I was exploring the psychic dimension of mind as a channel for reducing stress, receiving intuitive information and promoting healing. While I’d forgotten most of what I learned about statistics, attunement to the intuitive power of the inner being remains my passionate interest and a core intention of my clinical work. My deep belief in the body/mind/spirit/heart connection as a source of knowledge, and the use of hypnosis for accessing its available wisdom, has led to some fascinating therapy sessions.
While cognitive, behavioral, and parts-work modalities have validity, reliability and effectiveness, somatic and soul-centered approaches may contain a different type of potency when you clients' complain of feeling stuck.
When you are faced with high intensity stress, where do you turn for help? While processing problems with external support may provide a plethora of possibilities, an intelligent source within can also offer intuitive guidance. The innate wisdom of your soul often revealed through somatic experiences or what my colleague calls the “feelings of your feelings” can be your way out, or this case, in.
According to Joan Borysenko, "the body is the way in,” when it comes to spirituality, sexuality and healing. “Life force energy," she says, "shows up as a spectrum of emotions. To work with life force energy you have to be in the moment. This seems to be the way to work with trauma and resilience. It’s less top down intellect, and more bottom up body-to-mind, how changes in the body show up in the mind, in our thought processes. Working with clients for years, I frequently see people who are traumatized have a moment of transcendence—they leave their body in trauma and enter a different reality, akin to a mystical experience. The spiritual realm is beyond religion. No matter what door you go through, if you talk to a mystic from any religion—Jew, Christian, Muslim—something larger than the individual mind occurs. They are all talking about the same thing: this immediate sense of recognition.”
We all have the potential for wisdom to emerge through the intuitive channels of mind/body and Soul. This intelligence presents a powerful vehicle for accessing information that can keep us healthy, keep us in touch with our true Selves, and help us cope with life.
What does it mean to provide a somatically attuned and integrated style of psychotherapy? How can attunement to the innate organic wisdom of the body help us guide our clients to discover and use the healing resources within? Questions like these often guide the essential aspects of our clinical work. We leave our graduate programs, our modality trainings, our seminars and workshops and then consider, how do I bring it all in? Bette Freedson, LCSW, offers her first monthly blog: Soul Wisdom to discuss intuition, Self-wholeness and holistic integration of body, mind, soul in psychotherapy.
Bette J. Freedson, L.I.S.W., L.C.S.W., C.G.P, read from her new book, Soul Mothers' Wisdom: Seven Insights for the Single Mother, and discussed her writing process at the South Berwick Public Library last night (South Berwick, Maine).
I guess there might be as many colorful descriptions as there are authors attempting to define not only the term but the actual state of being, as there is no single, widely agreed definition for the concept. Related to me, I was blessed with a rather sudden consciousness breakthrough four years ago that totally transformed my inner and outer life and continues to form and transform my life in many positive ways. I am a doctor and Integral psychotherapist and mindfulness instructor and most of all I am a human being. My intention in writing this essay is to reflect on my personal understanding of embodied spirituality—of living my spirit.
There is a special place inside the body—a deep and peaceful place—that is accessible through any one of a number of modalities, including relaxation, mindfulness or hypnosis. Years ago I immersed myself in experiential techniques incorporating mindfulness, mind-body work, and meditation. I wanted to add a layer to my psychotherapy practice in order to reach my clients in new ways. It seemed to me that experience, more than talk, could be key to actually shifting self-deprecating perspectives and negative life patterns. I was amazed to see how bringing these techniques into therapy transformed the experience for many of my clients rather quickly: they moved from anxiety and depression into a space of calm and confidence. Happiness and comfort now came easily and readily to clients who could not previously access them. The experience inside the body and mind became unified, giving rise to a new, fresh sense of aliveness.