Do you feel like you have lost touch with joy and meaning in life? Like the life you long for is somehow out of reach?
Are racing thoughts or overwhelming emotions taking control of your life?
Are you wanting to move on from the past, but you don't know how?
Are you experiencing chronic illness, pain or symptoms that you feel might be connected to stress, emotions, or trauma?
Are you ready to start living life from a more authentic and empowered place?
If you answered "Yes" to any of these questions, I am here to support you with a method of counseling that gets you out of your head, goes beyond just talking, and offers lasting transformation from the inside-out.
What is Body Psychotherapy?
Body Psychotherapy is a holistic approach to counseling that is grounded in neuroscience and recognizes the inseparable nature of body, mind and spirit. The method of somatic therapy that most informs my work is called Hakomi.
Hakomi is often described as "guided self-study in mindfulness." Developed by Ron Kurtz, the word Hakomi is a Hopi word that translates to "How do I stand in relation to these many realms?" During Hakomi sessions, you will be guided to notice what is happening in the present moment in your body, mind, and emotions. Sensations and emotions are given space to be felt. We will take time to ask what your body knows, trusting that your body carries information that can connect you to a deeper level of truth. Some of the most powerful opportunities for growth and change are when we experience something rather than merely talking about it.
Your body holds your stories, your beliefs about yourself and the world, as well as your deeper wisdom and guidance. Early in life we form a map of how life works, who we are, and what we believe is possible. Some examples of these beliefs might be, "I have to work hard to receive love," "I am not free to be myself," "I have to do it on my own," or "I am not safe here." These beliefs are largely operating beneath the surface of our awareness, yet they can have a powerful influence on how we experience every moment of life. Unconscious beliefs can manifest in the body as tension, pain or chronic illness. Hakomi can be a useful method of listening to the body to discover what messages or beliefs might be underlying physical symptoms. With new awareness comes the ability to change old habits and patterns that are no longer working for you. New possibilities will be introduced, creating new neural pathways in your brain and changes in your body.
I will help you to go slowly, at a pace that is comfortable and safe for you. I will help you to learn tools to become more embodied, to find experiences of safety and grounding in your body. Over time, you will come to a place of greater stability and ease, physically and emotionally.
Some areas we might explore:
- Chronic Illness and Pain
- Childhood memories
- Intense Emotions
- Physical symptoms
- Self-esteem, self-talk
- Eating disorders
- Life transitions
- Body image
My approach to therapy is gentle and compassionate, yet direct and insightful, and each session can bring lasting and powerful insight and results. I understand how important it is to find a therapist who is a good fit. If you are curious if my approach to counseling is right for you, contact me today to schedule a free 30 minute consultation.
Some questions you might have...
How does body psychotherapy differ from standard talk therapy?
Body psychotherapy works very directly with nonverbal experience and does not spend a lot of time in conversation and analyzing. Instead of staying in the thinking mind or trying to figure things out, you will be guided to pay attention to your inner experience. We will take time to ask what your body knows, trusting that your body carries information that can connect you to a deeper level of awareness. Body psychotherapy is experiential and experimental. Some of the most powerful opportunities for growth and change are when we experience something rather than merely talking about it. In fact, we can only access neural patterns associated with our core material by turning our awareness to our immediate, felt experience. I will continually suggest small experiments designed to teach us more about how you experience your life or to encourage you to try new things.
What is the role of touch in body psychotherapy?
Working with the body can include careful and deliberate use of touch, such as offering comfort during times of intense emotion or grief. Specific touch can be used as an experiment to study automatic habits and reactions that are relevant to your presenting issues. If it doesn't feel safe to you we don't have to use it. I will always ask permission before touching you and will keep asking if the contact feels appropriate and helpful.
Can body psychotherapy be helpful for managing chronic pain and illness?
Chronic pain and illness can affect every part of your life. You may feel that your body has betrayed you, or that you do not know how to fight the illness and maintain a loving relationship with your body. You may also be struggling with feelings of anxiety, depression, and anger, which can cause the pain to feel worse. Body psychotherapy can help you to bring mindful presence to your body, which can be a very effective way to cope with the pain. I can help you to learn practices such as mindfulness meditation, deep breathing, progressive relaxation, and healing imagery, which have been shown to be beneficial for managing pain. Bringing mindfulness to the body can help you to recognize the difference between the physical sensations and the emotional reaction to the sensations. Body psychotherapy sessions can help you to connect with your inner healing resources of strength and self-love, so that your body becomes your friend, not your enemy. Listening to your body can help you to make clear choices about treatment or lifestyle changes that are more supportive to your well-being.
Can body psychotherapy be helpful for healing trauma/ PTSD?
If a traumatic incident from the past is reliving itself over and over again in your thoughts, emotions and physical sensations, you may be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Trauma is a biological process of the nervous system; we cannot just talk ourselves out of experiencing the effects of trauma. Because body psychotherapy works directly with the sensations and nervous system responses, it can be extremely helpful for resolving trauma. I will help you to go slowly, at a pace that is comfortable and safe for you. I will help you to learn tools to become more embodied, to find experiences of safety and grounding in your body. By allowing sensations to be experienced only a little at a time, they will move through the body and integrate. Over time, you will come to a place of greater stability and ease, physically and emotionally.
How does change and healing happen in body psychotherapy sessions?
Healing happens when we integrate parts of ourselves that have been ignored or disowned. It is impossible to change our thoughts, emotions and behaviors until we are aware of what these are; until they are brought into consciousness, held with compassion and gentleness. By slowing down and staying with present-moment experience of body, mind, emotions and memory, we can integrate old parts of ourselves into a new place of consciousness. It is like taking apart the strands of a tapestry with care, to see how it was woven together to form the images of our life. From there we can choose to weave new strands in; new beliefs, new behaviors, new awareness of who we are. Through the process of integration we become more in touch with our innate joy, energy and passion for life, with more presence for ourselves and others in relationship.
Is therapy a long-term investment? Do I need to come every week?
Sometimes people receive benefit from just a few sessions, while others need support for several months or years to help them sort through and transform patterns of mind and body that have been present for many years. Therapy is a relationship that takes time to deepen, and having a regular time that we work together weekly or bi-weekly helps establish a container of safety so that you can make lasting changes. It is my intention that each and every session is meaningful and potent, providing you with insights and tools that transform your everyday life. Working with a therapist is an investment in you, and you are worth investing in! Therapy is an investment in your joy, your fulfillment, your inner growth and healing, and in helping you become the best version of "YOU" that you really are.
Body Psychotherapy Rates
My fee is $100 for one hour. Some sliding scale slots available by request. I do not accept insurance at this time. I offer a free 30 minute consultation where we can meet to see if there is a good fit between us.