Therapeutic interventions for anxiety, depression, anger management, mood disorders and the whole gamut of DSM 5 disorders, in essence, should be multifaceted. Since the human being is a complex process, psychotherapy is enjoined upon a deep inquiry into our fight and flight responses, our childhood history, our subconscious minds, our lifestyles, our diets, our social relationships, our dreams, our movement patterns and our energy levels. In short, to work with anxiety and depression or any DSM 5 disorder effectively, the therapist should take a holistic approach that engages the subtle and gross aspects of the self. So where would one start in this jungle?
The body. The body is what holds the various strands of our life experience together. Working any psychological issue demands a deep delving into the mystery of the body. Since the body is the subconscious and storehouse of repressed memories, thoughts, emotions and experiences. The body is pregnant with implicit meaning. Life literally inscribes and imprints itself on our bodies through our posture, our gestures, the tone of our voice, the quality of our eye contact and the grip of our handshake.
The body is the temple of our consciousness, the ground of our experience and the barometer of our felt sense. We know ourselves and the world through our bodies. We experience pleasure and pain through our bodies. Since its inception, somatic psychotherapy has emphasised the import of the body mind connection. Today we are reaching even more subtler understandings of the interconnected nature of the psyche soma in the world of psychotherapy, where Cognitive Behaviour therapy and other talk therapies are acknowledged to not be as effective as body oriented modalities. Ground breaking discoveries in contemporary medical research regarding the enteric nervous system, the gut -brain connection, polyvagal theory and psychoneuroimmunology have underscored that we have more information coming from the body to the brain then from the brain to the body. Bearing this in mind, any psychotherapeutic modality that does not take the body into account is limited in its efficaciousness.
I teach all my clients how to settle, ground, feel and reconnect with their bodies and to bring psychological awareness to their muscles. Somatic awareness in combination with Dialectical Behaviour and Cognitive Behavioural techniques along with insights from Existential, Psychodynamic and Transpersonal psychology influence my therapeutic repertoire. Ultimately, I believe that psychotherapy in itself is an art form at the end of the day and is not a one trick pony phenomenon. Different individuals have different needs as one size does not fit all. Having said that, I have found, in keeping with current understandings of the body-mind, that for most clients, the first place to begin is by engaging the physiology of our bodies so as to facilitate the unleashing of the power of the unconscious. Working with the body is a powerful phenomenon that facilities the client in their own healing process. Ultimately, when clients can begin to feel their bodies more they get more insight into their histories and experiences and in turn improve their cognitive, behavioural and relational outcomes.