Why Do We Include Experiential and Somatic Therapies?
While much of what we do at Reasons includes talking in groups and individual sessions about a variety of issues and learning skills such as CBT and DBT, we also believe that words alone are not enough. It is essential to include the body in the work that is being done. Patients with eating disorders often are overly focused on, yet at the same time disconnected or estranged from their bodies. Experiential and Somatic Therapies is one of the ways through which we help our patients begin the process of healing not only from an eating disorder, but also from co-occurring issues such as trauma symptoms experienced in the body, emotion dysregulation, anxiety, and depression. So often symptoms are experienced in the body and particularly with eating disorders, there is a large focus on body disturbances such as the image one sees when they look at their body or perhaps the physical symptoms manifesting from eating disordered behaviors. We have a strong belief in the importance of including program elements that include the body as well as the creative process to facilitate healing and build skills our patients can access in their lives when challenges arise.
Through the intentional and expert-guided inclusion of the body in the therapeutic process patients have the opportunity to integrate mental, emotional, physical, social, and spiritual aspects of themselves into the treatment and recovery process. We offer various opportunities each week for patients to engage with their own unique creative process, develop a new relationship with their bodies, and reconnect body and mind in the service of healing.
Learn more about our Experiential and Somatic Therapies:
Our therapeutic approach to yoga is low stakes. It is a safe practice that can mimic life off the mat. Yoga poses and stretches often carry similarities to themes and sensations that are inevitable in life. Our hope is to use the practice of yoga and meditation to train our patients to dialogue with pain and discomforts and make respectful adjustments without pushing past or ignoring them and without detaching or shutting down.
Our holistic approach to dance movement therapy works with the mind-body connection to offer patients an opportunity to therapeutically attune to body sensations and breath. The intention is to help patients re-connect their mind and bodies through movement and attention as well as experience physical and emotional sensations in an environment of safety.
Our integration of Music Therapy into our program includes lyric analysis,song writing and composition (both individually and as a group), lyric discussion, creative expression through music, therapeutic singing and vocalizing, and education on emotional response and regulation through music. In addition, focus is placed on increasing body awareness through rhythmic activities, such as drumming and body percussion, toning and humming, and providing a safe experience to express a wide range of emotions.
Art and Creativity
Our Art and Creativity groups are designed to provide patients the opportunity to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, develop self-awareness, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem and coping skills. A goal in art therapy is improve a sense of well-being and access freedom from perfectionism during the creative process. In this process there is no right or wrong, simply coming together in a group to use various artistic media to express themes they are working on in therapy through their bodies instead of with words.
The act of writing can help our patients make sense of life experiences, attune to themselves, connect with others, and arrive at a deeper understanding of their unique story and their sense of self. Creative writing is a meaningful adjunct to talk therapies as it allows the patient to write and re-write their personal narrative, explore deeper aspects of themselves and what they hope for their future story. This may include free writing, writing prompts, a theme, a short story, or working on a trauma narrative. Some of these writing exercises are shared in a group setting and others are explored more in individual therapy.
Our Drama Therapy groups are first and foremost, gentle, supportive and progressive in nature. This treatment modality is used as an active and experiential way for our patients to tell their story and practice using their voice, express a theme they are working with in therapy, and experience some release of emotions that are stored in their bodies. Our drama therapist uses improvisation, text, acting, and embodying roles in order to practice limit and boundary setting, stimulate the imagination, increase healthy connections with others in the group, foster a sense of play and empower the sense of self in the patient. Drama Therapy engages the body and mind in the creative therapeutic process making it a powerful therapeutic modality for our patients struggling with a disconnect between the two. It is important to note that no experience or skill in drama or acting is required for patients to attend and benefit from this group.