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WORKING TOGETHER

I approach working together as a creative process of integrating our shared resources, knowledge and wisdom to support your healing and growth. While I specialize in working with stress and trauma, the modalities I draw upon are beautiful heart-centered approaches that can help us all be more connected, resilient human beings.

 

My approach is strengths-based and non-stigmatizing. We will not relate to you as broken or in need of fixing. We will tend to the parts of you that are deeply hurting and in need of care, as we also nourish your creativity, wisdom and innate gifts. We will celebrate and revel in your resilience. You have a history that is uniquely you, and only you can decide what to do with your life now.  

 

Below are some of the modalities I work through to give you a sense of how we might work together.  

PATHS TO HEALING

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Somatic Experiencing

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Somatic Experiencing (SE) is a therapeutic model developed by Dr. Peter Levine through the interdisciplinary study of physiology, psychology, ethology, biology, neuroscience, indigenous healing practices, and medical biophysics that lead to an understanding of how our bodies respond to stress and traumatic events. While non-human mammals are typically able to “shake off” the impact of trauma, for people, traumatic events are often overwhelming to our nervous system, cannot be fully processed at the moment, and can become trapped in our body-mind system. This trapped energy is then expressed through symptoms such as anxiety, flashbacks, bodily tensions, diseases, sleep disturbances, depression, unhealthy relationship patterns, etc.  

 

Through the SE approach, we will connect with the implicit memory that your body holds related to your life experiences and work to gently release and process the impact these events had on you. 

 

In a session, you can expect to be gently guided back into your body to support you in more deeply connecting with yourself in the present moment. Oftentimes, we will begin by using a strategy called resourcing, which will help you feel supported, build your capacity to stay present, and invite regulation to your nervous system. It’s like developing an internal home base that you can learn to rely on and remember how to come back to when faced with challenges. It also supports your capacity to experience things like comfort, joy, ease, strength, and relational connection, which often fall by the wayside in the presence of trauma and life stresses. 

 

Once you have developed resources to support you in moments of difficulty, we can start to visit the challenges you have experienced or are working through. While we will of course be talking about these circumstances, we will do so through a gradual process called titration that helps us go slow enough to stay present to your body, which holds the deeper ways in which these circumstances affected you, beyond what you can access through talking alone. Titration also allows time for you to fully process what you are ready to without overwhelming your nervous system. 

 

Once in touch with your felt sense of these experiences we will assess where you might be stuck in the fight, flight, or freeze responses and work to complete responses that might have been inhibited during the time of the stressful or traumatic event, repair the mental and emotional wounds, and integrate your challenges into newfound growth and change in you, your relationships and life.

Who might consider Somatic Experiencing?

SE is most known for its focus on healing trauma; however, it is not limited to trauma. Good candidates are people who have experienced obvious trauma, as well as not so obvious trauma such as medical interventions, long-term stress related to difficulties at home or work, or the pandemic. It can also be helpful in getting to the root of symptoms with time and space to process at that deeper level.

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Somatic Attachment Therapy

With secure attachment, we start to want what is good for the planet and the entire human community, regardless of community or country or gender or what have you. 

We begin to tap into the interconnectedness of the whole human family.

 

Dr. Diane Poole Heller

Somatic Attachment Therapy involves working with how we form innate bonds with ourselves, others, and the environment, and is strongly influenced by our early life experiences. When these early bonds offered a consistent presence of safety, connection and attunement, we are more likely to develop a secure relational attachment style that lends to a sense of acceptance, relational security and feeling of belonging in our adult lives. However, when there has been an absence or interruption of safety and attunement in our early relationships, we are more likely to develop insecure attachment styles that can lend to challenges in our relationships, jobs, how we respond to stress, and how we treat ourselves and others. The adaptive strategies we form in responses to our early relationships often lie outside of our conscious awareness, yet color all of our relations. 

 

Somatic attachment therapy is a process of bringing these unconscious tendencies into conscious awareness, healing past wounds, and developing more secure strategies for relating to ourselves, others and the world around us. 

 

Who might consider Somatic Attachment Therapy?

This work can be especially beneficial for those seeking health and greater ease in their relationship with themselves and/or with others. It is often beneficial for those who have experienced attachment wounds, which can happen:

  • In the womb in response to the parent’s physiology or stressors

  • If there was a lacking or inconsistent experience of having your needs met, being attended to, or regulated as a child

  • From transgenerational trauma that is passed down

  • From the loss of loved ones or our relational bonds have been ruptured

  • When we experience too much or too little stimulus 

  • When our protective instincts and responses are inhibited 

  • As a result of other traumas that impact our relational connections 

 

Benefits often include:

  • Freedom from past relational wounds

  • Developing your innate ability to connect with others

  • Understanding and compassion for your actions and reactions in relationship

  • Increased discernment for healthy relationships

  • Increased intimacy & greater authenticity

  • Feeling safer with vulnerability

  • Improved discernment in relationships

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EMBODIED NERVOUS SYSTEM EDUCATION

If we truly want to heal at the deepest level for ourselves and our planet, we have to work at the deepest level: our nervous system.

Understanding how your nervous system works is often a helpful starting point to somatic therapy and laying the foundation for deeper healing to take place. Your autonomic nervous system is like a personal surveillance system that is always running in the background, governing how you feel in your body in relation to others and the world around you. It is at the root of your wellbeing, and without developing a foundation of regulation in your nervous system, it can be hard for deeper healing or lasting change to take place. 

