On Your Mind | Dale Ryder | Ryder Method


Explore the profound effects of trauma on an individual and delve into the transformative approach of the Ryder Method Integrative Therapy with Dale Ryder. Uncover the intricacies of thriving and healing from diving deep into traumatic experiences as Dale emphasizes the significance of addressing various needs—physical, emotional, and spiritual. Drawing from her own journey of personal growth, Dale shares valuable insights that extend to aiding families in the process of generational healing. Embark on a journey towards understanding and healing as Dale guides you through the gates of transformative recovery.

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Dale Ryder – Ryder Method Integrative Therapy – Author Of Surviving Irene: A Memoir

Dale Ryder is a social worker who provides services at The New Beginnings Center, serving people with chronic pain, addiction, mental health challenges, and trauma. Her specialties include family programs and workshops, spirituality, equine programs, and experiential workshops. She provides Reiki sessions that include journey work, assisting in a holistic approach to trauma release. She’s passionate about the work she does and living in a supportive environment that feeds her spiritual, emotional, and personal needs. The recovery field has given her an incredible opportunity to assist others and gain insight into her own personal growth while assisting families in generational healing.

Dale, thank you for joining me here.

You’re welcome. It’s my pleasure.

I’m hoping you can get us started by telling us a little bit about how you got into the work you do and what drives your passion for it.

Even in high school, people would call me their counselor. I think I was born into it, as a natural empath and wanting to help people. I’ve always had that desire. In what I call my first life, I was a probation officer. I worked with juveniles and then the adult system and found that work was not where my passion was. It was helping people, but when I had to go into homes, do searches, and that sort of thing, I knew it wasn’t for me any longer.

My Bachelor’s degree is in Criminal Justice and my Master’s is in Social Work. While I was working full-time as a probation officer, I got my degree in Social Work and created the first in-house therapy sessions for probationers. It started to go from there and I stepped away from probation and worked in some therapeutic boarding schools for a bit and then many addiction treatment centers followed and then out into private practice. I’m now working with a lot of trauma patients. It’s always been in my blood.

How long have you been focusing on trauma patients?

Even in probation, the trauma as we know it has always been there. I’ve been at this for many years. Trauma has always been woven in there. Addiction treatment is where it is, and in therapeutic boarding schools, there is so much trauma. I think it’s always been a piece of the puzzle. The center I work for now is specifically around trauma. I always worked with it.

How long has it been a specific focus for you?

In the addiction treatment centers, we started that, so for the last many years.

How Trauma Impacts Individuals

What would you say is the most prominent thing you’ve learned about trauma and its impact on the individual?

All the work that we’re seeing came out Peter Levine and we use CRM at our center, which is the Comprehensive Resource Model with Lisa Schwarz. I think they’re all seeing that it’s always been on board underneath and that the body holds the score. I do energy work with people. I’ve seen that for me because I’m a family specialist. I created family workshops for addiction treatment centers. What I saw there, what I believe is our attachment wounds are smaller traumas in a sense that grab on. I think they’re a little more subtle than maybe what we would call those big T Traumas. I do focus a little more on these underlying attachment wounds that may be a little more subtle for people. That’s been more of my focus as of late. I still deal with the big T Traumas.

When you mention that you do family work and developed a model for working with the families, can you tell us more about that?

It started in the addiction treatment centers. We’d have the clients that we had in their treatment and patients. We’d fly the families in and take the family apart and put it back together in a couple of days. We did that through boundary work. There was family sculpting involved, which I don’t know how much it’s used these days, but I think it was the most powerful work I feel I’ve ever done in that sculpting. The client creates a sculpture with actual people.

Arranging their family members in the room in different positions and then unraveling the stories that come out from that.

The messages that were received. It opened the door for the healing of those wounded parts. Parts work is another big piece. In those family workshops we, if we’re in our upright fingerprints of who we are, that’s when we’re in all those beautiful qualities that we were born with then we malt sideways from those smaller attachment wounds. I always work with people. We don’t want to cut that off of you. We want to see how to get it upright. We would work with that in the family and through that sculpting that when they tipped sideways, it was maladaptation to some of what was happening in the home or their own personal maybe traumas from school bullying wherever. There were many places where those attachment pieces started.

As you identify them and you have these different things like the family sculpture and things like that would allow you to identify the patterns, then what do you do to try and start correcting or healing?

We’ll get into that when we look at those charts. It is about when we come from that maladaptive place, we begin to get our needs met from that space and from the wounded self, the wounded part, those needs are insatiable. If we don’t get love or validation, people will be trying to get those met for the rest of their lives from that insatiable place. When I work with more of the upright, what are the ways to get those needs met? Not from the reactive place but from the upright space from when you are in your adult self we would call it and the parts work versus the wounded child. It’s more proactive needs work rather than reactive needs work is how I talk about it.

