (EmRes) to emotional healing towards individuals. He explains how he integrates Emotional Resolution into his practice. He also shares how individuals can live in their epicenter to resolve the conflict inside us. Cedric urges individuals to slay their dragons, not by controlling and running away from them but instead allowing those dragons to swallow them entirely. Find out more about Emotional Resolution by tuning in to this episode!
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Cedric Bertelli Founder Of Emotional Health Institute
Cedric Bertelli is a recognized expert in Emotional Resolution, EmRes, a revolutionary approach to emotional healing that has transformed the lives of countless individuals. As the Founder and Director of the Emotional Health Institute, EHI, Cedric has dedicated his career to helping people overcome stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other negative emotions using powerful tools and techniques.
Cedric, welcome. Thank you for joining me.
Tim, thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.
I was hoping you could start us off by letting us know about how you got into the work you do and what drives your passion for it.
This is the second career for me. For my first career, I was working in the hospitality business. I was working for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel. I was first a chef and then a director of restaurants up until 2009. During this period of time, personally, I was struggling with a lot of anxiety and self-directed anger. Also, working with a lot of employees, I could see how emotions were what you needed to manage in a company and not so much people. Anyway, emotions always have been an interest of mine.
In 2009, I decided to change career, go back to France, study therapy, and how to resolve or regulate emotional difficulties using the body. I studied in France in 2011 and then came back to the US. I kept on my studies and turned to neuroscience. I practiced a lot with clients. In 2019, we created the Emotional Health Institute in collaboration with Dr. Jacques Fumex in France. We developed a body of work called EmRes or Emotional Resolution. That aims to support people to get rid of disruptive emotional pattern based on what we understand on the neuroscience of emotions and our experience.
You mentioned another doctor who was in France. What was his specialty?
Dr. Jacques Fumex is a gastroenterologist. He is now retired. Specifically, when GI issues had no biological root, he was using hypnosis to help people and to support people in their healing. Hypnosis was working sometimes, but not as much as he wished. He started thinking about all the ways we could use to help his patients. We met while studying somatic therapy. Little by little, we started collaborating and noticing the importance of physical sensations when it comes to emotional responses.
Together, we worked and designed the emotional resolution process, which is not really a process. It’s not a real thing. It’s a body of work that encompass a lot of things. It’s mostly based on the natural capacity that the body has to resolve disruptive emotional patterns to heal the wounds created by trauma.
It grew out of your experience with somatic therapy.
For me, the main one is Lisa Feldman-Barrett out of Boston. The second one is Antonio Damasio. Bruce McEwen for neuroplasticity and Joseph LeDoux out of NYU. These were the foundation of the neuroscience of emotion that we find inspiration with, among others, of course.
If you would take us back to what did you think was the most impactful that you got out of studying somatic therapy?
What was most impactful was what we noticed during somatic therapy and what we understand is the neuroscience of emotion. What we understand about emotional difficulty is that the origin of every single one of our disruptive emotional pattern, we have the same type of event, which is what we can call a traumatic event. What is a traumatic event? In my book, at least, a traumatic event is an event that holds too much stress for us to take on at the instant when we’re living. Stress can be emotional stress or physical stress.
When the stress is too much for us to take on when we experience it, there is a natural phenomenon that’s happening in us that we’re going to call dissociation. Basically, the prefrontal context become inhibited, so we don’t suffer too much during this incident of trauma. When the dissociation happens, the subconscious mind takes over. The way the subconscious mind deals and gather information is very different from what consciously we’re aware of.
For example, you and I are aware of about 2,000 bits of information per second. We manage that at the speed of about 150 miles per hour. These are numbers from Penn University from 2012. At the same time, the potential of the subconscious mind is much greater. The subconscious mind can gather about 400 billion bits of information per second and can process them at the speed of about 150,000 miles per hour.
When there’s dissociation because of too much stress, the subconscious gathers all the information available in our environment through our five senses, what we smell, what we hear, etc. Also, with physical sensations that we feel in our body. It’s what we can call interoception. Something that we need to know about the brain is that one of the many main function of the brain is to predict. Our brain constantly predicts based on past events.
