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All Talked Out?

Healthy concept, Spirit, Body and MindBy Rich Simon Sometimes it can seem strange, if not downright perverse, that so many decades of mental health treatment has focused exclusively on language, as if the client’s whole experience could be reduced to a kind of cartoon speech bubble. In fact (if anybody needs reminding) psychotherapy originated with the patient lying on a couch, the analyst sitting behind, and neither one even looking at the other—it couldn’t get much more head-centered than that.

Well, that was long ago and far away…or was it? Of course, we all know that our emotional distress, as well as our satisfaction and pleasure in life, is profoundly lived in the body—we don’t so much think anxiety, anger, and depression, as feel them in every physical fiber of our being. It’s bad feelings experienced as total mind-body states, not abstract thoughts about the feelings, that bring people to therapy. If we didn’t already know this in our gut, so to speak, two decades of unprecedented discoveries about the brain have definitively reconnected psyche and soma, mind and body, never (we hope) to be separated again.

And yet, as far as our field’s formal training goes, therapists continue to be trained mostly in how to listen to clients talk and how to respond appropriately with their own counter-talk. We still haven’t fully taken in the totality of the human organism, which includes all those physiological and, yes, spiritual experiences of which we are capable, but about which we may not always be able to speak easily or readily. Besides helping us understand our clients better by being able to read and communicate with their whole selves, broadening our practice to include the physical and spiritual also allows them to experience themselves in a new and often much more positive, healthy, life-affirming way. Learning to breathe deeply, eat better, or pay more attention to what’s going on inside their bodies may be a revelation with quite literally life-transforming possibilities.

Integrating mind-body methods and techniques into practice doesn’t necessarily require learning a whole new range of arcane and specialized skills, or going off to spend a year in Dharamsala, meditating with the Dalai Lama. In our new webcast series, Integrative Mental Health: How Mind-Body Techniques Are Changing Talk Therapy, we bring you the leading experts in a number of disciplines and practices—yoga, lifestyle issues, therapeutic movement and dance, nutrition, mindfulness, and breathing—who can give you an enlightening sense of why this kind of “both-and” approach can enhance not only your practice, but your life.

Integrative Mental Health
How Mind-Body Techniques Are Changing Talk Therapy
Sessions Begin July 17th
Click here for full course details.

Save $19 When You Register
Before Midnight, Monday, July 8th
Use Code: MINDBODY19

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2 Responses to All Talked Out?

  1. So glad to see this topic area being chosen. Let’s be perfectly clear though: this is not new. There is a long and illustrious history of body psychotherapy as well as dance-movement psychotherapy already highly developed and firmly established within the broader field of psychotherapy–We’re talking for 70 years or more! Hopefully, you will acknowledge, honor, and include both of these disciplines as pivotol in your coverage. There have been many highly skilled and dedicated clinicians doing this kind of work for a very long time, and the fact that they have been holding the standard of embodied psychotherapy when it was largley unpopular, and even discounted by the larger psychotherapy community is a shadow side that needs to be part of the story. Those of us who have been working with the body in psychotherapy since we began our careers are very happy that mainstream psychotherapists are finally beginning to acknowledge that the body needs to be included. Now, I’m calling the “new shoots” to remember and honor their roots, because without the roots there can be no tree!

    In community,

    Lisa Fladager, MCAT, LMHC, R-DMT. CMA
    BodySoul Work
    Embodied Psychotherapy in the Jungian Tradition

  2. Cath Birkett says:

    Very disappointed that the networker no longer allows us in 3rd world with weak currencies any more free access.

    Your site is now too hard and too expensive to access

    I did enjoy and benefit from so many of your free series.

    Thank you for all of that.

    Sadly now I just delete your emails though I find many of them fascinating.

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