How long will it take?
The average client will see me for weekly sessions over a period of 2 months to 2 years.
How long it will take for you depends on many factors including what your goals are, how severe your presenting symptoms are, how much you are able to reduce your life stressors, and how much you practise creating new healthy patterns. At the end of the first or second session we can talk about your goals and give you an estimate of how long we will need to work together.
What I can promise is that each session you will experience some positive improvements, such as reduced stress and anxiety, increased relaxation, being more present, and experiencing more positive feelings.
If you want a specific answer to you, I can have a better sense of that after our first few sessions.
Does Somatic Therapy involve hands on touch by the therapist?
Normally Somatic Therapy is done without the use of touch. Much of the somatic work happens just by paying attention to body sensations and movements.
In some instances the therapy process can be accelerated by the addition of touch – e.g. a hand on your shoulder. If a situation arises in which some specific form of touch may be helpful for you, this will be discussed with you and your preferences and boundaries will be absolutely respected and supported.
What is the difference between anxiety and stress?
Anxiety and stress are closely related yet the terms can mean different things to different people.
Anxiety usually refers to our mind focusing on some future event or possibility that may we anticipate to be negative or threatening to us.
Stress is a physiological response of the body that includes sympathetic activation of the nervous system and the release of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. People often notice stress by the tightness in their body or the shallowness of their breathing response.
What about cognitive therapy?
For those of you have previously tried talk therapy, you may have experienced Cognitive Therapy – a therapy that believes that the cause of anxiety and chronic stress is problematic thoughts and beliefs. With this as its assumption, Cognitive Therapy works with you to gain awareness of problematic thought patterns such as catastrophizing and irrational beliefs, and then find ways to change these into positive thinking patterns.
If you have benefited from cognitive therapy or positive affirmations, then I encourage you to continue practising what has been helpful for you. However, if these positive thinking approaches have turned out to be useless or frustrating for you, know that you are not alone.
Many people suffering from severe anxiety or chronic stress describe their attempts at positive thinking as being like a caboose trying to pull a moving train in the opposite direction that its going. When your nervous system is significantly out of balance, the part of your brain that is trying to think positively (your neo-cortex) can often have a limited impact on countering the freight train of an underlying fight, flight, and/or freeze threat response. If cognitive and talk therapy has failed you, please try out the Somatic Therapy approaches that I offer.