Our Body: When psychotherapists talk about “including the body”, it can mean different things. These 3 things are what I mean by it:
The necessary equipment.
Without an adequate bio-chemistry we cannot sustain good mood, normal levels of anxiety, concentration, deal with stress without it damaging us, and many functions we need for a good life. I am talking of hormones, the glands that produce them, their interactions amongst themselves and also with neurotransmitters, the substances from which they arise, vitamins and minerals and the ability of a person’s unique body to process and use these.
It is important also to understand our brain’s strengths and weaknesses and how to use the former and improve the latter. I am a good detective to pick up the clues that show what needs to be explored in these areas. I research who are the other medical practitioners who are knowledgable, practical and effective – and we form a team to arrive at a better understanding, find practical solutions, and be careful not to mistake the cause of a problem as much as possible.
We want to feel aliveness and energy and be as healthy as possible, and much of this starts, as well as ends, with how we use and care for our bodies.
The body as the vehicle to self-awareness and change:
Our body is where we feel our feelings, both the happy and pleasurable ones as well as the more troubling ones. We also get cues to our unconscious mind through subtle feelings in our body. Our bodies tense and hurt or relax and heal, depending on how we manage our emotions. Our posture, voice, rhythms can constrict us or free us. Learning how to focus on the wide palette of feelings and sensations is often the door to access our subconscious topography – and our inner wisdom. It is part of the process work I use to reach greater self-understanding, integration and self-love. All these are ways of working through our bodies. (There are other forms of body-work, of course, in which other practitioners specialize.)
Our relationship with Nature:
People also consult me when they sense that finding or strengthening their connection with Nature: their own and the natural world, holds a key to their well-being. I practice eco-therapy in natural, wild or garden settings. We are part of nature, yet in modern lifestyles, our bodies, emotions, aesthetic senses and spirit are too often cut off from nature much of the time. Many people “live in their heads”, or currently “live in their electronic gadgets”. For some people the disconnection from Nature is a source of distress, emptiness, feeling lost and lonely; some are aware of this and some are not consciously aware. For those interested I can explain more how I help people open blocked channels so as to reconnect with the nature that they are, and with the natural world – and use that connection to get deep intuitions about how to free things that are stuck in a person, heal from trauma, and tap that person’s inner wisdom to guide their future directions.
OUR THINKING AND EMOTIONS:
This is one of the main areas contemplated in traditional psychotherapy. It is also one of the main dimensions I work with, not separate from the others. Painful emotions can arise due to a wide variety of factors: heredity; illnesses and accidents (especially affecting the brain or endocrine system, or causing disability); early childhood experiences, later experiences, traumas; from lack of opportunites; relationships; obstacles that frustrate reaching our goals; losses; traits in our personality; how we are treated; ethical dilemmas; how we relate to the big issues of meaning, purpose, mortality, freedom and responsibility; or from incorrect assumptions and thinking, from confusion, from bad habits, a harsh inner critic, a spiritual crisis, problems of acculturation and transitions – and more. I keep in mind all the factors that you and I find relevant, as we move towards your growth and wellbeing.
I work with individuals, families, couples, groups and organizations. Skill building is a key component of my work. I contemplate both how the individuals are affecting the relationship and how the relationship is affecting the individuals: not just one side of the equation. The cultural dimension is very important – the larger culture as well as the specific family or organizational culture. Change is possible — not only in how we adapt to the surrounding culture — but in the cultural milieu itself, when we understand it.
SPIRITUAL, ETHICAL, CREATIVITY/CAREER, AND ECO-THERAPY:
Some people consult me because their lives feels stagnant, the beliefs they held have crashed for them, they are confused about how to live a satisfying and meaningful life; or because their creativity feels blocked, insecurities are holding them back, career issues are distressing them; or because they face ethical dilemmas they don’t know how to resolve. In the resources section you will find a section on Integrity Therapy.