By Genoa Hamiel, LMFT
In therapy, we get the chance to reckon with parts of our life that are giving us grief. It can be overwhelming to be a human being! Especially when things are not going the way we want them to – by way of physical injuries, impulsiveness, inactivity, unwelcome feelings, or relationship strife – it becomes especially useful to accept some help to sort it out. I’m a somatic therapist, so I’ve had some additional training that many people find is useful as an add-on to talk therapy. Somatic therapy is an approach that’s been in the limelight as of late because, well, people are taking more notice of the connection between mind and body. Whichever our main challenge is, a somatic approach lets us start at the ground floor.
Let me explain how we use this ground floor idea in therapy. There’s nothing fancy about it; I simply help you pay better attention to how you’re feeling physically in difficult moments. Maybe you have a tight chest, a frog in the throat, you’re making a fist, or you’re numb. Often, we want to run for the hills from these feelings and sensations – who likes feeling afraid or sad or mad? The great news is that if we can pay attention to these sensations (that we then translate and label as emotions), we are building the muscle to tolerate them. And the funny thing is that with more tolerance, we can get some relief without even doing anything more about it!
There’s some strange magic when we stop running away from bad feelings and frantically looking for things that’ll make us feel good.
With more tolerance you can find yourself being more present. I’m the first one to say that term is overused, but it also happens to be pretty straight forward. The concept is this: If we’re not twisting and turning away from our experience, but settled into ourselves, we’re being present. We have presence. When we’re present, we can face our life with much more surety.
Clients often walk through my door who are in the midst of difficult transitions, not knowing which way to turn in their life, and overwhelmed with it all. An increased ability to develop tolerance – and subsequently presence – can be super helpful for them. If you’d like to set up an initial appointment with me, don’t hesitate to call: (510) 981-1471.