You mentioned these two charts that we have to be able to show. Do you want to step into that already?

Proactive Vs: Reactive: The Snapshots

We absolutely can. Before we go there, I’ll tell you what I developed from this family workshop because those creating that picture with the family sculpts, I call those snapshots. When those snapshots and events happen and our world, those snapshots start to pop out and they start to get in the way. Me connecting with Timothy in front of me, I start to navigate life through these snapshots rather than through actual being with the person in front of me.

I know what you’re going to say because you did that the last three times this happened. I know what you’re about to do because you get upset every time somebody brings up a bicycle.

The body gets hijacked in those moments. That’s how I talk about it with people before we go into that. Those snapshots start to run the ship. We can see it clearly like a Vietnam or a vet vet coming back from war and they’re walking through a mall and a gunshot goes off in an arcade game and that beautiful individual goes down to the ground. We do that in these smaller ways that you’re talking about like when somebody’s not loving us the right way or whatever. Those snapshots start to run us and we’re no longer an embodied adult self, just to start with that. We can go into the worksheet and I’ll talk that a little more.

Pull up the worksheet here so that you can step us through.

This is what we were starting to talk about. Whatever that event might be, you’re at work and you get some criticism from your boss, spouse, and partner says something that doesn’t quite fit or a friend maybe isn’t as available for you. Whatever that event might be, we go into what I call those reactive thoughts. This is how we work as a being. We have thoughts and feelings, but when we’re operating from that reactive place of these snapshots and those that can be physical body sensations, the thoughts tend to be irrational, the feelings follow with irrational feelings, and all of a sudden, we are in that space of hot reaction. The reaction is that built-in mechanism that we have fight, flight, or freeze. We’re supposed to have it. It’s there for a reason, but we tend to go to fight, flight, or freeze in almost every event of our day sometimes.

When we’re in that space of fight, flight, or freeze, it’s meant for times of life or death. We go there quite frequently when we’re in that cortisol and adrenaline are pulsating through our system. It’s taxing our adrenals. It can cause depression, anxiety, and all of those things. We want to try to move out of reaction in our life so much. We’re thinkers and feelers, but we’re quite often in that space of reactivity. From that reactive place, that’s where we’re trying to get our needs met. Those needs are insatiable. It’s not the best way to go about getting the needs met in our life. It can be pretty harmful. I think the piece of there’s no rationality when we’re in reaction, we can be looking at people that we love and they’re in that space and they’re having a strong reaction. Reactions can be isolation, yelling, addictions, or self-harm.

When we're in that space of fight, flight, or freeze, it's meant for times of life or death, but we go there quite frequently. Share on X

It might look like we’re looking at the person but we’re looking at and reacting to the snapshot.

If we try to even talk with the person at that point, because they’re in that state of cortisol and adrenaline flooding, they can’t have a rational conversation about it because they’re disembodied and dysregulated at that point. A lot of talk therapy doesn’t go into that part. Most people come in because of this reactivity. They’ll talk about that. It’s getting the person to be able to get back in their body and not be hijacked by these hormones that are taking over. That’s not always easy to decipher because it could be very quiet. The person may not be this outward. The fighter is more loud.

I have several people in my caseload who when they get triggered seem serene and they are calm in their talking. Unless they get pushed to an even stronger internal reaction, if you saw a video of this, you’d say, “That’s one of the calmest people I’ve ever seen.” if you don’t know how to read the whole of these subtle energies you’re talking about, you think, “This person’s calmly, logically responding.”

“They’re doing okay.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. On the inside, they’re a mess.

Cortisol and adrenaline are still pumping because some people tend to go numb. They go into that freeze mode. We don’t have to get into that, but there’s the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic, but those people that tend to be like, “I’m more of a calmer reactor if you will. Internally, I may look fine on the outside because I’m the protector of the family, I’ve been used to carrying that load. I can get calm and quiet.” Internally, the cortisol and adrenaline are still pumping.

A lot of people that I deal with who go into that high-efficiency mode, they seem very calm and they handle crises beautifully. You want them on your team in a crisis and they pay for it 1 hour or 2 or 1 day or 2 later. When the crisis has passed, They start having all kinds of symptoms, inflammation in the body, weakness, loss of appetite, etc.

