• Julian & Michaela

Therapy for the Body as Well as the Mind

Human beings place a lot of faith in the power of thought. It is our ability to reason - to think rationally and logically - which has often been held up as the thing which distinguishes us from the animal kingdom.

Increasingly, however, therapists recognise that the thinking mind is not the be all and end all of who we are, and certainly not the only means of sorting out our personal problems, which usually have a physical and emotional dimension that also need attention.

Not all the difficulties we face can be thought-through to a satisfactory resolution. Indeed when we try to sort out our problems in this way we can get caught up in circularity and over-thinking. Many clients sight their tendency to overthink problems as part of their reason for coming for therapy.

As a result therapists are looking to other ways of working with their clients which involve more than just talking issues through. These methods often involve working with the five senses, in particular the senses of sight, sound and touch. Therapies such as EMDR and EFT make use of eye movement and tapping on the body. Guided relaxation methods have been used for many years by hypnotherapists and are now incorporated into other models of practice.

This may all sound a bit strange, but if you think about it the advantages of working in these ways become obvious. The psychological benefits not just of yoga and body massage, but of all forms of physical activity are now universally acknowledged.

Walk and talk therapy has increasingly been use during the Covid-19 social restrictions, bringing together talking with the simple physical activity of walking. At the same time this also encourages sensory engagement with the natural environment.

Simple sensory experiences can also be easily utilised for self-help purposes as is shown in this useful self-soothing illustration. This graphic helps to elucidate some of the simple ways we can help to nurture our sense of mental as well as physical wellbeing.