Have you ever gotten emotional during the cool down portion of a fitness class? Or maybe you were in the middle of holding a yoga pose, and as if you had been cracked open, began to cry. This physical release of emotion may seem embarrassing in the middle of your Sunday sweat session, but what you are experiencing is your body letting go of trapped emotions, a healthy and necessary process.
What Is Integrative Psychotherapy
Integrative psychotherapy, like that at Indigo 108, combines care for mental health to include the body, mind, and spirit, in order to move further into feeling and ultimately further into healing. Integrative psychotherapy does not use a single mode approach with patients, but rather draws on different techniques to find the best and most tailored care. Indigo 108 at Be.Well uses Ayurveda as a framework and a lens through which we look at mental health holistically, to find ways to improve the treatment and target the specific needs of a patient.
Ayurveda and Indigo 108
Ayurveda is an all encompassing approach to health and wellness that some argue is the oldest form of healing medicine. While Ayurveda has been practiced in Eastern medicine for centuries, it is slowly becoming more popular and accepted in the Western world. Ayurveda promotes healing from and preventing illness by treating the body, mind, and consciousness together as one, to promote balance. Using methods such as meditation, yoga, breathwork, proper diet, and herbs, Ayurvedic treatment focuses on rebalancing the doshas, or the three basic energy types present in each person.
The original roots of my journey with integrative psychotherapy stem from my own personal experience as a student. As a student, I studied yoga and therapy in tandem, so they have always lived together in my mind. It was through my personal experience of practicing yoga and talk therapy at the same time, that I was able to see just how connected our emotions are to our physical bodies. I would find myself crying while mastering a pose, wondering what was making me feel so deeply, where I was holding onto those emotions in my physical body, and how I could release them. These profound moments on the yoga mat, lead me to dig deeper, but also lead me to deeply understand that because the body and the mind are so closely connected to one another, they cannot be separated when you are trying to heal one or both.
Two Practices Coming Together- the Mind and the Body
What I was experiencing then, and what you may have experienced in your own life, was the physical manifestation of emotions and feelings. Our feelings quite physically get trapped inside our bodies if we don’t move through it. At Indigo 108, we use tools like meditation, yoga, and breathwork to help our patients access feelings, memories, and emotions, so that they can move through their feelings and process emotions that have been unable to release.
It is quite common for people to disconnect their body from their mind in order to protect themselves from feeling too much. Feelings, memories, and emotions can be overwhelming, whether those feelings are negative or positive, so disconnecting physically is a coping mechanism. People are capable of living outside of their physical being, especially as a way to keep pushing through pain, emotion, and trauma. This disconnect can be a useful skill, when in trauma, but must be released in order to reach the acceptance stage.
Feelings, memories, and traumas can actually cause physical pain. When we hold onto, rather than release our feelings, we may experience aches and pains, because our bodies literally keep the score of each and every one of our experiences. When the body and the mind begin to integrate, the feeling states can easily and comfortably sit in the body. You can physically see a shift in the body when someone has begun to get more grounded and reconnect to their physical being.
Connecting your mental health to your physical body essentially creates freedom; freedom in movement and more freedom in the mind. It creates freedom and space that allows for more thoughts and more feelings. You will feel more pleasure and also more experience of pain, which allows grief, processing, and healing to begin. In order to move forward, you need to feel the emotions, even if the emotions are sadness, anger, or grief.
What Does Integrative Psychotherapy Look Like
Typically, therapists only have a psychiatrist on their care team. We are not often talking to yoga instructors, primary care physicians, nutritionists, and other health care providers to gather information about our patients. This fractured style of healthcare ignores that we are all humans whose minds, consciousness, and bodies are deeply interconnected. If we continue to keep the body separate from the mind, we end up needing dozens of different doctors and providers to give us care, rather than one practice that, looking at the whole picture, can provide unified and comprehensive attention.
Indigo 108 is not looking at mental health as a pathology, but rather self care. Typically when we think of mental health services, we are thinking of it as poverty based. As in, we need these services because we are unable to take care of ourselves or we are somehow lacking or in need. With an integrated system like Indigo 108, that incorporates both mental health and the physical body, we are able to take a preventative approach to mental health. Just like eating a heart healthy diet to help prevent heart disease, continuing to give language to your mental health and being present in your body is a form of preventative, sustainable, and ongoing mental and emotional self care. It saves time, energy, and resources to have a treatment team that is collaboratively looking at you as a unique individual.
With this integrative work, we are able to help our patients ground themselves in both the body and in the mind. Movement, breathwork, talk therapy, meditation, and yoga are some of the ways that we are able to help our patients feel and get closer to a deeper understanding of themselves, healing from trauma, and moving forward with a more positive and healthy overall sense of well being. Integrative Psychotherapy is cutting edge, forward thinking, collaborative, and individualized for each patient. If you want to take a more comprehensive look at your mental health, Integrative psychotherapy, like the modality at Indigo 108, may be what you need.
With offices in both Midtown Manhattan, New York and Hoboken, as well as virtual therapy sessions, Indigo 108 and Be.WELL. can help you take control of your mental well being, and begin to connect your mind, body, and spirit.