Browsing: Mind/Body/Spirit

Mind/Body/Spirit

“Well, it’s done!” Bonnie said with a sideways glance, her eyes not quite meeting mine. A twist of her lips said, I survived, but barely.

Bonnie had come to see me shortly after A.H., her high school sweetheart and husband of more than a decade, told her he was moving out of their condo; he didn’t love her anymore. Within the throes of this shock and the stress of reordering her once familiar and stable life through a mediation process, Bonnie had been emotionally floundering.

“I didn’t lose it in the mediator’s office,” she said, recounting the ordeal. “But I’ve been crying ever since I left. I can’t wrap my mind around the fact that now we are legally separated.” She settled into the soft couch across from me, and reached for the box of tissues. “This has made my back ache worse; my whole body feels like it’s in a vice. And on top of that he’s not responding to any of my texts!”

Mind/Body/Spirit

What can the theory and practice of somatic/body psychotherapy, ecopsychology and Buddhism offer to each other?

For the past five years, Kamalamani has shared life and work at the confluence of these fields in her quarterly Bodywise articles for Somatic Psychotherapy Today, an independent international publication representing various modalities in body psychotherapy, somatic psychology, and pre-natal and perinatal psychology. This volume brings together these quarterly Bodywise articles. Kamalamani explores client work in embodied and relational ways, drawing upon her practice of Buddhism. With her characteristically warm, immediate, accessible tone, Kamalamani encourages personal reflection and professional consideration as she offers insights illuminated by traditional Buddhist texts along with personal and clinical anecdotes that range from birth to death, from meditating with character to Reich’s character structures, from trauma and terrorized bodies to diversity, embodied spirituality and pre-natal and peri-natal psychology.

Mind/Body/Spirit

In therapy, I believe our work is to support our clients as they and we enliven the places in imagination where we consciously and unconsciously create and cultivate visualizations vital for healing—specific images and sensations that are less apt to trigger distressing images but rather become integrated as components of recovery and healing. As we work within the psyche’s realm of awareness to re-envision scenes that support mental health and wellbeing, healing light becomes available when the darkness of harsher images from a terrifying past invades the mind and the body. Indeed, the recent tragic loss in Bev’s extended family had brought forth just such –a cascade of painful emotions, restless insomnia, anxious anhedonia, and a flare of her osteoarthritis.need for warmth and healing peace, Bev is learning how to confidently summon these images. However, for survivors of abuse like Bev, darker, more troubling pictures arise in the mind, unbidden and unwelcomed these images disturb their tranquility, knock them off balance.

Mind/Body/Spirit

Jagged edges of pain were audible and palpable in Kris’ voice when he initially called. “I need therapy. But . . . I can’t come now . . . I’m . . . in a hospital. I’d like to call you again . . . when I’m out.” I met Kris two months later after his discharge from a local psychiatric program. No longer at risk for self-harm, Kris was a tall, attractive man in his late thirties with a story of misery. Kris talked about childhood bullying and his recent marital demise that had caused him financial and emotional devastation. Yet, regardless of these past and current traumas, Kris possessed strengths.

Mind/Body/Spirit

Walking over to my chair, cell phone in hand, Bev exclaimed (the tone of her voice implying the answer was a given to her upcoming question), “Aren’t these pictures beautiful? Here, look at this one—I took it from the old Fort. Can you spot the house in the background across the inlet? That’s where my father would put the boat in the water to take us up the coast. Those were good times.” Bev’s photographs, composites of her beloved seas and shorelines along Maine’s southern and mid-coast, comprise a visual memorial to the beaches and bays that provided a measure of playfulness and serenity within the more chronic and painful vagaries of her childhood and adolescence.

Mind/Body/Spirit

“Ahhhgh!” Lance moaned as he slouched stiffly on the couch on an airy summer day.

