Descartes said “I think therefore I am” and now we’re enslaved by our thinking. Anxiety and depression, both symptoms of excessive thinking and rumination are so prevalent that probably 7 out of 10 people I see admit to experiencing anxiety and or depression at some point.
The problem with Descartes’ statement is that our wisdom and intelligence arise from more of us than the thoughts cycling endlessly around our mind. It arises from the whole body-mind system. Our gut, heart, lungs and other organs send so many signals to our brain that it’s entrenched in our language – “I have a gut feeling” and “I feel it in my bones”. But we are largely disconnected from our body and its’ signals. We don’t notice the chronic tension in our muscles until they scream at us so loudly we finally relent and book a massage. When we get there, the massage therapist has to tell us to let go of a muscle we had no idea we were holding. That’s if we can even let go of it. In my experience, most people struggle, even after we work on it a little. It’s become part of the way we carry ourselves in the world.
So, Embodied Sessions begin with the premise that we need to open up to the whole body-mind system to realise ourselves more fully. That can mean different things for different people.
Embodiment practices are useful. Practices that ground us in an awareness of being in our bodies. Massage is a form of embodiment for many. When we get up off the table we somehow feel more connected and centred, more present. From that place we are often less anxious and worried, and able to make more balanced decisions. Other embodiment practices during a session can include gentle movement with awareness, grounding work, and other practices that you can learn and use when you’re in your every day life.
Mindfulness helps some people, especially when we practice it! We draw on the part of mindfulness that is present centred awareness. It starts with awareness of how we are in our bodies, of what is going through our minds, of the ebb and flow of our energy and mood. Once we are aware we have choice and can start to build pathways to other outcomes. My clients often say they struggle with mindfulness. That they can’t empty their mind. But being mindful is more about being aware than it is about thinking nothing.
Working with the breath is often useful. The breath is a direct path to the vagus nerve, which can override the fight or flight response. When we are triggered into fight or flight we can feel panic and terror, or over the top anger, or check out of our bodies completely. Drinking regularly and/or over-eating can often be symptoms of needing to buffer ourselves from emotions that overwhelm us. But it is possible to make your body-mind a safer, and more enjoyable place to be.
Touch can be useful. Both in a traditional massage sense, and other more gentle approaches that help bring awareness to an area of your body that is holding tension. Vivian Revitt, one of my wonderful teachers would say – where the life force needs to be liberated in the body.
Talking can help too, although endless story mostly doesn’t. But it can help to talk for a while at the beginning of a session to get an idea of where you’re at and what you’re dealing with. Talking can help unload the thoughts that you’re struggling with, or to identify the places you’re stuck and find ways of living the life you want to live. I am trained in a variety of somatic psychotherapy and counselling approaches and apply these in my work when helpful.
What approach we use is something we work out together, depending on what is present for you and what you want to work on. Embodied Sessions are a holistic approach to working through issues that arise in your life. Get in touch if you want to know more. I’m happy to have a chat with you.