We can see that with food, for example. If we have our first Granny Smith apple when we are four years old, we first have a sensorial experience. We bite the apple and we have the acidity, the juiciness. We have a sensorial experience. When we have a Granny Smith apple, right before we buy this apple, our body generates the same sensations that we’re about to feel. We don’t dare enough to buy this apple anymore. We know exactly the experience we’re about to live. Our brain is predicting this experience.
It is the same thing about emotion. When our body is exposed to an element that it recognizes was present during a past trauma, our body is going to generate a prediction. It’s going to predict what physical sensation we’re about to feel in our body based on what was felt during a specific trauma. These physical sensations are generated, just like with the apple earlier. These physical sensations that we call interoception are what let us know that we’re feeling an emotion.
What we understand is that this prediction, when we experience it as human beings, we never let it play out until the end. We always control. We control how we feel, shut it down, breathe into it, or control our environment so that this prediction can stop. That is the problem. In a nutshell, what we put our finger on is if we can experience the whole sensorial prediction without any interference from our mind or our body. Just feeding the whole prediction in our body in a safe environment.
At the end of the prediction, the body is expecting to be hit with some kind of danger or stressor during a session. At the end of the prediction, nothing happens. At that very instant, the prediction is updated. What used to create the sensorial prediction will not create any prediction anymore. In a nutshell, the emotional resolution is updating outdated prediction so we can experience the emotions held by our current reality instead of reacting from past wounds and past experience that were not integrated.
You’re breaking the cycle of predicting and then abreacting or shutting down that got initiated at any point in my life when I experienced something that I decided was too much for me. This process of dissociation happens. There’s this automatic process within the mind at a subconscious level that tries to prevent me from getting that hit or punch at the end that I did the first time whenever the trauma originated. You break that cycle of prediction, and then the physiological response of tension, upset, and manufacture of the symptoms or the signals of the emotion automatically kick in whenever any part of the original trauma is experienced by my senses.
Absolutely correct. I want to make sure that I understood you correctly. The dissociation happens at the moment of the trauma. When we are facing an everyday stimulus, sometimes very dissociation. Yes. It depends on the person. It’s always different. The original dissociation, at least from what we can see and observe, happened at the moment of the trauma.
That is why this can help break that cycle because so much of what I think, do, and experience is on autopilot. As you said, the conscious part of my mind is tiny compared to what the subconscious or unconscious is processing constantly. At the level of functioning in the world, mostly, I experienced that as a good thing because it would be very time-consuming if every time I went to drive a car, I had to relearn how to drive the car. It’s great that I do a lot of things automatically. Here are these maladaptive patterns that I’ve downloaded whenever I had a traumatic experience. They also get triggered and start to run automatically and they aren’t so useful.
Something like emotional resolution and the process that you’re using to help people with a combination of the somatic experiencing and your knowledge of the neuro processing that you help people have a safe environment within which to go through that prediction process fully and breathe through it.
Just one thing. It’s so key. What you said here is absolutely exact. The only demo that I have to add because it’s such a common misstep is to breathe into it. We don’t want to breathe into it. If you breathe into an emotion, you are taking control of the emotion. In this case, the body thinks that, “If he’s taking control, that must mean that there is actually a danger around me.” That’s the main thing. When we feel the sensation, it’s so important to not breathe into it, to not stretch, to not have a glass of water, but to let the prediction place out without any interference from a therapist or from us.If you breathe into an emotion, you are taking control of it. In this case, the body thinks you must be in danger because you’re taking control. Click To Tweet
It puts me in mind of this Commitment 3 from The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership. That says, “I commit to feeling my feelings all the way through to completion. They come, I locate them in my body, I move, I breathe, and vocalize them, so they release all the way through. It’s not about controlling it. It’s about experiencing it fully.” We want you to be precise and figure out what there might be a difference between your approach and these other approaches.
