that someone ("Joe") says he feels "stressed out" or "on
edge" about some difficult situation in his life. This might be the only
information that he has about this uncomfortable feeling. Learning to notice,
describe and tolerate bodily sensations, and "dialogue" (using the mind)
with the body, will provide him with new information about the situation. Using
skills learned in BodyMind Psychotherapy, to notice and describe details of body
sensation, Joe may say:
"When I think about this
situation, I get a bunched-up feeling in my shoulders ... my eyes are squinting
.... my jaw is shut tight ... I feel like I can't catch my breath ..."
looks and sounds like it feels uncomfortable. Have you had these sensations before?"
trained psychotherapist notices: Joe's head is forward: area around eyes is contracted;
compressed mouth/teeth; jaw tight; shoulders are elevated; spine is collapsed;
organs are compressed; minimal push through the feet; breath is shallow; little
energetic circulation through the body core. In her own body, Therapist notices:
tight sensation in chest/heart areas; a desire to breathe more deeply (yield/soften
the throat) and elongate her spine (spinal push).
reminds me of all the tests I've ever taken ... I think I have to figure this
out, RIGHT NOW, or something awful will happen! I always felt like that as a kid
... I had to be perfect. I wish I didn't feel this way." Joe lets out
a big sigh.
Therapist sighs. "That sigh
looked like it felt good. I noticed that your shoulders seemed to relax. Allowing
your jaw to open, and your body to breathe a bit more, will give you some fuel
(oxygen) to cope with this situation. What else do you notice when you let your
"I feel sad."
the session continues, Joe can resource his body to both understand more about
his "sadness", and how to support himself emotionally, cognitively
and physically as he explores and develops new ways to cope with the difficult