So what is psychotherapy, anyway?

I know that if you’ve never been to therapy, the idea can be daunting. Many new clients tell me how nervous they were with no idea what to expect, from basic logistics to what they can hope for in terms of relief from what’s bothering them.

To begin, the word therapy comes from the Greek word therapeuein, which means to attend, guide or serve. Psyche translates, loosely, to “soul.”

This psychotherapy definition is radically different than the one since Freud’s time, in which therapists treated only the mind- “talk therapy.” That approach excludes the body. 

Sprinkle a little ancient philosophy into your daily routines | Psyche Ideas

Talking alone cannot encompass the experience of the whole person. It’s like texting as the only means of communication: it gives us some information, but leaves out so much. And, as Bessel Van der Kolk says, the body keeps the score, meaning that everything that happens to us (including trauma) is stored in the body. 

This is why what I practice what I call “talk therapy plus,” which means speaking through some of the things on your mind to find the recurrent themes. From there, we use experiential methods to help you embody what’s bothering you. This simply means feeling and experiencing through your body versus just your mind.

These methods can include role play, making art, and focusing on the sensations in your body. Sometimes we talk more; sometimes we do less talking and play more. For example: Paying attention to how your breathing changes as you tell a story tells us so much about where you are limited and where you are free. Making art gives us another window into how you actually feel versus how you wish you felt. 

All of this said, I know that the idea of experiential therapy can be scary. We spend so much time trying not to be vulnerable.

This is why I take it slow and move as slowly as you need. I do this because you can’t do the work if you’re stressed, AND if change happens too quickly it can overwhelm or even trigger you. Moving at a slower pace means that when you do experience positive change, it sticks. 

You are the expert on yourself. I’m not here to tell you what to do or to judge your decisions. I am here to witness as you explore some painful places and try on new ways of being. But in the end, my primary role is to help you accept all of you. 

Book a free consultation today.

Published by jenthegiant

I'm a music therapist (Licensed Creative Arts Therapist #593-01) of over 20 years. I have a Psychotherapy Creative Arts practice in Manhattan. I am equally good at treating children and adults, using music to improve motor, social, cognitive, and communication skills. I am a Neurologic Music Therapy Fellow and have been researching the effect of drumming with patients with Parkinson's disease and survivors of stroke. I am passionate about using music to address the whole person, coming from a strength-based and humanistic approach to help clients achieve their goals through joy and fun.

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