The Efficacy of Somatic Psychotherapy
Our physical, mental and spiritual dimensions are all parts of the complex, interactive systems of ourselves. The work I offer shifts away from the cultural paradigm of the separation of body, mind and spirit and into a holistic approach that recognizes the dynamically interactive nature of these systems. Transformation grows out of physical, psychological and spiritual awareness. Our bodies are not only a great resource that is generally overlooked by traditional therapies; our bodies are also a primary vehicle for the therapeutic process because psychological and physical aspects of ourselves are constantly informing one another. Major therapeutic tools we use are awareness, presence, and recognition and acceptance of what is actually happening in the moment. To truly use these tools means to live in the present moment in the amazing vehicle and teacher, the body.
- It is the felt sense “Ah ha!” moments that really bring change and allow you to be more fully you.
- I teach you from the very first session how to have the Ah Ha!
You take with you what you’ve learned so you can be more fully yourself between sessions and build on it.
- Somatic psychotherapy is based on current neuroscience, decades of research, the lenses of a number of approaches, and age-old wisdom practices.
- Somatic psychotherapy offers you support for change with dignity, efficacy, curiosity, kindness and evidence-based research. It is practical, creative, and engages your full human experience.
Neuroscience supports somatic psychotherapy, and has proven over the past several decades that:
- In order for people to change they have to have a felt sense of safety in their body and a felt sense of nourishing, expanded beliefs about the self.
- No way around this, can’t intellectually know it, got to have the Ah Ha! Somatic psychotherapy teaches you how to have the Ah Ha! in each session.
- The use of somatic psychotherapy brings the whole brain online and helps the different parts communicate with one another. This engenders healing.
- Mindfulness is a key component of somatic psychotherapy.
- Mindfulness is a kind, curious, welcoming attitude of awareness towards whatever our experience is, without filtering out or censoring anything. When you learn not to filter, your attitude relaxes and your body relaxes, even in the face of complex feelings, and answers become available to you that you could never arrive at by problem solving or analyzing.
- Awareness is a whole-brain, whole-body function.
- Change happens when we use awareness.
- When you properly use awareness (which I will teach you) you actually utilize your brain circuitry differently and your organs begin to tone down producing anxiety chemicals and instead begin to release the feel-good ones. Awareness helps you be your own pharmacist!
- Working somatically and with mindfulness is about paying attention and being present with sensations, posture, physical patterning, movements, energy, etc. in the body. The approaches I offer cultivate awareness of our physical system. Awareness of and resourcing in the body efficiently support transformation: positive beliefs can be embodied in our very structure, posture and felt sense; and vice versa, learning to be grounded in a positive felt sense in our bodies helps lead to supportive attitudes and resources.
One of the dimensions of working working somatically—working with the body—includes (but is not limited to) the use of touch. There are a number of schools that recognize and work with the mind-body interface through touch.
I can offer you touch while you are:
- Through tablework
The specific methods of body-centered work in which I’ve been trained and which are part of the palette of psychotherapy I offer include the following. They all make use of body awareness in general and offer touch as one dimension of the work:
- The Hakomi Method
- Sensorimotor Psychotherapy for resolving trauma (If you've heard of SE or Somatic Experiencing, this is essentially the same)
- Bill Bowen's Psycho-Physical Therapy and Somatic Resourcing
- Biodynamic Cranial Sacral Work
- Unwinding The Belly
- The McKay Method
- The Tamura Method
- Continuum Movement Practice
- Shamanic and Energy Work Perspectives, including Four Winds
The type of touch all of these modalities use is very respectful. It is only used at specific times during therapy to either support the body and/or to facilitate a deepening of experience. It is not massage nor does it involve any removal of clothing. It is always done only with your permission and cooperation. If you are interested, we can incorporate these particular forms of touch into your therapy. It is, however, an option, and your therapy can proceed effectively without it.
Somatic psychotherapy helps you . . .
. . . to exchange old limiting habits for new nourishing and enlivening habits in ways that you can keep and build on so that you are more easily able to:
- Let go of old patterns and habits
- Be fully alive
- Love yourself
- Be more calm and resilient
- Develop your emotional intelligence
- Creatively problem solve
- Diminish overwhelming reactions (anger, shut down, hurt, self reproach); help you return to yourself when you have become reactive; and help you learn to live from healthy, engaged responses instead of overwhelmed reactions
- Let go of “gerbil wheel” thinking, being amped, acting impulsively
- Switch out of fogginess, sluggishness, and being offline
- Remember who you are truly are
- Feel more: Joy, Love, Closeness, Empowerment, Clarity, Openness, Vulnerability, Flexibility, Adaptability, Freedom, Aliveness!
- Enjoy life!
If you’re currently burning out using the “Just Do It” approach...
I'll help you use your whole brain, your whole mind, and your whole body to become more fully alive!
The Body says:
I am a fiesta.
Try this easy tip to press your reset button at work!
Say you've been slumped over working on your computer for several hours. Did you know that the brain reads posture like opening a software program!
When you are slumped or hunched over, you literally can’t get a full breath: your lungs can’t fully expand because your ribs are contracted. The result is that blood flow—and thus the amount of oxygen delivered to your brain—is noticeably less. Here comes the software program part:
Because there is less blood delivered to the brain, and thus less oxygen to the brain, the brain reads "less oxygen" as "threat." The brain doesn’t know you are just sitting too long writing a report. Instead, it reads the less oxygen as threat and signals your organs to produce hormones that deal with threat, and you start to feel a vague background sense of unease.
In order to wash the stress hormones out of your system and bring a brighter view of life back online try the following. You can do this seated at your desk:
- Stretch your arms up and arch your back
- Yawn—a big one—show your fillings to the computer screen!
- Slowly breathe in your nose and out your mouth three times. An audible sigh on the out breath is even better!
- Lengthen yourself by "finding your sits bones”— wiggle your sits bones a few times, then let your spine rise from your pelvis, and sense your head floating naturally on top of your spine. It’s fine to use the back of the chair for light support. Don’t “sit up straight” as that is effortful. Instead find your sits bones and your body will naturally find peace with gravity.
- Finally, visualize something beautiful or remember a kind act you witnessed. Then "take the elevator down" into your chest and let the felt sense of this fill you for a moment. This is a quick reset button that actually gets your brain and body producing harmony-hormones instead of stress-hormones. Find out more about this particular step from the Heart-Math folks.
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