The growing disconnect we have to our bodies and emotional lives has been attributed as key factors towards mental health concerns in today's society. Having access to this vital information is what not only enables us to recognize the signs and symptoms of when we are stretching ourselves too thin, but also provides us with a way of evaluating what is truly meaningful and important to us.
At Connect-IN Counselling, I work with clients in a way that sees the mind and body as inextricably connected: utilizing top-down 'talk therapy' while also incorporating somatic body-based psychotherapy. Because I believe that regaining a sense of wholeness requires working with the 'whole' person, from multiple levels--with the client informing the direction of treatment most suitable to their needs.
Wellness and Mind-Body Connection
“The sorrow which has no vent in tears may make other organs weep.” ~ Henry Maudsley
“The person who does not feel or express ‘negative’ emotion will be isolated even if surrounded by friends, because his real self is not seen. The sense of hopelessness follows from the chronic inability to be true to oneself on the deepest level." ~ Gabor Mate, M.D
"Neuroscience research shows that the only way we can change the way we feel is by becoming aware of our inner experience and learning to befriend what is going inside ourselves.” ~ Bessel van der Kolk, M.D
When it comes to pursuing one’s goals in life--whether that be health, success, or happiness--how often have you come across lines such as “Mind over matter”, “No pain no gain”, or even “Feel the fear and do it anyways!”. These statements are all geared towards motivating behavior where will power and control over one’s environment are praised as virtuous and desirable. But what happens when one’s vision becomes so narrowed towards achieving their external goals that they lose touch with their internal environments--their bodies? Without being in connection with our bodies, how are we to know what is meaningful and important to us, as opposed to chasing after something that we were told to believe is worthwhile in pursuing?
It is our feelings and sensations in our body which guide our decisions, letting us know when something feels good and ‘right’, and informing us when we may need to make a course-correction. Unfortunately, we live in a society which generally devalues our emotional side, favouring rationality and stoicism, or a ‘Keep calm, carry on’ attitude which doesn’t allow much room for expressivity and introspection. This is especially the case in traditional conceptions of masculinity, as well as what is considered to be preferable in business, which not only affects men but women as well as they are emerging (rightfully so) in the workforce.
Keeping this steady development of emotional/bodily disconnection in mind, it should come as to no surprise around the upsurge of people experiencing depression, burnouts, and panic attacks, with chronic pain being given the status of an epidemic problem in North America.
Addressing this issue is a passion of mine, inspired originally from my own personal issues of ‘medically unexplained symptoms’ that presented itself in the body. The knowledge I acquired as a result came out of necessity, and it is from this place of lived experience that I wish to share with others.