Conscious Living Counseling & Education Center practices evidence-based solutions for wellness. Our approach to mental health includes emotional, cognitive and body awareness.
The Clinical Care Program provides somatic (body-based) skills that include breath training, body awareness, and anxiety-symptom exposure.
Why include somatic care in the therapy for anxiety and depression?
Somatic skills are used in exposure treatment for anxiety and depression disorders. By definition, somatic work is being aware of body sensations and responding in a helpful way.
We use the studio space to increase symptoms in the “here and now” in order to learn how to manage symptoms common with a panic attack or general anxiety.
Why is learning to “feel” anxious helpful?
The stress response, to real or imagined threats, has a significant impact on the body. When you sense danger, it triggers an automatic physiological reaction resulting in a surge of adrenaline and the release of stress hormones. This shift creates a chain reaction in your body that results in noticeable physical and emotional symptoms.
The results include anxiety sensations, sharpened concentration, a surge of energy, and an improved ability to respond to a stressful situation. When the threat is removed, the body enters repair-mode and calms. The body, in a healthy way, can go back and forth between these states. People living with anxiety and depression disorders do not experience it this way. We practice reconnection to the body’s alarm system to change symptoms.
Somatic work is also an essential piece of cognitive therapy for emotion regulation as emotions are often experienced in the body. The overall goal is to manage body sensations, emotions and cognitions in a helpful way.
What about relaxation therapy? Is learning how to relax beneficial for an anxiety disorder?
Yes- and no. You can’t force the body to relax. You do certain things and the body relaxes. If you are practicing relaxation techniques to block out tension or to avoid feeling anxious, the technique can actually worsen an anxiety disorder. We introduce somatic skills in a specific way. Then, the body relaxes. There is nothing wrong with experiencing anxiety or non-rhythmic breathing as the body is always in flux. Your counseling therapist will help you learn how to practice somatic techniques in a way that is helpful in the recovery from an anxiety disorder.
Why do we increase symptoms in therapy?
You will learn ways to cope with current or future negative symptoms. Recovery from anxiety and depression is an active and engaged process. It takes dedication, work and daily effort. It just makes sense to teach a person what to do when symptoms are the worst. In order to do this, we trigger low mood, panic or a low energy state in session. This way you can begin to master these states and feel more empowered to address symptoms. It’s about building confidence and successes. It’s an important part of the process.
In the studio, we also practice reconnecting to the body’s anxiety response. The body’s anxiety response is essential for survival and making wise decisions.
Depression often includes very low energy and cognitive atrophy. We learn how to build energy and motion through movement and sensory connection. These are powerful skills.