Maybe stomach issues and all sorts of those bodies that the body keeps the score Bessel van der Kolk. That’s such a beautiful example of when we’re maladaptive because I can take care of a lot of things because my message is, “Dale’s got to do it on her own.” That may look like, “She’s strong. She can take care of things she can handle,” which I did for many years and many of these addiction treatment centers I’ve worked for. My body was taking a beating. I had gallbladder issues. I had to have surgeries. When that had tipped, I felt like I had to do it all. That’s what I mean by when I’m in my upright I can handle things and I can help like you and assist.

On Your Mind | Dale Ryder | Ryder Method

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

Hide the reactions inside and emotions.

We can work with people. Readers, that doesn’t mean you don’t want to have to look at the reactions and maybe do some intervention at that point because like I said, I do more proactive work than reactive work. It is a little more difficult to do that. We have to back up this chart because the events aren’t going to change. We’re social beings. We’re here on this planet to experience being here. We’re going to have these events going on always.

Right underneath that we do have the needs. That to me is where the intervention needs to take place. It’s a little harder to do that. We can say, “I’m anxious. I need to do something to fix the anxiety. I’m feeling depressed. What can I do to get out of the depression?” Which I understand that for sure. We want to be able to be this more proactive part of ourselves so that we can be in that beautiful fingerprint. Not always, but to the best of our ability.

Biopsychosocial Spiritual Approach

How do you address those needs? Is that the other chart?

Yes. We can pop over there if there’s the bio-psychosocial spiritual approach. This is just me. I simplified this into three areas because it seems easier. Before there are these studies, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs was around a long time ago talking about our needs. I always share the study about the Rhesus monkey because it does speak to that. I don’t like animal studies, but they put the little Rhesus monkey. It has 94% similar DNA that we have. They put it in a cage. It had the basic physical needs. It had food and shelter and then they compared it to these other little monkeys that had each other. They had touch, downtime, playtime, purpose, and jobs to do and they had connections. To me, the phrase they coined from that study is failure to thrive. Even though the little monkey had the basics, it still was not healthy at all.

Withering away.

They added in the little mesh figure and put some fur on it in the textbooks. It’s a terrible picture. This little tiny monkey is clinging to this mesh figure. It started to get some of those emotional needs met, but it still didn’t quite have what these other little monkeys did. In our society, we tend to focus on whatever need is like screening us versus giving them all attention on a pretty regular basis. If the physical is not well, then we go there. If the emotions are flaring, we tend to go there. Our personal needs, which we can talk about tend to get left by the wayside.

The chart we’re looking at, the top line reads physical needs, including food, clothing, shelter, and touch. The next category is emotional needs, including love, fact, and validation. The last category is personal needs including spiritual life, nature, and art.

They all need to have pretty regular attention and physical needs. They are the food, clothing, and shelter that you think about, but it’s touch. In romantic relationships, that’s also sexual touch. It’s your surroundings. It’s where you live. With the pandemic that happened, we saw a lot of people having a difficult time because of their physical space, everyone was at home or they were isolated one way or the other. I think we’re still dealing with so much of that after the pandemic. It’s the space around you. It’s where you live.

I came from Prescott, Arizona, a small town. When I came here I told them if this job had been any closer to LA, I would not have been able to take it. That didn’t fit a physical need of mine to be able to get outside on a pretty regular basis. Sometimes I think we people often ask what’s a want versus a need. I believe we want to create the most desirable circumstance for our highest good. Your surroundings are all of those things. That’s physical.

We want to create the most desirable circumstance for our highest good. Share on X

Remembering that works for one person is going to be different for another. We may think, because I work with eating disorders too, our loved ones are not eating enough. What we need around food may not be what another person needs around food. One person’s needs around touch might not be what another person needs around touch. There will need to be also some communication with the people that we are closest to. Did you have any questions about that one?

How do you assess those? Do you have interview questions? Do you have scales or profiles that you use for assessing that?

I work with the person individually and in families because that can cause a lot of stress in families because you have five people in that family. I do some pretty in-depth talking to them about what’s important to them physically. Some people need to work out daily whereas other people want to be on the couch. It’s mostly getting them using this chart and having them add to it. Often revisiting them. For the reader, I would have a chart for yourself and keep adding to it as you go throughout your day when you notice like, “Oh,” especially if somebody has chronic pain, which I do. I have to get up and stand up. That’s a physical need. I would have people continue to add to it as they go.

Emotional needs, as we know in a way it’s harder to decipher. How I go about this one with people is that quite often when we lack it, it is when we notice that we need it, especially with emotional needs. If you are feeling disrespected or not loved or invalidated, it’s almost like those are the times when you can start to define your emotional needs a little better. Some people don’t know if they have a sense of belonging like the one here, I say respect. For some people that’s high on the list. For others, so not much. Working to get more in touch with their emotional needs. It’s a tricky one. We’re looking at mental health, it’s coming out everywhere. People are giving it more attention.