I hope people will try it after tuning in to us. They don’t have to believe me. They have to express it. They have to try it. When we voice, breathe into it, and move, we feel like we express our emotion. It’s not really the case. For example, if I’m angry and I’m screaming, I’m releasing tension. If I’m tense and start moving, dancing, or whatever my practice is, I release tension. That prevents the resolution to happen. It’s important that it happens within the self. Yes, at times, he might be uncomfortable to be with the sessions as the process, but they never last long. They never last longer than 90 seconds.
We would read on ourselves during a session with a therapist. In a session by the book, the release of a specific prediction will take up to three minutes, not much more. It is key to not breathe, to not move your body, but to feel the sensation within the body as that changes within you. This way, you do not regulate the result. I make a difference between that. We have a lot of coping mechanisms or techniques to regulate emotion. Often, when we are faced with a similar situation, the emotion is going to come back again and we’re going to have to regulate again. We become in control of our emotions. The goal of EmRes is to resolve whatever can be resolved.
The actual resolution comes, as you’re describing it, by allowing the process to unfold, and then without any coping mechanism on my part, I experienced that there isn’t the overwhelm and the hit that you talk about. That breaks the cycle of me thinking at that subconscious level that I need to do this prediction and brace for this big impact when there isn’t going to be one.
It’s absolutely correct. In our life, we update predictions constantly. I’ll give you an example. Let’s say there’s a new ice cream shop opening down the street and I decide to go there to have an ice cream. It’s a new place, so there are a lot of batches, but there’s no label. There is a pink batch, a green batch, a brown batch. I love strawberry ice cream, so I decide to have some of the pink batch, and I ask for one bowl of the pink ice cream.
The person gave it to me. I come out of the store. I expect to have some fruity flavor, strawberry or raspberry. I take a little spoon, I eat it, and it tastes like smoked salmon. This is actually smoked salmon ice cream. How many spoons of smoked salmon ice cream do you think I need to know that in this store, the pink batch is smoked salmon? One little taste.
Until I’m proved wrong by this store, I will know that not in all the stores on Earth, but in this specific store, the pink batch is salmon ice cream. It’s going to inform my whole experience. That means that if I go to an ice cream store in the future and there are no labels, because of what happened to me, I will ask the person behind the counter, “What are the flavors?” I updated my prediction specifically from this store in about two seconds. I learned from this experience that I can apply in any other store in my life.
The difference being between that and a trauma situation is that updating the prediction you’re doing is happening at the conscious level.
It happened at a conscious and subconscious level because I was not exposed to stress.
The idea is that when we have a trauma, something is happening within the brain at the conscious/unconscious level that the unconscious decides, “I need to take over,” because the conscious part of me decided, “I can’t handle this.”
“It’s too much stress. I’m going to disconnect,” so the person doesn’t suffer too much.
In that process you’re calling disconnection or dissociation. Whenever the unconscious gets aware of signs, symptoms, or signals that resonate with the same frequencies, smells, or sounds as the original trauma, that unconscious process kicks in without any updating.
Just like it happened maybe 30 years ago, 10 years ago, or whenever the trauma happened, which can be at birth.
Some people say without integrating it, you say without updating it. The idea is I’m on a rote repetition pattern that’s been triggered without my conscious awareness.
People who say integrating, I could totally agree with them. It’s an integration. What we do with EmRes is allowing ourselves and the people we work with to integrate all parts of our life. It’s a bit like this moment of dissociation or parts of our life that have been stolen from us. We disappeared during these few seconds. During EmRes is reconnecting and reintegrating all these parts of life that were stolen from us by live events. We can live our life, I like to say from the epicenter of our life, with all our experiences.
Living from the epicenter, how would you put some more words on that to describe that?
For me, living from the epicenter means to accept all of ourselves. Living from the epicenter of our life, that means that we are experiencing in our body what is congruent to our current reality. For example, if I meet you and I don’t know anything about you, but when I come toward you, I feel tense right away. I have no particular reason. Maybe it’s because of your smell that I don’t even smell consciously or maybe your size because you’re taller than me and I was bullied in the bus when I was a child.Living from the epicenter of our life means we experience our body, which is congruent to current reality. Click To Tweet
There’s something about you that make me tense and make me feel anxious to be around you. That’s not congruent with my current reality. I will not even take the time to see if we can befriend or if we can have a relationship. That’s not congruent. I have something happening in me that comes from the past. Basically, a part of me is moved back to whatever trauma might have happened many years ago. What I mean by being congruent with our current reality is I come towards you, I feel relaxed like I’m now, and we can have a conversation. I can inform with what is actually happening now, not because of something that happened in the past that was not integrated.
