One of my long-term clients initially came to me for help with PTSD. Her symptoms included intense nightmares, sleeplessness, irritability, and anxiety. Her life has changed significantly in the last 5 years, both internally and externally. She is no longer hypervigilant in all her relationships. She is significantly more aware of her own reactive patterns. She has been transforming her connections with other people by examining her automatic boundaries.
She and I have been doing mindfulness meditation at the beginning of each session since we started working together. However, despite my orientation as a somatic psychotherapist, we have stayed firmly in her head. Thoughts and the cognitive experience of emotions have been the realm of our exploration, largely because whenever I tried to take her to her body, she kicked me firmly out.
About two months ago, I felt an invitation to inquire about her bodily experience – sensations, impulses, movements. And she did not stop me. I suggested that we might want to help her find a more embodied self, and that we could do so by starting with a body-based meditation in session. She was game, and after a few sessions starting this way, she asked me “so what’s the point of this embodiment thing anyway?” I talked to her about how it could help her recognize her reactions and gut impulses more rapidly and expose her to a wider array of experiences. To which her response was, “but it’s so uncomfortable”. The initial process of becoming embodied can be extremely unpleasant. Being able to sense and tolerate the physical discomforts that most of us learn to block off takes patience and courage. It also opens the door to a wide range of joy and pleasure that would otherwise be muted and unavailable. #traumainformed #boundaries #embodiment #mindfulness #mindfulnesspractice #psychotherapy #pleasure #discomfort - 59 minutes ago