Higher Self Psychotherapy FAQs

Do you see clients in-person?

Due to the ever-changing COVID-19 situation, Higher Self Psychotherapy has chosen to keep clients safe by only offering online/telehealth therapy sessions at this time. You can read about the advantages of online therapy here.

What is somatic therapy?

Somatic psychotherapy is a body-centered talk therapy that seeks to connect the mind & body. A presumption is that the mind, body, emotions, and spirit are all inter-related. As a result, unresolved past traumas or painful experiences can remain stuck in the body (central nervous system) and lead to changes in posture, gait, and patterns of breathing & holding tension that reflect (and reinforce!) limiting beliefs about oneself & the world. Particular modalities like Sensorimotor Psychotherapy use physical and relational experiments to study and, in the process, transform unhelpful patterns.

How is somatic psychotherapy different from traditional talk therapy?

In talk therapy, we may explore what’s on your mind and what you’re going through. In a lot of cases, talking through things with someone who can serve as a sounding board to your thoughts can provide clarity and the healing experience of feeling understood and respected.

In somatic therapy, we may take a closer look at how your body is both affecting and affected by your issues. We will study, with mindfulness, how your nervous system, in the present moment, adapts and organizes itself (e.g., through sensations, postural & tension patterns, thoughts, emotions, gestures) as we talk about your current and past events. We may also explore how early family experiences conditioned you to hold back or exaggerate your body’s natural instincts and emotions in order to secure the love and safety you needed. For instance, if you learned that you needed to stifle positive or negative emotions to adapt to your family environment, this could help us understand your tendency to physically pull back and hold your breath when certain emotions arise. We may also explore ways you disconnect from painful memories or thoughts, and how this disconnect shows up in your body. With this information, we can experiment with new ways of being with yourself, showing up in the world, and develop practical skills/resources to help strengthen your resilience.

What is your approach to treating trauma?

My treatment approach for trauma is integrative, relational, and body-centered. The modalities I integrate include Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, EMDR, and Internal Family systems, along with relational talk therapy. These approaches help in the following ways:

a) Help the body to release stored tension and execute survival defenses that were unavailable or interrupted at the time of trauma. It can also help heal childhood wounds that contribute to problems encountered in adulthood.

b) Develop a more understanding and kinder relationship to yourself. In the process, meet your own unmet childhood needs.

c) By exploring the dynamics that occur in the therapeutic relationship, insight into relational patterns outside the therapeutic relationship can occur. This insight creates opportunity to repair trauma-based relational patterns.

Who do I enjoy working with?

Many of my clients are hardworking, high-performing professionals, students, and parents with diverse cultural backgrounds. I love working with open-minded, sensitive, and creative people who prioritize mental health and personal development. 

How does it work? What do I have to do in sessions?

I tailor my therapeutic approach to your specific needs, which may vary from session to session. Some sessions we may just talk openly, while other sessions may be more structured (e.g., EMDR) and active

(e.g., moving around, trying out experiments).

How long will it take?

This answer depends on the issues you bring to therapy, your desire for ongoing personal growth, and level of commitment. However, research does suggest that improvements may be noticeable between an average of 12-16 sessions, though clients can find hope and relief after the first session.

 

Another consideration to make is your interest in short- versus long-term therapy. Some people, for instance, are very goal-oriented and like to focus our time on particular issues, with an end in mind. Others enjoy having an ongoing support person in their lives that they can meet with regularly, for no particular reason, other than to unload, reflect, and seek accountability and general guidance from.