If you meet me on the street and you have this discomfort, does that mean that in that moment you are not living from your epicenter?
Often, that’s true. When I meet you in the street, I don’t know anything about you, and I feel tense, chances are, there’s a part of me that went back to an instance of trauma. There’s something about you, your shape, smell, something that you say, the way you move even, maybe, that get my body from the episode of my life I went through many years ago. I have 1 foot here now with you and 1 foot many years ago.
How do you then live from the epicenter when that happens?
When that happens, first, I would love to feel safe. Let’s say I met you and have this thing. We finish our conversation. I go away or you go away. I still feel this tension or anxiety in me. What I would have to do in a very pragmatic way is I would have to make sure that I’m in a space where I feel safe. I would close my eyes, which would allow me to see if I’m safe. If I’m having a hard time closing my eyes, that means that my body doesn’t feel safe. I can explain that later. As I feel the anxiety, I close my eyes and I’m going to pay attention to sensations in my body.
I’m going to pay attention to two sensations at once, it’s important. Two sensations that make me realize that I was anxious. Maybe my throat is tight and my heart is beating. Also, my plexus is tense. I’m going to pay attention to these sensations. As I pay attention to my sensations, I’m not in any kind of story about you or about why I feel this way. I’m just intimate with my emotion. We’re rarely intimate with our emotions. Usually, we surf upon some kind of emotional wave. When you stop and you feel the sensations, you’re intimate with your emotion and anxiety.
I feel these 2 or 3 sensations, and at this point comes the most difficult. I’ve got to do nothing. How do I do nothing? I pay attention to what’s happening within me as the sensation starts to change. The sensations are not going to stay static. They are going to transform, to move, to become more intense, or less they’re going to move. They’re going to do things. They’re going to change. That’s the transformation of sensation.Pay attention to what's happening within yourself as a sensation changes. The sensations will not stay static. They will transform to move to become more intense or less. Click To Tweet
My only job now is to feel the sensations as they change within me. That will take between 2 seconds and 90 seconds. At the end of the transformation of those transitions, I will feel a sense of normalcy and a sense of calm. At this point, I can open my eyes. Next time I will meet you, I will not feel anxious. It is extremely simple, but it is what’s happening in nature everywhere for mammals. We always talk about the impala being chased by the lion. It’s the same principle. It’s letting the time or leaving the time for the body to process a sensorial prediction. That’s all it is about. It is so simple, but it’s very difficult to communicate about it.
Especially because we’re so trained to rely on the internal processing that thinks, “Now, what do I do? I want to be doing something to accomplish a change.” What you’re talking about is sitting with it allows it to resolve itself.
Also, you don’t want to judge yourself. A lot of time, we feel, “I’m anxious and I’m weak, so I judge myself. I don’t want even to look into it.” No. It’s not about judging. Is it weak? No, it’s completely irrelevant. We fill in a funk and there’s no real reason for that, then we stop and we become intimate with this funk. Follow the sensations and you’ll be with it, even if it’s uncomfortable. One of the reasons why we put all those coping mechanism into place is because the sensations are going to be a bit uncomfortable. We feel the sensations anywhere in our life. We just decide to shut them up, to shut them down or to soothe them, for example, with breathing, with alcohol, with marijuana, or something else.
Instead of soothing them, we just allow them and observe them.Instead of soothing our emotions, we just allow them and observe them. Click To Tweet
For me, it’s the hero’s journey. All those emotions that keep on coming back in our life are like dragons. We spend our lives fighting, escaping and trying to control our dragons. That doesn’t work. The dragons will keep on coming back. If we want to play the dragons, if we want to slay our old dragons, what we have to do is to let ourselves be swallowed by them. Completely feel this emotion.
