Moving beyond the standard talk-therapy approach
Do you feel frustrated by anxiety, depression, or trauma symptoms that talk therapy and medication have failed to improve long-term?
Would you like to spend less energy coping with negative feelings like shame, fear, or resentment so you can focus on values instead?
Are you suffering from a physical health condition that you know would benefit from attention to emotional factors?
Are you stable in addiction recovery, but looking for an addiction-informed therapist to help you with trauma history or other issues?
The most commonly available mental health treatment approaches address mind and body separately, reflecting the design of an outdated healthcare model rather than up-to-date medical research and trauma neuroscience. This lack of integration can keep you stuck in a disempowered perspective on health and healing. Somatic therapy allows deeper, more efficient healing by engaging the limbic system, which links physiological responses to memories and emotions.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy and Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT Tapping, are two experientially different, but similar mind-body approaches, each with particular advantages depending on your processing style. EMDR isn't typically promoted as a somatic therapy approach, but by including attention to body sensations, it functions as one.
You’re not alone if you hoped for more from counseling and medication
Talk therapy is helpful for a wide range of people in a wide range of situations. However, you may be one of the many for whom prolonged talk therapy has become redundant or otherwise inadequate for a deep-seated issue. Most problematic of all, when it comes to trauma, just talking about memories can make you feel even worse.
Also, while many people benefit from medication use, you may have had a negative experience such as emotional blunting (a numb feeling), tachyphylaxis (a diminished response over time), discontinuation syndrome (symptoms such as headaches or electric shock sensations when trying to stop the medication), or iatrogenic harm (new health problems caused by medical treatment).
If any of the above experiences resonate with you, somatic therapy is a more direct, comprehensive path to addressing anxiety, depression, acute or complex post-traumatic stress symptoms, and other issues--supporting both your mental and physical health.
Somatic therapy can improve painful feelings, false beliefs, and biological symptoms
Counseling or talk therapy primarily helps people learn to adapt to psychological symptoms (e.g., despair, loneliness, and fear), while medication primarily manages biological symptoms (e.g., panic, insomnia, and fatigue). In theory, the combination of these separate, but complementary treatments is sufficient to resolve a mental health issue, and it does usually help. However, when it comes to addressing the complexity of PTSD or understanding the deeper roots of a pervasive issue like shame or fear, even this dual approach can be limited. Forms of cognitive or ''top down'' therapy approaches engage only the cerebral cortex (the conscious part of the brain) to reason about thoughts, feelings, and memories.
Methods that incorporate somatic awareness, however--such as EMDR and EFT Tapping--access the limbic system, which connects feelings, memories and biochemistry at a subconscious level throughout the body. When these elements are accessed as a system rather than in parts, recalibration occurs more naturally and efficiently. Somatic therapies present the opportunity for biology, emotion, and memory perception to shift in concert, a process which can desensitize painful feelings, reframe negative beliefs, and even decrease physical symptoms. This is known as a ''bottom-up,'' approach, or use of attention to body sensations as a bridge into the original trauma or wounding pattern. You can read more about the reason somatic awareness matters is impactful here.
Concerns you may have about a new type of therapy
I’ve invested a lot into mental health treatment before. Is this worth my time and money?
You may feel skeptical due to limited outcomes in the past, especially if you’re juggling multiple demands on your time. EMDR and EFT Tapping are typically high-impact and efficient. Although multiple sessions create greater, more lasting improvement, clients commonly report feeling calmer, lighter, or otherwise ''different'' after the first one.
I don’t know if I’m ready to face painful things again when therapy didn’t help much before.
You may doubt your ability to handle the intensity of painful memories and feelings. EMDR in particular does require willingness to be present with those initially, and I always begin with one or more prepatory sessions to discuss a client's readiness and coping skills. However, these methods create an opportunity for actual change in each session, making it unlikely you'll rehash the pain for nothing.
Supporting you in deep change is a privilege
There’s a vast range of therapist backgrounds, styles, and strengths, all suited to help people in different ways. Three major forces influenced me to become a practitioner focused on the mind-body connection.
The first was my own journey navigating anxiety and depression as a years ago, which led me to compare conventional and alternative treatment methods. The next milestone was facing the limitations of ''top-down'' approaches for trauma and anxiety as a therapist, seeking training in trauma therapies to become more effective, and finding that somatic awareness was the common key element. The final factor has been the experience of actually using these methods to help people, which feels very different from talking about coping skills. In meeting people at the depth of their pain and catharsis, there is a sacred element of witnessing, a place of aliveness that transforms the work from job to service.
I would be honored to hear your story and facilitate your change.