I go back to the pandemic. I think that gave us a chance to also tap into what our emotional needs are. Remember, emotions and feelings are a little different. Our feelings are like when we get angry or sad and using the emotions, you can also start to talk about and define what your emotional needs are. If you’re having an emotional flare, a feeling, a lot of times, it’s directly related to the emotional need. That one can be trickier for people. That’s another place. With families, this is a big piece, we often give others what we ourselves need rather than what they need. If we need a lot of validation, then we tend to give a lot of validation and that might feel like an overload to someone else.

We often give others what we ourselves need rather than what they need. Share on X

When you’re doing this with a family, you would help them map out and it’s akin to the five love languages that you let people know very specifically what they might do that would help another family member feel that their emotional needs are getting met, even if that’s not exactly what you would want to be given to you to meet your emotional needs.

It happens more often than it happens with couples and friendships. That’s a trickier part too of the wounded needs sometimes. In the emotional realm, that’s where we tend to fall more into that wounded part. I also help them tease that apart. If someone’s saying, “I need to be respected.” If I’m not respected and they get very activated, I can tell it’s like, “That’s probably more from a wounded. We work with that.”

This isn’t like other addictions like drugs. We don’t need those things, but we need emotion. We have emotional needs. We have to be able to learn to have a relationship with our emotional needs rather than, it’s a little different because to be loved, respected, and validated are some basic human needs. If they’re coming from the wound they’ll be insatiable and that person is driven to get that need met all the time almost.

The last category you have here is the personal needs of spiritual life, nature, and art. As you mentioned, often these are neglected because they’re not the bleeding artery. It’s not the screaming intent issue.

It can leave us in that space of failure to thrive a lot. If we don’t add those personal needs. Personal needs are, there’s anything else that sets us on fire for this life, that makes us feel whole and peaceful. It could be things that are exciting to us. I call a lot of that my spiritual time. That’s not to offend anyone with any religion anything. To me, it’s those moments that are different, the physical and the emotional.

Some of these can blend into the other need areas like one may meet several of the need areas, but personal needs are those things that give us energy to feel and to move into our life and not be in that flat space with our life. It’s nature. It’s getting outside. I call myself a spiritual geek. I love to study any spiritual text, art, music, dance, and movements.

One of the things that I direct people to in this area is anything that when you’re doing it, you lose track of time.

I like that. That’s perfect. It transcends time. If that’s being left out, think about that. We do tend to focus on our physical needs. I think we’re in more reaction to our emotional needs, and then like we were saying, the personal needs, it’s like, “I’ll get to them someday.” What I’ve learned over my years of doing this work is that we do need these all going on on a pretty regular basis to keep us in that beautiful upright fingerprint of who we are, that we can do what we came here to do. That’s how I look at it, the work.

On Your Mind | Dale Ryder | Ryder Method

Ryder Method: We need all of these regularly to keep us in that beautiful, upright fingerprint of who we are to do what we came here to do.


Finding Balance In All Areas To Resolve Trauma

How do you help people either individually or in the family session or format to step into getting all of these areas balanced and met? How do you help them resolve some of the trauma energy and move it out of the way so this natural flow of meeting these needs can arise?

Individually with the releasing of the trauma, those pieces. I do incorporate energy work and it’s a lot of doing this definition. I utilize Reiki. There are other forms of energy work that are more evidence-based. Reiki is coming up the ladder a little, but it’s not quite there yet. That’s where some EMDR work can help any movement things where we’re activating the right and left brain moving through those traumas, those can all be helpful. I do utilize Reiki work.

A lot of times too, it’s letting them share and getting underneath to what those wounded parts are doing on a daily basis then we together let them sit in that wounded part and it is talking to the part. It’s a little different than inner child work and not acknowledging that part for what it brought to the table. Some of that’s like the Richard Schwartz Internal Family Systems. Addressing that part, seeing it’s what it brought to the person, and then trying to incorporate that more.

Those are interventions. I do that with the family work too similar and exposing that everyone in the family has needs is almost mind-blowing when they start to acknowledge that and how do we work together as a family to get everybody’s needs met, working to get them out of the reactivity through that definition. It takes some time, but it works. I get letters even to this day with people thanking me and which not from my ego. I want to help it’s such a beautiful thing to hear from them.

It seems like if you can help multiple family members get clear about these three different categories of needs and specifically about what would help them satisfy them, leave them feeling gratified or purposeful in their life and the other family members can become aware of that and as you said, start to work as a team to help everyone have their needs met, that’s rather transformative.