When we’re swallowed by them and feel the sensation, we basically grow at the core of our emotions. From there, we can slay the dragons once and for all. It does take an amount of courage to get the sensations and the emotions until they naturally process. That’s why often a coach, a therapist, and helper is necessary because you or the practitioner can create a safe environment. It can give guidance for the person to go inside the emotion until the end of the prediction.
In the end, it’s never what we had feared. This is the thing that so many of these techniques help us see that we can’t see unless we stay there and watch it, see it, and trust it. As long as we’re running from the monster, we are convinced it’s too big to defeat.
That’s correct. Often, it feels too big for us.
Especially to that part of us that decided it was too much to begin with.
We then realize we never work on a traumatic event. If a trauma happens and the person knows what the trauma was, we’re never going to work through it because there is no point in going into a traumatic event. The traumatic event happened. There’s nothing we can do about it. What emotional resolution does is to resolve the wound and the impact the trauma created in our life.
That is that energetic auto response. That repetition of that prediction cycle that’s getting repeated, that’s what you interrupt.
I will also say that there’s often a misconception about trauma. Let’s say I’m being sexually abused. If I’m being sexually abused for five minutes, during those five minutes, I’m not going to have only one dissociation. Chances are I’m going to have several of them because the stress is going to be so intense for so long. For each dissociation, that will create probably an impactful disruptive emotional pattern in my life. When people know the trauma, the first question the practitioner asks is, “What do you see now being the impacts of this trauma in your life now?” We go down the list of the different impacts that can be multiple.
The point you’re making is, and then do you work on those impacts?
Correct, each one of them and we will resolve them.
Rather than trying to list in great detail what was the original trauma, you focus on what’s the impact now.
We do not focus on the original trauma. It’s as little as we can because, as I said earlier, it happened and there’s nothing we can do about it. If we look at our life now. Now, in my life, what is the problem? What are the issues? What makes me suffer now? We take the process. It’s a bit like having a big cake. This trauma is this huge cake that we were not able to swallow and that we will never be able to swallow. Let’s see how this cake is impacting us. Let’s see each slice of it. We’re going to support the client or the client’s going to support themselves, resolving each piece of the cake at a time.
As a present-moment physiological experience, not as a memory of the past. Diederik Wolsak and his work focuses on, “What did I make that mean? I can’t go back and change what happened in the past, but if it gets resonated in my awareness now, the meaning I gave that that happened to me is active in me. If I change that meaning, I get a resolution.
It’s one of the things that we work with EmRes well. What does it say about me that I feel that? For each of those impacts or for each one of those wounds that I carry, there is a thorough work that we’re doing about self-image and the emotion felt now. It’s a complete work for each piece of the impact.
What’s the format that you use for working with people? Do they have to be in person with you? Do you use distance video or telehealth? What format are you working with?
Each practitioner is different. We trained several practitioners. since the pandemic, I let go of my office. First, I need to know what the result would be on video compared to in-person and they’re actually better. The reason is when the client is working from an environment that they know, they actually feel safer. They don’t have to meet me, come to my office, or anything like that. My request to the client is, “Be in a place where you feel safe.” That means that to the extent that if somebody comes to work on an emotion that is held in the house, I ask them to get out of the house and to be in their car, in the forest, or wherever they want in a place where the body feels safe.
To answer your question, I do my sessions exclusively via Zoom and it works exceptionally well. How do I work? We do sessions on one-on-one, and I teach my clients how to do the work on themselves by themselves. In between sessions, they have the ability to take care of themselves, so they don’t rely on me so much.
You mentioned that you’ve trained others. If somebody wanted to experience this, how should they contact you?
If they want to contact me, they can go to my personal website, which is CedricBertelli.com. If they want to learn more about this work, they can go to our main website, which is EmotionalHealthInstitute.org.
Before we move too far up against the deadline that I have for time here, would you clear your thoughts for a minute and think? Based on whatever we’ve said so far, what’s something that we haven’t asked you at all about related to your work, what you would like people to know, or something you’ve already talked about that you want to highlight before we wrap up?
