Over the last few weeks, until just recently, I’ve been experiencing some nervousness. Towards the end of last year I started getting ready to advertise as a body psychotherapist.
Why the nerves? There aren’t so many body psychotherapists around. Is it a strange thing to do, I wondered? Will people still want to come and see me or not?
A couple of days ago I added the words body psychotherapist to my advert that goes out in a local magazine and I felt better immediately. The nervousness disappeared and I began to look forward to welcoming clients who are interested in including the body in psychotherapy.
Why do I love including the body in psychotherapy? Our bodies have their own languages of feeling and processing emotion and experience.
In fact – despite only just beginning to advertise — I’ve been working in this way for a while. What does this kind of work look like?
It might be that we spend just a few moments with body experience before returning to speaking and listening. For example a client notices that they are clenching their fists, I invite them to do that more strongly and then a memory appears, or a worry, or something that needs letting go, and we talk about that.
It might be that we spend a little longer with body experience. A client and I notice they always hunch over when talking about their boss, for example. What does it feel like to hunch over like that? I wonder? How is it to hunch over more, or less?
It might be that we don’t mention the body or physical sensation at all, but that my being tuned into my own body and having some awareness of how a client is sitting or moving allows me to have more empathy for them.
This work fits so well with my mindfulness practice. Mindfulness allows us to meet ourselves from a place of curiosity and without judgement – noticing thoughts, feelings and sensation in the body. Body psychotherapy is the same, but with someone alongside you, creating the conditions the enable this kind of exploration.
Tuning into the body is like changing the channel, it can show us things we might not otherwise see, and as a channel that is often under used it’s one that I’m interested in. Of course I still use all of the other channels with my clients: words, feelings, dreams and images and so on.
The actual qualification I am about to get is in Embodied Relational Therapy. I could have put this on the print advertisement but I wasn’t sure anyone would know what it meant. I might write about what ERT means in more detail another time, but what I’ve said above gives a pretty good flavour.
I have spaces available now for new clients. Get in touch to book an initial session.
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