All One Thing: Body, Mind, Love
Since its inception, psychology claims to be the study of the mind. Sounds true, right? Medicine claims the study of the body and how it can be healed through substances and surgery. Psychology takes the other stuff, the stuff of thoughts, learning, emotions, and relationships. This separation keeps us out of each other’s turf: physicians (and massage therapists and chiropractors, etc., etc.) and mental health therapists get licensed to do entirely different things.
Yet, most of us know this isn’t completely true to experience. We go to our hairdressers and talk about our relationships. We take a cardio class and leave the studio feeling energized and hopeful. Sometimes we go to our M.D.s to talk about depression and get pills that will help the mood problem. We get bodywork (e.g., massage, reflexology) and let go of anxiety. And sometimes, we go to our mental health therapists when we can’t lose weight to get hypnosis or a behavior plan that will affect our whole bodily experience.
All One Therapy
Most of us understand, on some level, that helpers and healers cross over each other’s territories, and that the best help often blends our experience so we can feel how body equals mind. No true separation exists between the feeling in my gut and the thoughts “in my brain.” Those images, emotions, and narratives running through all the time happen in all parts of my body, not just the top fifth of it. All of me responds, all of the time.
The most skilled therapist coaches us to remember it’s all one thing. And the most helpful therapy reminds us to love because love never ends. When we were little kids, we knew this, but as we grew up, we forgot.We love with our whole being: body, mind, spirit. So, how would you feel if your psychologist said, let’s get on the floor and stretch? Let’s bounce on the mini tramp! These activities allow us to notice our bodies, change our brains, experience love.
Psychology + Bodywork = Body Psychotherapy
My work evolves constantly. Right now, I’m learning about the neuromuscular aspects of emotion from my colleague, Tracy Maxfield. Tracy blends several modalities into his emotion-focused body work. Some call him a wizard. I call him a body psychotherapist. He gets emotion and love unstuck through an intuitive read of the body and where it stores the energy of traumatic experiences. As I observe the impact he has on my clients, I see my work as just a fraction of the psychotherapy whole.
Good therapy helps you learn and rewire brain connections. And learning requires movement in the body (I just learned this). Tracy quotes Albert Einstein, “Nothing happens until something moves.” We move on a micro-level as we talk, but we also need to, deliberately, bend, stretch, turn, reach, and hop if we want to achieve the most benefit of our very changeable brains. I wrote, here, about this body care as it applies to those of us who do therapy.
Watch for more on this bodymind therapy. Tracy and I, along with several experts in therapy, coaching, writing, and spirituality launch a new ReConceive podcast series soon. We focus on LOVE and how love changes the body, changes the entire human system, and makes life worth living.