In my work I strive to boil things down to the underlying truths, to get at the root of the issues. We can get distracted by the surface of the situation at hand, when underneath it can always be understood simply. This simplicity can bring great relief and removes the heaviness of feeling there is a big, impossible problem to solve.
These two quotes from trauma experts speak to the essence of what happens in therapy. Becoming empowered, feeling connected, and being embodied in the present moment are central goals for all of my clients. Living in a culture of disconnection, disempowerment and being out of touch with our bodies, these core issues impact all of us at some level.
"The core experiences of psychological trauma are disempowerment and disconnection from others. Recovery, therefore, is based upon the empowerment of the survivor and the creation of new connections." - Judith Herman, M.S. Trauma and Recovery
We are hurt in relationship with others, and we heal in relationship with others. As a therapist I give my clients as much control as possible. I don't label them with a diagnosis that sends the message something is wrong with them. I let them know they're in the driver's seat, and I remain open to the directions they want to go. The destination is a place of empowerment, connection and embodiment in the present moment, and I only voice concern if I intuitively feel like the wheel is steered away from that place. However, I don't know where on the map that destination lies! On a deeper level, only the client knows if the goals of therapy will be met in Las Vegas or Austin or New York City. Many people think therapists give advice, but it's quite the opposite. I sit in the passenger's seat, teaching you tools to access your internal GPS and make your own decisions.
"For real change to take place, the body needs to learn that the danger has passed and to live in the reality of the present." - Bessel van der Kolk, M.D. The Body Keeps the Score
Without involving the intelligence of the body to heal, it will keep automatically sending you the same old signals that got wired in the past. When I first heard the word "embodied," I didn't know what it meant, but I liked the sound of it. I have since learned that there is no separation between our body, mind and spirit. When we are connected into our bodies and present to what is happening, we gain the ability to shift our emotional state from a negative feeling to a positive feeling. This is a superhuman ability in our culture. There is no more reason for suffering, because we have found the internal switchboard. When past trauma is healed, we become connected to our body and learn it is safe to feel whatever comes up. Over time, it becomes simple to pause and notice what subtle events have upset us and gently soothe that disturbance as it happens, continuing on with the day with calmness, confidence and ease.
With connection with others in place, we also have access to seeking the presence of others for comfort. We have healed the past trauma and know it is safe to reach out, and we've identified who those secure attachment figures are who we can reach for. With a sense of embodiment, we can more deeply and richly luxuriate in this gift, the present moment experience of love and connection. Loving eye contact, warm touch, and kind words are available from friends or family because you've done the work and taken the action steps to have this connection in your life. There is no reason to suffer alone, and you learn that even when you are physically alone in your room, energetically you are never alone. You are loved. It really does become as simple as that.