I combine any and all of the therapies presented below. These body-centered therapies are designed explicitly to deal with stress and trauma in unique, safe, and transformational ways. My expertise is based on becoming finely attuned to you, my client. This attunement ensures rapport and safety, allowing you to experience optimal healing and transformation.
SE is a natural, body-centered psycho-physiological approach to resolve and heal trauma. It goes beyond traditional “talk therapy.” It works with the body’s innate ability to heal itself in a gentle and natural way. Its primary focus is the “felt sense.” It is designed to prevent retraumatization of the client.
The clinician helps the client to find resources, either external or internal, in order to support reprocessing and discharging the trauma and related symptomatology. Once focused on the resources, the client practices identifying sensations in their body associated with good feelings. Next, the client focuses on their stress or trauma, while being asked what they are feeling in their body and what images, feelings, and behaviors they associate with that sensation or experience.
Clients learn how to assess if they are in a highly aroused state vs. a more resourced and safe state. In addressing a traumatic or stressful event, the client is guided to stay with the body-sensation until it can be safely discharged and released from the body. When these energies get discharged from the body, clients often experience a reduction or complete disappearance of their previous symptoms.
This is a comprehensive integrative psychotherapy approach utilizing psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, experiential and body-centered therapies. This approach looks at past experiences that may be contributing to present pathologies. Then the focus is on the ‘target” of these pathologies. The client is also guided to developing resources and skills for support in future situations.
One of the main protocols used is “dual stimulation”. This is done by using bilateral eye movements, sounds, or tapping with specific timed sets 20–30 seconds or more depending on the client’s needs. The client is also asked to just notice what happens such as sensations, images, memories, or emotions. This is repeated numerous times during the session. Once the client reports no distress related to the targeted memory, then the client is asked to think of the positive resource stated at the beginning of the session. Sometimes a new one will have evolved.
BSP works with the brain and the body. Its developer, Dr. Grand, theorizes that “BSP taps into and harnesses this brain/body self-scanning to locate, process (adjust) and release focused areas (systems) that are in a maladaptive homeostasis (frozen in primitive survival modes).”
The “brainspot” is the eye position that is related to a traumatic or stressful event that is held in the “limbic brain.” The brain scans the body and itself 24 hours a day. The eye position or “spot” is found by the clinician and/or the clinician and client observing reflective responses or activation when the clinician moves a pointer slowly in different directions to find the most charged spot related to a traumatic event. Once the charged spot is identified, the client stays focused on that spot until the client processes through the trauma.
BSP can also be used to access internal resources to support more activated or charged states. In conjunction with finding the brainspot, the clinician may also use bilateral sounds, through headphones, which activates both hemispheres of the brain. Holding the “brainspot” and simultaneous awareness of the felt sense can create core level healing from many issues and/or traumas. To me, Brainspotting utilizes the best of EMDR and SE and adds another distinct technique.
CBT is a general term for several therapeutic techniques that have similarities. CBT is based on the idea that how we think can cause our feelings and behaviors. Our feelings and behaviors are not the product of external things related to situations, people, and or events. Even if a situation does not change, we can still change how we think about things.
The premise in CBT therapies is we have the power to change how we feel by how we think about something. In CBT therapy, I discover what your goals are in your life and then help you meet those goals. We become upset because situations are not what we have assumed or hoped, but in reality, they are a product of how we think. Once we gain awareness and understanding by getting additional information, then we can change our thinking to be more aligned with the validity of the situation.
This is another form of therapy that is not just “talk therapy.” In this therapy we act out our problems or issues, to help us explore and discover new and different options to a specific issue. This can be between parts of ourselves or situations with other people who are in conflict over an issue and the need for clarity, such as whether or not to break up a relationship. It can include dialogue with these parts or with another person. One style is to have the client move back and forth between two chairs, playing the different parts of themselves or playing different people. There are hundreds of creative options in Gestalt.
Breathwork is used to help ground and relax clients. When we are in a highly aroused state due to a stressful or traumatic event, our breathing can be shallow and quick. Learning how to breathe deeply into the diaphragm and stomach can help reduce stress and decrease traumatic or stressful symptoms. Chemicals such as cortisol and adrenaline get secreted into the system under these situations. They help us get ready for fight or flight. This is necessary for moderation; however, many people are stuck in this state. Constant flooding to the system of these chemicals can cause many other physical symptoms and disease if not modulated.
Psychodrama has elements of theatre. With psychological uses, it is usually used with a group. Each person in the group plays a role in the group. The focus is usually on one person, known as the protagonist. By interacting with others in the group, the protagonist is helped to identify and create new options and/or restructuring of old behaviors and mindsets. It also helps those involved to explore their internal conflicts, emotions, issues, concerns, dreams and aspirations, and interactions with others. An example is a protagonist working on family of origin issues, with each participant playing the role of a family member.