Somatic Counseling and Eating Disorders

Somatic Counseling and Eating Disorders

Body Psychotherapy in Eating Disorder Recovery What is Somatic Counseling? Translated literally, “soma” means body. Somatic counseling is a form of psychotherapy that views the body as an integral part of the counseling process. Body psychotherapy is considered to be one branch under the larger umbrella of somatic counseling. Somatic counseling is derived from a rich lineage of psychologists, clinicians, bodywork practitioners, psychologists, dancers, and philosophers. The theories and perspectives of psychoanalysis, existential, humanistic, and gestalt psychology, expressive arts, neuroscience, and Eastern philosophy and spirituality all contribute to the practice of somatic counseling today. The founders of somatic counseling observed that the body often holds key wisdom that can be invaluable in understanding the psyche and in facilitating personal growth and transformation. On both subtle and overt levels, the body has witnessed and experienced all that has happened in each person’s life and holds its own memories and insights about these experiences. Accessing and honoring this information from the body in psychotherapy provides a wealth of knowledge that may not be part of more traditional “talk therapy” sessions. The information held within the body may also not readily be available to conscious awareness, though it may be influencing a person through illness, overwhelming emotions, or a sense of “stuckness.” Allowing the body to have a voice in somatic counseling through using specific techniques allows this information to enter cognitive awareness and provides an opportunity to process and work with it in a deep and profound way. Somatic counseling encourages a true integration of body, mind, and spirit in therapy. (Source: United States Association for Body Psychotherapy) What are the...
DBT Group Denver – Mindfulness Tip

DBT Group Denver – Mindfulness Tip

DBT Group Denver – Mindfulness Tip Do you ever feel like you are going on auto pilot? Maybe you are “going through the motions” in your daily life. Perhaps you are expected to multi-task but you struggle completing things. Give yourself permission to SLOW DOWN! This is the first step in being mindful! Yes, it’s as easy as that…. Another way to start being mindful is to pay attention to your breath. You may have heard that before – and yes, it’s as simple as that! Take a few moments right now, and JUST BREATHE. To be mindful, simply NOTICE your breath. Don’t try to force or change your breath, just notice it. Notice your inhale, and your exhale. Notice the pace of your breath. Notice the depth of your breath. Stop reading for a moment right now, and JUST BREATHE. Notice the way your body feels as you pay attention to your breath. Hopefully you will feel more relaxed, that way you are better able to pay attention to your surroundings, be present and MINDFUL! Another helpful way to practice mindful breathing is through “square breathing”. Count to 4 as you inhale, then hold your breath for 4 counts, finally exhale for 4 counts. Repeat. It’s called “square breathing” because you can imagine drawing the four edges of a square in your mind as you count to 4. Or, some people like to trace the shape of a square on their leg as they count. Repeat again as many times as you would like. Breathing is just one way to practice mindfulness. My clients report that it is the EASIEST way to be...

EDIT Principle #3: Express Your Self

Try this Healthy Coping Skill for Stress: Check-In and Breathe! Stressful situations are a part of life.  You can’t change those situations, but you can change how you react to them.  Be aware of your stress levels throughout the day, and rate them on a scale of 0-10, where 0 is no stress and 10 is extreme stress.  Low to moderate stress levels (2-6) can actually be a good thing, because this can enhance motivation and improve productivity.  High stress levels (7-10) can be overwhelming, which triggers the desire to eat as a means to self-soothe.  Certain foods can actually produce changes in certain neurotransmitters in your brain, to create a calming effect.  But there are other things you can try instead, which will have the same calming effect.  The simplest is a breathing technique.  It only takes two minutes (which is less time than it would take for you to run to the vending machine and eat a treat)! Here’s how it works.  Find a place where you can be undisturbed for two minutes, and close your eyes.  Focus only of your breathing.  Notice how shallow or deep your inhales and exhales are.  Notice how your body moves with each inhale and exhale.  If your mind drifts, gently pull yourself back to your breath.  Think silently the word “calm” as you breathe in, and “peace” as you release your breath. Notice any tension in your body, and breathe into that area of your body, allowing yourself to relax.  Keep breathing consciously for a full two minutes (or more, if you want).  When you open your eyes, how do you...