Wow!! Here we are all, in the beginning of 2021, what an exciting time!!!! A wonderful opportunity to open up to all that is you and to release all that no longer serves you. As this year initiates, I am so excited about the new opportunities of growth, healing, creating a tribe, leveling up, and to continue with the journey of unraveling anything that is not authentically me. How about you? I say constantly, I am unraveling me, no easy task. What are you inviting into your life, where do you want to grow and level up, what do you need to unravel that no longer serves you?
Integrative Psychotherapy... "A Mind Body medicine Approach" How can this type of Holistic Therapy/Counseling help you Elevate Your LIfe?
Happy November 1, 2020!!!!.. This hope of this post is to explain why Integrative Psychotherapy (IP) is different and how it can help you elevate your life to the next level. Well lets make this simple and sweet. When you look at anything through a holistic lens it helps you identify and therefore address issues on a multi-faceted level increases the potential of transformative change.
What makes (IP) different than other types of traditional psychotherapy? There are over 400 different varieties of psychotherapeutic approaches and it has been a common practice to choose one type of therapy and apply it with clients (Zarbo, Tasca, Cattafi, & Compare, 2016). An Integrative Psychotherapy model is different, IP integrates multiple types of approaches based on what the client needs to meet their goals and to elevate their life to the next level.
Here is the Professional explanation in the research literature...
"The integrative psychotherapy model aims to respond to the person, with particular attention to affective, behavioral, cognitive, and physiological levels of functioning, and to spiritual beliefs. Integrative psychotherapy allows for a better adaptation of the therapy to the distinctive characteristics and needs of each client, by allowing the therapist to tailor their knowledge of evidence-based treatments and approaches"(Zarbo, et al., 2016)
Basically, Integrative Psychotherapy allows us to look at the whole person to determine what they need and then apply the tools that will give the best result for their individual issues. More people are definitely moving towards these integrative models of care due to the effective results and the inclusive nature of the IP approach. One size doesn't fit all!!!
Integrative Psychotherapy with Mind Body Medicine... When I decided to get my Ph.D. I was so excited to train in Mind Body Medicine (MBM) along with IP with Dr. James Gordon from the Center of Mind Body Medicine. In mind body medicine we include practices that are evidence-based mind-body techniques such as mindfulness meditation, guided imagery, biofeedback, journaling, visualization, healthy life habits, creative expression and nature therapy.
So how will you benefit ... In these IP and MBM sessions with me you will address issues not only from an Integrative Psychotherapy approach but also have the added benefits of MBM into the sessions. A few quick examples that I use quite frequently include: to learn and practice the tremendous impacts of belly breath, how to use relaxation and guided imagery to decrease anxiety, and to learn grounding practices in nature that can be life transforming. All of these practices can literally be implemented in a few minutes a day!!!!
This is how you Elevate your life!!!!
Zarbo, C., Tasca, G. A., Cattafi, F., & Compare, A. (2016). Integrative Psychotherapy Works. Frontiers in psychology, 6, 2021. doi: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.02021
Transformation... Why Is it so hard to change? I keep experiencing the same issue, again and again...
Transformation... Ah yes, it can seem so difficult or is it? Maybe you are saying I have read this, learned about that, or did differently for awhile, yet, I find myself in the same spot again and again. Keep reading, I hope to have a few answers for you.
Here is the Challenge: In life when you make attempts to transform traits, patterns, and/or relationships it is very common to feel more stress, increase your negative self-talk, and easily fall back into those past familiar patterns, lets talk about Neuroplasticity, here. Also, the brain is wired and trained to behave in certain ways. I teach clients about the cycle of change and how to rewire our brains through practice, different thoughts, and different behaviors as well as seeing the big picture in the small choices.
No matter how many times you have attempted to change your life. Absolutely know there is a way to get there!!! You want to transform, right, you want to create a different result. Then there are some key tools that need to be included in this journey. If you are ready, you are most likely saying “of course”, jumping up and down, lets do this.. Smiles, well a girl could hope, right. Here we go....
The Transformation Tools.. Let's Begin ...
Illumination: You have to illuminate, the patterns, your stuff, what has worked and what hasn't.. Illumination allows you to see your patterns, the roots, and what is keeping you in these patterns so you can transform. To learn more about illumination to change and elevate your life check out our very first post here on this blog. One way that can help you so much is to journal, write about the what keeps you stuck, what is the pattern, what could you try different.. Then, guess what, give it a go...try it. Write about the result and make a determination, if it worked keep it and if not drop it.
Initiate Change: You have to give yourself permission to begin where you are and instead of the dreaming of the quick fix give yourself some time to sort out what is the “root” of the behavior or patterns. This takes time, get a journal, a sacred place to write about you. Additionally, through this initiation phase of change, a guide, teacher, therapist, coach can be so helpful to assist you in your journey to see what you need to see typically in a more quick way. Begin where you are.
Life is Spiral: An invite to you. Life is spiral, it might feel like you are making progress but then you slip back, you might feel like this is a failure, absolutely not. Here is what I want you to know: the true path of real change is spiral and you will continue upwards to transform and elevate your life. .. You are finding your true north.. Trust me this is the journey.
Stress Reduction: Stress reduction is so important especially when you are working to change patterns within you. There are simple ways to decrease stress through working with mind.body connection and nature. Stress reduction is necessary to navigate changes in healthy and effective ways.. Belly Breath can have a profound impact on our stress levels. Walking 45 minutes a day soaks up cortisol (the stress hormone) and being in nature has so many benefits on the mind, body, emotions and your life in general. It gives you big perspectives on the details of life. Get to that belly breathing, okay.