If you think about it, if our needs are being met and we are more upright, that’s the proactive part and all that reactivity starts to settle. That’s the beauty of it. It doesn’t mean that things don’t flare here and there and conflict doesn’t arise. If we’re in that upright position, it’s how I talk about when my daughter was little. If I was getting enough sleep and I had eaten and had spent some time with my friends, spent out with my horse, I’m pretty good with her. She’s older now. She’s 25. At the time if I didn’t have those things, I was in a lot of reactivity and I was in my old snapshots. That’s where it is more proactive than reactive.

On Your Mind | Dale Ryder | Ryder Method

Ryder Method: If our needs are being met and we are more upright, that’s the proactive part. All that reactivity starts to settle.


Are there other modalities that you blend in with the work you do other than Reiki and some EMDR?

I don’t do EMDR myself, but my center does that. Mindfulness, I always speak to them about those things, but this is my core piece of work that I bring to the table at the different centers that I’ve been at. I would love to go back into doing a family workshop and that hasn’t happened in a couple of years, but those are the main pieces that I bring.

When you say family workshop, is that like family constellations work?

That would be the sculpting,

If you take a breath and get settled here and think we’ve talked for a while about what you do and how you work with people. Is there something that you want to go back and highlight or something that we haven’t even asked you about yet, about your work and what drives your passion for it that you want to bring out for us before we wrap up?

Surviving Irene: A Memoir

I finished my spiritual memoir and that’s going to be coming out. I guess that is where this drive comes from. The book is called Surviving Irene. It’s about overcoming my spiritually abusive grandmother. From that, the subtitle for it is Releasing The Need For The Wounded Child. That’s where I came to a lot of this work that I’m doing with people. I know personally that we don’t have to remain in those snapshots and a lot of this was birthed through my own process of walking out of the snapshot and still remaining around my grandmother and my family.

I know that it’s possible. I want to share that. I’ve lost a lot of people in my life and have had some experiences with them. That’s a different topic, but those are in the book. I have a strong in what I call a spiritual life, but it’s very different I think than what a traditional spiritual life looked like a long time ago for me. I’m super passionate about helping people get back to their fingerprints, which I call back home to myself.

The book is Surviving Irene. How long before that’s available?

I’m in the process with hybrid publishers. Hopefully, it’ll be soon. It’s also going to have a workbook and accompanying working journal that has a lot of these things that we talked about in it.

If people want to reach out to you, what’s the best way for them to connect?

My website is RyderMethod.com. My email is on there and my phone number.

Thank you so much for sharing this story and your method with us. I look forward to getting a copy of your memoir when it comes out.

It was my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.

Dale Ryder is a social worker who currently provides services at The New Beginnings Center, serving people with chronic pain, addiction, mental health challenges, and trauma. Her specialties include family programs and workshops, spirituality, equine programs, and experiential workshops. She provides Reiki sessions that include journey work, assisting in a holistic approach to trauma release. She’s passionate about the work she does and living in a supportive environment that feeds her spiritual, emotional, and personal needs.

The recovery field has given her an incredible opportunity to assist others and gain insight into her own personal growth while assisting families in generational healing. She works to assist others in reclaiming their authentic self through connecting with spiritual practices and accepting the vision of this path to wholeness. She’s currently in the process of publishing her spiritual journey as a memoir titled Surviving Irene. This will have a companion journal to support the work of others on a bigger scale.


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About Dale Ryder

On Your Mind | Dale Ryder | Ryder MethodDale Ryder currently provides services at The New Beginnings Center serving those dealing with chronic pain, addiction, mental health challenges, and trauma. Her specialties include family program and workshops, spirituality, equine program, and experiential workshops. She also provides Reiki sessions that include journey work assisting in a holistic approach to trauma release. She is passionate about the work she does and living in a supportive environment that feeds her spiritual, emotional, and personal needs. The recovery field has given her an incredible opportunity to assist others and gain insight into her own personal growth while assisting families in generational healing.
She works to assist others in reclaiming their authentic self through connecting with spiritual practices and accepting the vision of this path to wholeness. She is currently in the process of publishing her spiritual journey as a memoir, titled: Surviving Irene – with a companion journal to support this work for others on a bigger scale. Traditional treatment seems to approach wellness in a way that promotes individual responsibility, which is very important. These workshops and individual sessions take a deeper approach and assist participants in creating connection, community, and personal power. Spirituality, family work and relationships are at the core of peoples’ struggles. If she can assist in the healing of any of these concerns, she feels she is fulfilling her purpose.


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