The reason therapy should involve your body is because you want results.
In order to get results that last, you need to feel. In order to feel, you have to involve your body.
It’s not that therapists want you to have “the feels” just for the sake of having them. I promise you. It’s that emotion within tolerable levels allows for the creation of new brain connections. New brain connections mean you got what you came for. The thing is, new brain connections require experience for them to have a lasting effect. You can’t just go through an emotionally charged experience once and expect that everything magically changes. Most of the time, you have to repeat the new brain patterns so that you create a new “rut” of automatic behavior that your body uses more often than the old pattern. The quickest route anywhere is a straight line. In the body, that’s the vagus nerve.
The vagus nerve is like a superhighway. Most of its fibers are one-way informants from your body to the parts of your brain that make up your unconscious mind, which is the part that governs your automatic behavior. In other words, welcome to your ability to access and manipulate your unconscious.
If you want the most effective form of anything, look to the most intense problems that are solved by that thing. In the therapy world, the most intense problem is trauma. For trauma therapy, the body must be involved. Trauma victims are rarely helped with talk therapy alone, if at all. After combat, an assault or accident, or through experiencing developmental trauma, a trauma victim’s automatic responses are out of whack. They are anxious, their relationships suffer, they are numb, they have flashbacks, and so forth. No amount of willpower can change them.
Interestingly, the reason people usually come to therapy is for things that they have been unable to control with will power, such as depression, anxiety, relationship problems, addictions, feeling unhappy, sexual issues, trouble sleeping, or emotional management. These are also governed by the automatic response system. Just as victims of trauma, when you are unable to maintain control over these things with will power, something is out of whack in your automatic response system too. You are not weak, nor do you lack will power. Body-oriented psychotherapy can help you.
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