Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (Somatic Therapy)
Traditional psychotherapy and talk therapy addresses the cognitive and emotional elements of trauma but lacks techniques that work directly with the physiological elements and the body. Many symptoms of traumatized individuals are somatically based. Sensorimotor Psychotherapy is a method that integrates the body with cognitive and emotional processing in the treatment of trauma.
Unassimilated experiences are known to cause disruptions in the way we interact with ourselves and the world. Oftentimes it might have implications in our physical health due to its direct impact on the nervous system creating constant stress responses that impact and weakens the immune system. By using the body, (rather than cognition or emotion) as a primary entry point in processing trauma, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy directly treats the effects of trauma on the body, which in turn facilitates emotional and cognitive processing. This method is especially helpful to clients struggling with chronic stress, anxiety, dissociation, emotional reactivity, or managing day to day emotions, living in a hypervigilant state or other PTSD symptoms.
This approach integrates aspects of neuroscience, attachment theory, and cognitive approaches.
Internal Family Systems
Internal family systems is a unique way of working through internal conflict with oneself. IFS sees human beings as complex systems of interacting “parts”, which are natural divisions of personality.
The model ascribes to our personality a multiplicity that serves a purpose of protection within ourselves. These parts can feel like thoughts or feelings or just dominant inner states. Internal family systems provide a non-pathological paradigm in which to view the human being. For example, I may recognize jealous or selfish parts of me which I don’t like; thus, view myself as a jealous and selfish person which lowers my self concept. However from the IFS point of view, just because I have jealous or selfish parts, doesn’t mean that the whole of my being is jealous and selfish. I can have loving and compassionate parts as well. In fact, instead of judging those parts, I can become curious about them which frees me to understand their purpose and perhaps release them from these roles and use them as allies.
The model also posits that every person has a Self which can and should lead the individual’s internal system. This Self is something that we learn to discover through the practice of mindfulness and is a connected to a non-critical state of self observation. The model also assumes that all parts want to play a constructive role in the life of the individual, but often are forced into extreme roles due to trauma or other destructive influences in the person’s environment. Even within their extreme roles, parts often cannot see the harm they are doing to the individual overall. In this work we help parts to begin to communicate with one another and relate to one another in a new way. IFS is often used in the work with Dissociative Identity Disorder as a way to work compassionately to help parts better accept one another.
The whole therapeutic experience is a Mindfulness practice itself because it is centered on experimenting what is happening in the present moment and noticing what arises through your body, emotions, and thoughts at each step of the way. My goal is that you develop a deeper connection with yourself and that you can start experimenting life as mindfully as possible and learn to know yourself so well that you can develop your own self-healing practice.
All the approaches I use in therapy are either evidence-based practices or have a strong scientific background that is proven to have a structural and neurobiological impact in the brain.