He stretched his legs past the edge of the table, rubbed his right thigh. Lance groaned. “I’m a mess. The two little ones were crawling all over me this morning, bumping every inch of me that’s bruised. I had to get up and get all of them breakfast, but my body hurt so bad I wasn’t sure I could even move.”

A married father of three and a martial artist in his mid-thirties, Lance is tall, tan and robust looking, an appearance that belies his current physical discomfort.

“What’s happened to make you so sore, Lance?”

“My physical therapist says its bursitis in my muscles. It’s because of my damn job.” Lance, advertises his frustration with a loud, drawn out ‘jawwwb.’ “They have me blasting in a tube again! No PT is going to help me when I’m getting bashed all the time!”

Lance’s well-paying job is rather unusual. Working for a company whose contracted venues mandate sandblasting and painting in spaces where he barely fits, Lance must use Superman strength, Ironman agility and Spiderman courage to keep from being crushed against the walls and wounded by the heavy equipment he carries. Although Lance credits martial arts training for giving him the flexibility to perform this work, invariably he ends up moving around in awkward and uncomfortable positions and coming out hurt.

Mind/Body/Spirit

“I’m so exhausted!” Emily sighed as she slumped into the rocking chair. “The store is driving me crazy!”

Congenial and generally upbeat, Emily juggles complex roles as manager of a profitable men’s clothing franchise: engaging saleswoman, savvy boss and compassionate housemother for her “kids” as she calls her staff. Emily handles the pressures with genuine warmth and contagious wit. Despite changing business requirements and the kids’ idiosyncratic quirks, Emily remains surprisingly happy in her job, often affirming, “My job is fun. It makes me feel really good.”

Yet, on this vibrantly sunny summer day, something was different. The energy with which Emily entered the room was visibly and palpably low, as if a cloud had blocked the light that had been beaming through the window. With a wan twinkle at the edges of her usually lively eyes, Emily recounted the latest list of stressors involving inventory, customers and the kids.

Mind/Body/Spirit

Mindfulness is trending. It’s been on the forefront of conversations in terms of Western therapeutic methodologies since Jon Kabat Zinn integrated it into his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program (MBSR) in the early 1980s. Today, mindfulness practices are at the heart of many psychotherapeutic approaches such as: mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT); acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT); dialectical behavior therapy (DBT); mindfulness-based relapse prevention (MBRP); mindfulness-based trauma therapy (MBTT); and mindfulness-based eating awareness training (MB-EAT). The word itself, however, is often confused. Its meaning subjectively associated with who or what entity is promoting its use. There’s clearly a difference between Eastern approaches to meditation and mindfulness and the current Western emphasis. With the proliferation of modalities integrating components of meditation and mindfulness practice, this book is a welcome addition to Hogrefe’s Advances in Psychotherapy: Evidence Based Practice Series—noted as Volume 37.

Mind/Body/Spirit

It’s summer time and the living doesn’t feel easy. The nation approached the climax of the most uncreative election campaign I can remember, with Teresa May refusing to participate in election debates and Jeremy Corbyn participating as fully as he could in spite of the best efforts of many media channels to scupper his campaigning. There have been three ‘terror attacks’ in the UK in the past few months, the most recent on Saturday night, June 3, 2017, on London Bridge. Countless other attacks across the globe go largely unreported; no 24 hours news coverage and live BBC interviews for the families of the 68 children who died in a Syrian bomb attack in Idlib province in April.

Mind/Body/Spirit

Kamalamani’s initial 2012 column introduced our readers to an intimate look at a Buddhist perspective in body psychotherapy. We were invited into an awareness of all sentient life and living processes; her writings encouraged personal reflection and professional consideration. We’ve been pleased to share her writings and to review her books. Her newest book, Bodywise, soon to be released, comes from a place of gratitude and graciousness. Kamalamani offered to create an ebook of all her columns and donate proceeds to Somatic Psychotherapy Today, to help defray the costs associated with an independently run international magazine. It’s generous gifts like Kamalamani’s and others who donate to SPT that we continue to exist.