Self-Love: And finally, Yes SELF-LOVE , it is an integral part of transformation. Self-love is not just hot baths, massages, and all the feel goods. It is also understanding you and giving yourself time and patience as you learn new ways to transform. It is learning your voice, boundaries, and practicing self-care. Self-love is creating time, space, and integrating healing practices into your life that impact what I like to call the biopsychoemotionalecological parts of you. Self-love can begin by changing our self-talk and learning to love and accept all parts of you are while on the journey of change.
In this post, I have given you just a few ideas to get you started on your transformation path self-love, illumination, stress reduction. Now go get a journal, write a few minutes a day, and do one action today that will move you in that direction. You have got this......
Blessings, Blue Skies, and Sunshine,
I would like to introduce you to my tagline... Illuminate. Transform. Elevate and what it means. First, I want to say that one size does not fit all but Illuminate.Transform.Elevate is a powerful way of understanding transformation.
A little bit of my story... I have been in private practice for over 22 years and began my own healing path when I was just the ripe age of 21. Therefore, cumulative I have about 32 years of experience in this crazy world of healing, psychology and the beautiful experience of watching myself and so many others on the transformative path of healing.
You may be asking what does this transformative path look like? Well, here is what I can tell you, I have studied with many master teachers from psychology, energy medicine, shamanic practices, and healers from ancient wisdom practices to the professionals who have held the highest levels of accolades. Here is my thought...there are many paths to healing but these three illuminate.transform.elevate. are so powerful on the healing journey.
Realize this... each of us is so different, we have are own traumas, our own experiences, our own personality and the gifts and struggles of our individual life. Let's accept that first. In my life, I have risen many times over and continue to grow on my path, despite the challenges and losses of my life or my history of abuse, neglect, and abandonment.
How did I figure this out? Here is what happened... A few years ago working in my private practice, I had the realization after an Integrative Psychotherapy session about illuminating patterns (Patterns are the big deal! I could go on and on, but that is for another post. This is only my second one, you know!). If we are able to see our patterns then the next actions come much easier. If someone tries to transform or elevate their life without understanding where these issues are rooted, they will typically continue going around the same circle - maybe some progress but the two steps forward, one step back scenario. But, if they can illuminate their patterns which aren't working, this includes relationships, behaviors, and lifestyles, then they can truly begin to transform those stuck or challenging places which then will allow life to elevate in a more genuine harmonious way.
How would this look if I work with you? First, as a fellow journeyer, I will offer invites (this is your journey), use my skills and tools to walk with you on your path. I hope to be a part of the illumination of "your stuff." Your patterns, your traumas, your relationships, and your ways of being that keep you in the "stuck places." As you see these patterns that aren't working, we will apply the tools that you need and watch as you elevate your life to a life that is in alignment with you.
My invite... Follow your own heart, mind, body, and soul. This is your journey and I hope for you the absolute best.
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Psychology Today describes Integrative Psychotherapy (IP): “Integrative therapy is a progressive form of psychotherapy that combines different therapeutic tools and approaches to fit the needs of the individual client. With an understanding of normal human development, an integrative therapist modifies standard treatments to fill in development gaps that affect each client in different ways. By combining elements drawn from different schools of psychological theory and research, integrative therapy becomes a more flexible and inclusive approach to treatment than more traditional, singular forms of psychotherapy” (Integrative Therapy, n.d. para. 1)
As for me, I was fortunate to be one of the 1st wave of students to participate and attain A Ph.D. in Integrative Psychotherapy with a specialization in Mind.Body Medicine from Saybrook University. My Ph.D. program was a collaboration between Dr. James Gordon, the Director of the Center of Mind.Body Medicine, Washington D.C., and Saybrook University, a school which was built on the foundation “… that embodied the values of the 'human growth and potential movement' and to educate practitioner-scholars in the methods and philosophies of human-centered psychotherapy” (Wikipedia contributors, n.d. para.4).
My IP approach emphasizes we are humans on this journey and my goal is to co-partner with you to offer strategies, insights and skills that solve your issues in a deeper, true to you, and more profound way.
Let me give you an example...
A Common Issue: You have chronic anxiety and don’t want to take medications.. We look at the issues in your life that may be causing anxiety such as not speaking your voice, struggling with boundaries, trauma in your life, relationship issues, codependent patterns, abuse, and/or feelings you don’t belong or whatever root issue.
Next, we address anxiety from a bio.phsio.psycho.mental.emotional.relational.ecological levels, I know a super long word.. (I just made it up) yet we do this in simple, easy and time effective ways.
An example of my approach: I may teach you deep breathing techniques, visualizations and relaxation techniques (this will most likely happen), that will calm your biology, then we will talk about what will help you on a mental, emotional, physical level. Maybe we focus on what triggers the anxiety and then we create new mental, body patterns to address it from a calm perspective, maybe we look at your nature and how you are living, your relationships and how they are working or not?. I will most likely teach you my “the back porch method” which tends to be so helpful to many people when it comes to navigating your relationships. Then we will discuss how to be in your nature and how the outside world can bring healing to you and vice versa. We will practice different strategies and patterns until we find the balance that works for you. We may include mind.body medicine practices of mindfulness and meditation and the sacred. As we do this work you most likely will illuminate, transform and elevate your life.
If you have any questions or want to begin your journey. Contact us now.
From The Willow Tree and Me….
Dr. Melisa is a Ph.D. in Mind Body Medicine with a specialization in integrative psychotherapy. She is the owner of Skyeia Holistic Services and The Willow Tree and Me, an Integrative wellness and private psychotherapy practice located in Maryland.