Resources on Mind-Body Connection or Somatic approaches

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As humans, we have physiological reactions that are intricately tied to emotional experiences.  It is how our brains are wired.  We literally “feel” certain sensations that translate to emotions, and often our body gets these responses much faster than our mind.  These emotional experiences tell us whether we are safe, secure, cared for (or not), and what is important and valuable to us.  When certain experiences happened in our childhood, our childhood emotional responses are often implicitly encoded in our body without conscious awareness.  We can integrate mind-body techniques in therapy to unlock these implicit and unconscious memories that may present as mental health struggles (anxiety, panic attacks, depression, low self-esteem).  


Most of us have learned to turn off our bodily signals over the years. It may be because we were flooded with overwhelming emotions in childhood trauma, and we did not have the tools to manage. It may be because of on-going societal expectations of gender roles (e.g., men to “suck it up,” or women are “bit__es” when we express our anger), or work settings where everyone work through lunches or do not regularly take breaks during the day. Thus, we learn to ignore our thirst, our hunger signals, our other bodily feelings. As an adult, it may now be difficult to identify our feelings, our emotions. Mindfulness practices such as guided walking meditations or body scan exercises are recommended as a way to start to reconnect with your own body, even if you have not yet developed your emotional vocabulary. Please also make sure to practice regularly appreciating your various body parts in this process (e.g., “thank you, feet, for carrying me throughout the day without me even having to attend to you much!”).

Try the exercises on this page to calm your emotions.

I highly recommend this book.  It’s great for clinicians as well as clients.  It’s a fascinating read that explains much about how trauma or adverse experiences impact our mind and body.

 

Additional recommendations:

 

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)

One of the better researched mind-body techniques is called Emotional Freedom Techniques, which is distinct and different from emotion-focused therapy (also known as “EFT”).  Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT used below) evolved from Thought-Field Therapy (TFT) and is relatively new in the field of psychology (about 40 years old).  When guided by a trained clinician, EFT has been found to be effective for anxiety and trauma, as well as help to relax the body system.  It combines cognitive restructuring while the client self-taps on acupressure points.  The use of acupressure points have been  practiced by traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years.

There has been a lot more research on EFT in recent years, and the results have been impressive.  This page summarizes recent research, including meta-analyses studies and those published in peer-reviewed journals, as well as research on other energy psychology modalities.  This article is also a good summary.

Memory Reconsolidation

This YouTube video is a brief explanation of the theory of Memory Reconsolidation process that leads to transformational change.

Please feel free to call Dr. Lin at 408-828-8375 or send an email to inquire further.