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.
“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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
Sandra is one of those delightful clients who see therapy as integral to life’s journey. Now retired and in her mid-sixties, Sandra has worked on residuals of childhood trauma, health related issues, and various circumstantial and existential personal problems.
I have seen Sandra through family crises, car accidents, and a variety of health related issues. After surviving each event Sandra has emerged more psychologically integrated and more spiritually connected. From day one I’ve been impressed with Sandra’s courage and her shining spirit, inner strengths that fund her ability to adapt to and overcome difficulties.
However, on a certain cold, misty afternoon in early spring, Sandra came in as overcast as the day. In fact there was reason to be worried.
“Things aren’t coming out quite right.” She announced,
“I’m assuming you’re referring to the art project you’ve been working on.”
“Not exactly.” Sandra turned her head and looked sideways under one raised brow, a nervous smile at the edges of her eyes. “Actually, it’s a bit more personal.”
Vacillating between emotional pain and the somatic relief of psychic numbing, Marie came to my office bewildered and in shock. Two weeks earlier a truck had crashed into a car in which Marie’s mother was riding. Although the truck driver had survived, Marie’s mother and her partner had instantly died.
“I don’t know how you can help,” Marie said, her tired eyes revealing her grief. “You can’t bring my mother back or help me make sense of my loss. I’ve always had faith in a divine spirit, in an afterlife, but now nothing seems right.”
Given the traumatic impact of Marie’s loss, how could I help?
Dr. Christopher Walling, PsyD, C-IAYT shared work he is doing at the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation during his webinar sponsored by the United States Association for Body Psychotherapy. He presented current research outcomes regarding the delayed onset of Alzheimer’s as well as age related cognitive decline and ways to incorporate yoga and meditation to offset the loss of memory and cognition. He shared the work being done with Kirtan Kriya, a 12-minute daily meditation that is yielding significant research results that involve the posterior cingulate gyrus (increases in blood flow that allow the brain to grow new brain cells), and improvements in concentration, focus and attention. You can experience this process by clicking the video link on our homepage.
Russell Delman’s dedication to the study of awareness and human potential began in 1969, when he was a college undergraduate. The main influences on his teaching are over 40 years of Zen meditation, his close relationship and training with Moshe Feldenkrais (he has helped to train over 2500 Feldenkrais teachers worldwide), a deep study of somatic psychology including Focusing, and his rich family life. Over the last seven years, his friendship with Gene Gendlin has illuminated his understanding of life and had a strong influence on his teaching. In this conversation, we explore the concept of “Beginner’s Mind” in a down-to-earth way.