What is Integrative Body Psychotherapy?
This is treating the whole person, their body, mind and spirit with a variety of therapies that will assist the person in creating or recovering optimal health and well –being. Each session is tailored for the individual depending upon whether the person needs more physical restoration due to a history of injury, accidents or emotional support for early childhood traumas, abuse and neglect. Or whether the person has more recently experienced life challenging events that have destabilized their health, disrupted their emotional stability, and deregulated their nervous systems.
As a Health Psychologist my purpose is:
- To find the core issue that is problematic for the person.
- To explore their hopes or goals for change or improvement.
- To explore the connection between body symptoms and emotional pain or suffering.
- To discover what are a person’s strengths and needs.
- To co-create a treatment plan that facilitates a process of healing old wounds and learning new life skills to navigate the change making process.
- Family or relational therapy
- Unresolved grief and loss
- Stress related events such as job change, conflicting family dynamics, or relationship challenges.
- Unfulfilled life dreams
- Distressing and incomplete childhood issues that influence present relationships.
Integrative body therapies include:
An osteopathic therapy that focuses on rebalancing the central nervous system. It’s especially helpful for regulating and calming any traumatic experiences in the body. By creating a meditative state, it allows the therapist to work deeply into the core of the person’s structure. This is a gentle hands- on therapy that seeks to release body- wide tension and strain patterns in muscles, joints and organs as well as within the fluid systems of the body. At times the therapist may dialogue with the person about their health history or emotions and explore symptoms on many levels. Encouraging the body wisdom of the client to participate in new awareness and recovery.
An osteopathic therapy known as “counterstain”. Positional release is similar to yoga or feldenkrais. The therapist actively moves the client’s body into positions of ease so that muscles that are in strain patterns or spasms can gently unwind. This encourages oxygen, energy and nutrition to return to the muscle cell body. The therapist locates the key areas of pain in the body, following the problem to its source. The person often experiences a deep relaxation and sense of relief as the restricting patterns change and unravel; it is a graceful and powerful way to relieve the history of pain in their body.
To complete a session, a gentle and deeply integrated style of massage therapy will often be used to soothe and release any residual tension left in the body. The amount of massage used will depend on the person’s needs and body structure. This may include deep muscle therapy, myofascial release, acupressure/shiatsu to support the client’s inner work and rebalance their whole body mind to create an optimal level of relaxed holistic well-being.
Guided imagery and dialogue
During a session, it is often important to explore tissue memory and the history of the body. Dialogue and imagery allows the client to enter a light trance state of relaxation to access the body’s cellular memory. The body remembers what the mind forgets and in this way significant events may hold the key to the reparative powers of the body. Therapist and client co-create to discover what the person most needs on their healing journey.
During a session, a person may experience any combination of the therapies described. Finding each person’s learning style is critical to creating a healthy, therapeutic relationship.