Two things. 1) If one learned to do the process on themselves, that takes about 2 hours to understand how to do it yourself and why you do things this way. You can reach great autonomy in your emotional health forever. It’s very worth it to spend 1.5 to 2 hours to learn how to do this work on oneself. For that, we provide very low cost, $8 trainings every month. People can learn how to do that on themselves by themselves.
2) Our main emotions, our main anxieties, our main anger or such, I almost see them as symptoms. A bit like if you have the flu, you have a fever. You’re very much aware of the fever. You’re cold and your skin feels strange. That’s a symptom. The fever is a symptom. If you treat the fever, the flu is not going to go away. What I found is those big emotions that we’re aware of, it’s a bit like a symptom.
Often, working with a practitioner, you’re going to go into the big anxiety or the big anger, and that’s going to be the symptom. That’s going to allow the practitioner to go with you. Of course, you go together and find hidden emotion or hidden fear that we are not aware of. We’re not aware of them because these emotions that we’re going to encounter during a session don’t have a name.
In our life, they’re lived as tensions. We have a lot of emotions in us human beings that we do not have a label for. They just feel like tension. A lot of these tensions have a dramatic impact on our life and relationships. During a session, we tap into those big emotion and the clients came to see us for and we go and find as much tension as we can and resolve them as well. The person is as positively impacted as possible. The power of tension that we feel in our life is great.
The two points you wanted to make are that it takes 1.5 or 2 hours to learn how to do this for myself. You have monthly video trainings at a very low cost where someone can learn that process for themselves. The second thing that you were making as a point is that the pattern that you’ve seen with a lot of therapies and therapists is that they go after the big intense emotions. What you’ve discovered is that that’s more like a symptom of this other more complex set of tensions within the body. If people can learn those more subtle tensions and do this process with those, they get resolution at a deeper level. Is that what you were saying?
That’s absolutely correct, yes.
If people wanted to tap into those trainings, is that the Emotional Resolution Institute?
The Emotional Health Institute or they can go on my website.
I greatly appreciate you taking the time to share with our audience. I look forward to trying this workout myself and seeing what benefits I get from it.
Thank you very much. I appreciate your time, your questions, and this moment spent together. Thank you, Tim.
It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance. Thanks for agreeing to do this.
Cedric Bertelli is a recognized expert in Emotional Resolution, EmRes, a revolutionary approach to emotional healing that has transformed the lives of countless individuals. As the Founder and Director of the Emotional Health Institute, EHI, Cedric has dedicated his career to helping people overcome stress, anxiety, depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and other negative emotions using powerful tools and techniques.
After a drastic career change, Cedric began his journey into Emotional Resolution in 2009 in his home country of France. Since then, he has honed his expertise and developed a deep understanding of how emotions function in the human psyche. His work has touched the lives of people all over the world. At EHI, Cedric and his team provide training and education to mental health professionals, coaches, and educators, helping them to integrate Emotional Resolution into their practices. In addition, Cedric works directly with clients, providing individualized support and guidance to help them overcome emotional challenges and improve their overall well-being.
About Cedric Bertelli
Cedric Bertelli is a recognized expert in Emotional Resolution (EmRes), a revolutionary approach to emotional healing that has transformed the lives of countless individuals. As the Founder and Director of the Emotional Health Institute (EHI), Cedric has dedicated his career to helping people overcome stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other negative emotions using powerful tools and techniques.
After a drastic career change, Cedric began his journey into Emotional Resolution in 2009 in his home country of France. Since then, he has honed his expertise and developed a deep understanding of how emotions function in the human psyche.
His work has touched the lives of people all over the world. At EHI, Cedric and his team provide training and education to mental health professionals, coaches, and educators, helping them to integrate Emotional Resolution into their practices. In addition, Cedric works directly with clients, providing individualized support and guidance to help them overcome emotional challenges and improve their overall well-being. With a passion for empowering individuals to take control of their emotional health, Cedric has transformed the lives of countless individuals, and his expertise continues to drive innovation and progress in the field of emotional healing.
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