The Centre for Healing Blog


Alexandra Corless Interviews Matt Kay about Embodied Processing

embodied processing embodiment fight or flight response healing melbourne nervous system trainings trauma informed trauma trigger traumarecovery Oct 23, 2023

In a recent interview conducted by Alexandra Corless, we had the privilege of exploring profound insights into the world of healing, trauma, and personal transformation with Matt Kay, one of the creators of Embodied Processing (EP). This enlightening conversation shed light on the powerful tools and insights that EP offers for individuals seeking profound healing and a better understanding of their inner selves.

  • Inspirational Authors:

    • Dr. Gabor Mate: Dr. Gabor Mate's work on the connection between trauma and adverse childhood experiences and their impact on addiction resonated with Matt.

    • Peter Levine: Matt found resonance in Peter Levine's books, particularly "In an Unspoken Voice" and "Waking the Tiger," which discuss trauma and its effects on the body.

    • Bessel van der Kolk: Bessel van der Kolk's book, "The Body Keeps the Score," is another influential work in the field of neuroscience and trauma.

    • Dr. Lawrence Heller: Dr. Lawrence Heller authored "Healing Developmental Trauma" and created the NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM).

    • Hamid Ali (A.H. Almaas): Hamid Ali, also known as A.H. Almaas, is an author in the realm of spiritual realization. His book "The Pearl Beyond Price" and other works have provided inspiration for Matt's approach to trauma therapy.

Matt Nettleton discusses the development of the Embodied Processing (EP) approach and mentions a book written by his partner, which is aimed at helping children develop somatic awareness.

  • Integration of Various Approaches: Embodied Processing (EP) is the result of integrating various understandings from different areas. It draws from the NARM approach to healing developmental trauma, Peter Levine's somatic experiencing, Gabor Matej's work, and elements from the spiritual dimension of trauma work. However, the core of EP is rooted in Matt and Ryan's own lived experiences and their journey of trial and error in healing.

  • Effectiveness of EP: The interviewer expresses amazement at the effectiveness of EP as a healing modality for clients. They appreciate the flow and ease of the process and highlight its stunning results.

  • Children's Book on Somatic Awareness: Matt's partner is in the process of writing a children's book with the theme of developing somatic awareness and body awareness for kids. The book is aimed at helping children connect with their bodies, learn to feel sensations, and process emotions within the body. The goal is to teach children how to reassociate with their felt sense and fully experience their bodies. The book includes basic exercises that teach kids how to tune into different parts of their bodies, such as feeling into their belly, holding tension in their heart, and connecting with their arms and legs. These exercises aim to help children develop a strong inner body awareness.

In this part of the interview, the discussion centers around the importance of teaching children to inhabit their bodies and how many adults have not learned this skill.

  • Importance of Teaching Kids to Inhabit Their Bodies: The interviewer and Matt Nettleton emphasize the significance of teaching children to be in tune with their bodies from a young age. Many adults have never learned to do this, and they often live in their minds, disconnected from their bodily sensations.

  • Children's Practice for Body Awareness: Matt's partner recognized the gap in her own life and developed a practice to help children come down, feel, and inhabit their bodies. The practice includes illustrated exercises and reminders to help kids connect with their bodies and their emotions. The goal is to plant seeds for them to be able to do it on their own as they grow up.

  • Challenges in Teaching Kids: Teaching kids to connect with their bodies can be challenging, but it involves introducing little practices and cues throughout the day to help them become more aware of their bodies and emotions. This approach contrasts with the way many adults were raised, where they were not encouraged to connect with their bodies.

  • Book Title and Author: The children's book is titled "Body Enchantment" and is authored by Tara Russell, who is Matt Nettleton's partner.

  • Resisting Healing: The interview touches on the resistance that some people have towards healing and facing their suppressed emotions. Matt mentions the importance of context and being cautious about imposing agendas on individuals when helping them navigate their emotional world.

Matt and Alexandra discuss the concept of people feeling under siege and resisting healing when they feel unsafe. They emphasize the importance of context and understanding the link between past trauma and its impact on various aspects of daily life.

  • Feeling Under Siege and Resistance: When individuals feel under siege or unsafe, they tend to resist and clamp down. This is a common human response to perceived threats, not limited to trauma. Context is crucial in understanding this resistance.

  • Importance of Context: Matt and Ryan have spent extensive time discussing trauma and its effects on daily life, relationships, financial situations, and more. They aim to create a map and context for people to connect the consequences in their daily lives to their unconscious trauma. Understanding this link is essential for motivating individuals to address their trauma.

  • Recognizing Consequences: When people can see the connection between their past experiences and the dysfunction in their current lives, they are more inclined to address their trauma. Once individuals realize the painful consequences of their unaddressed trauma and its impact on their lives, they are more likely to choose healing as a way forward.

