Jennifer Patterson is a grief worker who uses plants, breath, and words to explore survivorhood, body(ies) and healing. A queer and trans affirming and centering, trauma-experienced herbalist and breathwork facilitator, Jennifer offers sliding scale care as a practitioner through her private practice Corpus Ritual and is a member of The Breathe Network. A graduate of Goddard College’s MA program, Jennifer is finishing a book project focused on translating embodied traumatic experience through somatic practices and critical and creative nonfiction.
We talked to Jennifer about growing up in a family of gardeners and how she got into herbalism, using herbs as a tool for healing. “I think herbalism is one of many tools to support our bodies….working with plants is an ongoing educational experience.” As a trauma survivor, Jennifer has used herbs and breathwork as a way to reconnect to her body and facilitate the healing process with others. We talk about Jennifer’s breathwork practices and what people might experience during the breathwork sessions, from expanding their state of awareness to disintegrating creative blocks and traumatic material.
Though Jennifer first became aware of Goddard through the MFA in Creative Writing program, she didn’t attend until later and straddled Transformative Language Arts and Embodiment Studies in the MA for Individualized Studies program. Like many of us who went through the same program, Jennifer discovered a lot about herself, through integrating critical writing, somatic practices, research and creative nonfiction about trauma, “Between the writing, and being at Goddard, and the psychedelic work I was doing, it shot me out far.”
During and after Goddard Jennifer created and ran writing workshops in a number of different spaces focused on healing and trauma. She finds value in writing from within the trauma, rather than the dominant way people think of writing about trauma, “A lot of what I heard in workshops was this idea of wanting people to be beyond the experience of trauma in order to write about it from a clearer head. We’re counting on trauma being a single moment in time, where for a lot of people trauma is ongoing. Like racial violence, transphobia, homophobia, all of these things are ongoing forms of trauma and violence, and when are we going to be outside of that?”
We’re looking forward to having Jennifer back when she publishes her next book! In the meantime, please check out Jennifer’s amazing work:
Corpus Ritual: https://corpusritual.com/
Give Less Shits tincture: https://corpusritual.com/shop/give-less-shits-elixir
Virtual Breathwork Groups: https://corpusritual.com/virtual-breathwork-groups
Queering Sexual Violence Anthology: https://bookshop.org/books/queering-sexual-violence-radical-voices-from-within-the-anti-violencemovement-9781626012738/9781626012738
The Breathe Network: http://www.thebreathenetwork.org/
Terra Sylva: https://terrasylvaschool.com/
Bhanu Kapil: https://www.goddard.edu/people/bhanu-kapil/
Louise DeSalvo, Writing as a Way of Healing: https://bookshop.org/books/writing-as-a-way-of-healing-how-telling-our-stories-transforms-our-lives/9780807072431
Welcome Hill Studios: http://welcomehillstudios.org/