I sometimes call myself a 'somatic archaeologist'. Why, you may ask? Well, many of you have heard me say that in the last twenty or so years the mental health field has had to begin including the body in the healing process. For too long it was believed that 'healing' happened in the realm of the mind. That talking and thinking and delving deeper into memories, just through talk, could provide lasting and sustainable changes. Changes that would bring more joy, better relationships, an improved life. For isn't that what we all want?
But for many of us who are oriented to our mind and our body, just talking about change was not doing more than a 'feel good solution' that did not last. Was not sustainable. And I know because in addition to providing traditional talk therapy, I was a client working on my own issues. And frankly I felt unsatisfied with my progress - or lack thereof - and became pretty convinced that although not intentional, I was not helping clients to find lasting change. The kind that really could change their lives.
If you were a little bird in my office today, I am not sure you would ever overhear me with a client not talking about their body. Where do you feel or sense it in your body is a common mantra in sessions. "Drop into your body I might say: put your hand where you sense the tightness or nausea, the dark hole or angry fire." And we go from there, dropping into the memories to transform them. Dropping into and healing whatever needs to be healed and transformed.
In the 1970's research began that would make huge changes in our understanding of the mind-body connection. Dr. Candace Pert was one of the first researchers in this area, going on to write a book called "Molecules of Emotion". Here is a quote from the New York Times after she died: “I’ve come to believe that virtually all illness, if not psychosomatic in foundation, has a definite psychosomatic component,” she wrote. The “molecules of emotion,” she argued, “run every system in our body,” creating a “bodymind’s intelligence” that is “wise enough to seek wellness” without a great deal of high-tech medical intervention."
Although I deeply believed in the intelligence of the body in holistic mind-body-soul healing, it was not until my training in 2005 at The Wellness Institute www.wellness-institute.org/ that I began to actually learn how to use the body, the memories stored in the body that are actually much more accurate than those held in the mind, to transform and heal clients' trauma. Emotional wounding.
So, dropping into our bodies means dropping into healing the entire system that we are. Try it out: the next time you think you are sad, angry..betrayed, fearful...find the sensation in your body that corresponds to the feeling and put your hand there. What is your body trying to tell you? Give it a voice. Learn. Grow. Change.