Experiential & Somatic Therapies2023-06-23T09:08:05+00:00

The Power of Experiential & Somatic Healing Therapy

While much of what we do at Reasons Eating Disorder Center includes talking in groups and individual therapy sessions about a variety of issues, talking is often not enough. It is essential to include the body in the recovery journey. Individuals with eating disorders may be overly focused on, yet at the same time disconnected or estranged from, their bodies.

Experiential and somatic therapies help begin the process of healing. Somatic techniques for anxiety, emotion dysregulation, depression, trauma symptoms and other mental health concerns can foster a more holistic process for patients as they work on their eating disorder recovery.

With eating disorders, there’s often a significant focus on the body and body image, such as the image one sees when they look at themselves or physical symptoms that manifest from eating disordered behaviors. It’s important to include program elements that involve the physical body in both active and creative ways. These types of somatic therapy exercises can facilitate healing and build skills you can access in your life when challenges arise.

Through the intentional and expert-guided inclusion of the body in the therapeutic process, somatic practice gives you the opportunity to integrate mental, emotional, physical, social, and spiritual aspects of yourself into the treatment and recovery process. We offer various opportunities, experiential activities, and enrichment 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.

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 dialogue with pain and discomfort and make respectful adjustments without pushing past them, ignoring them, detaching or shutting down.

“Yoga became something sacred to me during my recovery. I bought my first yoga mat three years ago and since then it has become a 24×68 square inch space that I can put anywhere on the earth and know I can feel safe and protected. I can lie down on my mat and repeat words and phrases to myself that I have heard various yoga teachers say in classes that somehow off the mat I find difficult to believe. In this space, I am allowed to be vulnerable. I’m allowed to have fun like a child and be strong like an adult. I can calm the panic and heal my heart. I used to have the ritual of the eating disorder that helped keep all my emotions contained and now I could not be more grateful to have found that over time I have created a new gentle and loving ritual on this safe 24×68 square inches of mine.” – Former Patient

Our holistic approach to dance movement works with the mind-body connection to therapeutically attune to body sensations and breath. The intention is to re-connect the mind and body through movement and attention as well as experience physical and emotional sensations in a secure environment.

Our integration of music therapy into our program includes lyric analysis, songwriting 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. We also focus 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.

Our art and creativity groups are designed to explore feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, develop self-awareness, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem and coping skills. A goal in art therapy is to 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 therapeutic themes with bodies instead of with words.

The act of writing can help make sense of life experiences, connect with others, and arrive at a deeper understanding of a sense of self. Creative writing is a meaningful adjunct to talk therapies as it allows for the exploration of personal narratives and future hopes and dreams.

This may include freewriting, 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 an active and experiential way to practice self-expression, explore therapeutic themes, and experience emotional release.

Our drama therapist uses improvisation, text, acting, and embodying roles 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.

Drama therapy engages the body and mind in the creative therapeutic process making it a powerful therapeutic modality for resolving body-mind disconnections. No experience or skill in drama or acting is required to attend and benefit from this group.

We Hold Hope for Your Recovery

Eating disorder recovery is not always easy, but it is possible. Let us support you in discovering not only the reasons for your eating disorder but the reasons for your recovery. To schedule a no-cost clinical consultation or for more information, please call 844-573-2766 or use our online contact form. In case of a medical emergency or crisis, please call 911 or seek the nearest emergency room.

Eating Disorder Recovery is Possible

We understand that there are reasons for your eating disorder. We’re here to stand with you during this difficult time. Let’s work together to discover the reasons for your recovery.

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