Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few questions you might have ...
WHY DON'T YOU ACCEPT INSURANCE?
My priority is to provide the very best experience that I possibly can. Most major health insurance providers place limitations on the type, length, and other terms of approved behavioral health services that they will reimburse the provider for. Often, these companies don't support treatment modalities which do not meet their criteria of being either evidence-based and/or their process for payment is cumbersome and lengthy.
This can create an unnecessary constriction and pressure on the therapeutic process, and as a result, can ultimately diminish the longterm effectiveness of therapy. Additionally, when I briefly did participate as an in-network provider, I found that coordinating administrative aspects of patient care with these major entities left me feeling more limited in my clinical choices and less supported in offering high quality patient care.
Because of this, early on in my private practice, I realized that continuing to operate in this way just would not support the kind of care I felt strongly about providing. Since then, I've been an independent "Out of Network" (OoN) provider.
WHAT IS SOMATIC EXPERIENCING?
Somatic Experiencing (SE) was developed by Peter Levine, PhD as a psychobiological approach to treating trauma. Levine has doctorates in both biology and psychology, and his development of SE took root during his study of mammalian behavior and their various responses to physical threat. SE uses a particular focus on the awareness of physiological manifestations of traumatic stress and more regulated states experienced by the vast matrix of interdependent systems within the body-mind system (muscle, organs, fascia, nerves, fluids, digestion, neurological functions, etc.). SE helps to clear the way for the body to tap into its natural ability to contain, regulate and tolerate psychological distress resulting from any type of perceived threat (real, remembered, or otherwise). In SE, energy that has been stuck in a chronic state of either fight, flight or freeze (or combination there of) begins to loosen, and eventually, through experience, discharges by way of the body's intrinsic wisdom and processes of self-regulation.
SE has helped tens of thousands of people all over the world heal from all kinds of traumatic experiences: military veterans with PTSD; survivors of natural disasters and acts of terror; people who have experienced or witnessed violence, destruction, or harm; people who have lived through all manner of developmental and relational trauma; and people who simply want to feel as conscious, connected and alive as they can.
WHAT'S THIS ABOUT THE BODY (BODY SENSATION, FELT SENSE, ETC.)? WHY HAVEN'T I HEARD OF THIS TYPE OF THERAPEUTIC INTEGRATION BEFORE?
Traditional methods of psychotherapy have typically underprivileged the usefulness of the client's awareness of the body (or, the "felt sense" of one's experience of moment-to-moment physiological states).
While this is not necessarily problematic and standard "talk" therapy can be highly effective on its own, the addition of offering specific types of attention to physiological processes occurring within the body - particularly those located within the workings of the central, peripheral and autonomic nervous systems - significantly enhances the effectiveness of more traditional talk therapy.
Mainstream psychotherapeutic communities have only recently begun to embrace the plethora of anecdotal and scientific evidence which supports the reality that working with the integration of the psyche (mind) and the soma (body) promotes a more comprehensive experience of healing and restoration to wholeness. In another 10-15 years, I expect this type of integration to be much more of a standard practice for contemporary mental health providers.
IT'S DIFFICULT FOR ME TO CONNECT WITH MY BODY. DOES THIS MEAN THAT I WOULDN'T BE A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR THE TYPE OF INTEGRATIVE THERAPY YOU PROVIDE?
Not at all! Most of us are not used to considering the implicit and explicit connections between our minds and bodies and the interdependent nature of the body-mind system. Western society has always biased mind over body: your likely initial apprehension around sensing into the body is the norm rather than the exception.
All it takes is a very basic understanding of how the autonomic nervous system functions and how this understanding can help us (which can be provided in about 3 minutes) along with some practice of tracking body sensation and any attendant emotions which may arise as you are slowly and gently guided in doing so.
Working with sense awareness is a subtle practice and, as with anything both subtle and powerful, there is a simplicity as well as a high degree of nuance and complexity involved in the process. One of the aspects of this way of working that I particularly appreciate is that we are never in a rush to 'do', 'fix', or otherwise 'make' change. Rather, our goal is simply to help the bodymind come back into wholeness just as it intrinsically knows how to do. Simply by bringing attention to the body in specific ways, we are merely helping to clear the path for it to accomplish this - on its own. This concept is summed up in a saying that I heard a very seasoned SE clinician say a few years ago, and often repeat when working somatically: "The slower we go, the faster we can get there."