 

Together, we will take an embodied approach to understand and apply Polyvagal Theory, a nervous system framework developed by Dr. Stephen Porges, to explore the power your autonomic nervous system plays in guiding your experience. Through this lens, we understand that our responses are often automatic and adaptive, initiated well below the level of conscious awareness. When we can employ conscious awareness to this subconscious process, we can start to create the foundation for lasting change.
 

Who might consider nervous system education? 

 

In my opinion, everyone could benefit. This is about learning your human operating system and creating a more conscious, kind world- starting in your body.  

 

Understanding your nervous system can be a particularly important component to healing for people who have tried many approaches to healing and are still dealing with persistent symptoms. Some signs of a dysregulated nervous system can include but are not limited to: 

  • Digestive and immune system challenges 

  • Chronic pains and illness

  • Feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or frequently fatigued

  • Symptoms related to anxiety or depression

  • Difficulty concentrating, headaches or fogginess

  • Difficulty expressing emotions like anger- either too much or too little 

  • Over or under eating

  • Feeling stuck in habits or patterns that frustrate you or that you don’t understand

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YOGA THERAPY

When a person realizes he has been deeply heard, his eyes moisten. I think in some real sense he is weeping for joy. It is as though he were saying, ‘Thank God, somebody heard me. Someone knows what it’s like to be me.

CARL ROGERS

I’m trained in Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, a style of yoga therapy designed to deepen awareness, presence, and acceptance through the use of yoga shapes, movements, and exploratory dialogue between the client and practitioner. It’s an embodied mindfulness experience to help you drop into your body and connect with the wisdom that is offered through the messages you hold. Healing happens when your process can be witnessed and supported by another, with the intention of receiving your experience with unconditional positive regard. It’s also very practical; a portion of each session is dedicated to applying what stands out for you from the session to create change in your daily life.

 

Who might consider yoga therapy?

 Yoga therapy can be particularly helpful for people who are:

  • Looking to step outside of traditional talk-based therapy

  • Interested in adding more movement and healthy practices into your life

  • Wanting to develop a healthier relationship to their body

  • Developing a self-care practice 

  • Gaining confidence 

  • Create change in their lives that is guided by getting in touch with their true wants and needs 

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Trauma-Informed Yoga

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TRAUMA- SENSITIVE YOGA

Trauma-sensitive yoga is a path of welcoming your attention back into your body and developing greater capacity to stay present to your experience- a necessity for healing. We will always start with exploring ways to connect with your body that feel doable and helpful for you. With breath, movement and meditations we will explore themes related to healing such as:

  • Befriending Your Body through Present Moment Awareness

  • Making Compassionate and Informed Choices 

  • Restoring Rhythms, Connections and Flow

 

This is a practice designed to meet you where you are at, so limiting beliefs like “I can’t do yoga. I’m not flexible.” might have an opportunity to be reconsidered here.

I also specialize in a trauma-sensitive approach to restorative yoga, which integrates the supportive and nourishing practice of restorative yoga with an understanding of how trauma affects our body-mind systems. The practice is curated to balance the nervous system by eliciting the relaxation response through conscious rest.

 

The relaxation response is the counterpart to the fight or flight stress response. It is a physiological shift from the stress response back to relaxation by engaging the parasympathetic nervous system. When the relaxation response is stimulated, your body moves from a state of physiological arousal back to a state of regulation. This is a potent pathway to releasing tension from our body-mind system. Relaxing is something you CAN learn and often becomes easier with practice. 

 

Who might consider trauma-sensitive yoga?

These practices can be powerful stand-alone practices for some people or adjuncts to other somatic or talk-based therapies. Sometimes I’ll work with clients specifically in these modalities who might be engaging in talk-based therapies with another provider to offer a more holistic approach. Trauma-sensitive Yoga might be helpful if you:

 

  • Are cultivating self care 

  • Have tried yoga, but it hasn’t worked for you 

  • Show signs of a dysregulated nervous system such as difficulty sleeping or feeling stressed

  • Have trouble relaxing or staying present 

  • Are distracted by negative or unhelpful thoughts

  • Want to take better care of yourself

  • Are looking to nourish yourself and feel as good as possible

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Eco-Therapy

If the world is to be healed through human efforts, I am convinced it will be by ordinary people, people whose love for this life is even greater than their fear. People who can open to the web of life that called us into being.
                                                     

                                             Joanna Macy

Eco-therapy explores our relationship with nature as an essential part of our humanity. To truly heal we need to live with the awareness that we are connected with all of life- the waters, lands, air and creatures- and have our actions reflect this. Ecotherapy has origins in indigenous people’s knowledge of healing that comes through a healthy, respectful and balanced relationship with nature and practices that honor Earth. As a modern therapy, Eco-therapy integrates ecology, environmental activism, psychology and spirituality to heal individually and collectively. 

 

Who might consider Ecotherapy?

Eco-therapy might inspire you if you: 

  • Resonate with being in nature

  • Feel uncomfortable outside and would like support around this

  • Are going through transitions and need some grounding

  • Are overwhelmed and seek rejuvenation 

  • Are seeking creativity or inspiration to guide your life

  • Feel grief around the state of our natural world and would like to find your path to empowerment around 

  • Would like to honor a significant transition such as a marriage, birth, death, retirement, career change, or relationship ending 

  • Are tired of talk- based therapy and want to get out of the office or off of the computer 

 
 
 
 
 

Contact me to schedule a FREE 20 minute consultation to discuss how we may best work together.

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