  • Practitioner's Role: Practitioners working with individuals on their trauma need to create a safe environment and help clients stay within their window of tolerance. This involves gradually introducing them to their experiences and building resilience, rather than overwhelming them. It's about titrating the intensity of the therapeutic process to prevent overwhelming clients. Through this process, clients can develop resiliency to the emotional intensity of their experiences, becoming less afraid of their own emotional landscape.

Here are the unique aspects of Embodied Processing (EP) and what sets it apart from other somatic therapies. 

  • Spiritual Aspect: What sets Embodied Processing apart is the way it reconciles the human and spiritual dimensions of the human experience. EP emphasizes the importance of reconciling these dimensions to help individuals inhabit their human experience fully.

  • Not Focused on Fixing: EP's approach is distinct in that it does not aim to fix what is perceived as broken or diagnosed problems. Instead, the focus is on learning to meet and inhabit the human experience and grow in capacity to do so.

  • Orientation to Life: EP's orientation is not solely goal-oriented in the sense of trying to fix specific issues. It is more about developing intimacy with one's own experience, even with problems. This involves adopting a curious, explorative, and inquiring attitude toward one's own humanity.

  • Curious and Inquiring Attitude: EP encourages individuals to adopt a curious and inquiring attitude toward their experience. This approach leads to self-discovery and an ongoing deepening of intimacy with one's experience, allowing life to become a process of ceaseless discovery.

In this part of the interview, Matt Nettleton discusses the difference between dissociation and distancing, and then the conversation transitions to the topic of spirituality.

  • Dissociation vs. Distancing: Dissociation is an automatic, unconscious disconnect from one's experience. It often involves a sense of being out of control and helpless. On the other hand, distancing is a conscious choice to zoom out and look at one's sensations or experiences from a distance. It represents regaining a sense of control and agency over one's experience.

  • Importance of Spirituality: The discussion shifts to the topic of spirituality. Matt Nettleton shares the view that spirituality is a significant aspect of the human experience. Awakening to spirituality is important because it involves connecting with the broader dimensions of existence, reconciling the human and spiritual dimensions, and deepening one's understanding of the self and the world.

  • Regaining Control: Spirituality can be a way to regain control and ownership over one's experience. It helps individuals explore the deeper layers of their consciousness and connect with a sense of purpose and meaning.

Matt Kay shared his perspectives on trauma, the power of love, and his own journey of healing.

  • Evolving Beyond the Mind

    Matt Kay began by delving into the current state of human consciousness, which he described as being contracted, primarily rooted in cognitive processes. He highlighted the divisive nature of the mind, which often creates duality - such as "I versus me" and "me versus them." In his view, true evolution involves moving beyond the mind, not by discarding it, but by no longer filtering our reality through it. This transformation of consciousness can lead to a shared sense of unity with all living beings.

  • A Spiritual Awakening

    Matt suggested that human evolution is closely tied to a transformation of consciousness. He referred to this as a form of spiritual awakening, although he emphasized that the term "spiritual" is not obligatory. This awakening involves deeper explorations of our inner subjective reality, which subsequently influences our actions, relationships, and the way we engage with the world.

  • Processing Grief and Spirituality

    When it comes to addressing emotional issues, especially in the context of grief and loss, Matt Kay emphasized that the same principles apply. He urged that we treat the mind's symbols and emotional experiences as valid and symbolic, thus opening the door for inquiry, processing, and understanding of our somatic experiences.

  •  Love as a Healing Force

    A key highlight from the conversation was the transformative power of love. Matt explained that love should not be equated with weakness; instead, it represents presence, empathy, and attunement. In the context of healing, true love allows individuals to connect deeply with one another and themselves, creating a powerful space for growth and transformation.

  • The Importance of Boundaries

    While love is considered a potent force in healing, setting strong boundaries is equally crucial. Matt emphasized that setting boundaries doesn't mean disconnecting from love; it's about finding a balance between firmness and compassion. In many cases, love can be expressed through saying "no" to situations or behaviors that aren't aligned with truth.

  • Embracing One's Past

    Matt Kay shared his own journey of healing, which involved overcoming addiction and mental health issues. He expressed contentment and acceptance of his life's path, recognizing that every experience, both painful and healing, contributed to who he is today.

  • Trusting Your Inner Guidance

    In conclusion, Matt encouraged individuals to trust their inner guidance or "inner spark." He believes that it can serve as a guiding light in challenging times, and trusting it can lead to profound transformation and healing.


In a world often focused on cognitive processes and duality, Matt Kay's perspective offers a refreshing approach to healing, consciousness, and personal evolution. His insights underscore the importance of love, presence, and inner guidance in our journey of self-discovery and transformation.

We hope this blog post has provided valuable insights into the world of Embodied Processing and the wisdom shared by Matt Kay.


Peace & Blessing,
The Centre for Healing Team 


To dive deeper into Embodied Processing and explore resources and practitioners that can support your own transformative journey, visit The Centre for Healing.

Click Here to Take the Free Pre-Training for Embodied Processing

Click Here to Connect with Alexandra Corless