An Integrated Mind-Body Approach
Yoga philosophy and psychology provide us with concepts and ways of understanding our relationship with the world, others and ourselves. These concepts provide us with ways of viewing our human experience and can be used in an integrative way with western relational and psychological concepts used to explain mind-body experiences. The integration of these frameworks provide a unique approach to therapy.
Eastern yoga philosophy gives us the philosophical life view of non-dualism which literally means “not-two”. This approach to life encourages us to view ourselves not as something that is broken or needs fixing but something that is whole and complete, just as we are. This viewpoint shares similarities with strengths and system based frameworks used in health, acknowledging and building on existing strengths to move towards a healthier homeostasis. Western psychological theories coming from relational and humanistic psychotherapies echo these conceptual ways of viewing the human experience. From this vantage point we move from needing therapy to fix us but rather to using therapy as a way of building on our strengths and adding to who we already are.
A non-dualistic approach to health encourages us to take the viewpoint that we are all whole and unique just as we are and that we are inter-connected, dependent and relational in how we relate to each other and the world around us. Therefore using this framework allows us to see that our mental distress and health issues are purely a manifestation and result of the experiences we have endured rather than a part of us. In therapy we work together with the mind and the body, uniting the two in order to move towards health.
Relational psychotherapy frameworks are consistent with this view as this approach suggests that when we are born and develop from baby through to adult we learn to individuate and separate from our primary care giver in order to develop into a functioning adult. Relational psychotherapy considers early life experiences as implicitly important in the development of the way that we relate to the world, others and with ourselves. Our early experiences in this human journey provide us with information about why we engage in particular patterned ways of being. Through understanding this we can identify unhelpful patterns that we are enacting day to day, identify where these arose from and then develop skills to notice and alter these accordingly.
Our early experiences in this human journey provide us with information about WHY we engage in particular patterned ways of being. Through understanding this we can identify unhelpful patterns that we are enacting day to day, identify where these arose from and then develop skills to notice and alter these accordingly.
We do this by looking at your life story and identify how their experiences have impacted them and their relationship to themselves and to others. This provides understanding into why we engage in unhelpful patterns of behaviour and thinking as at one stage they were helpful to us within our life stories. These approaches provide us with this deep understanding and insight into how and why these occur and when we find these answers we can then accept these and move forward.
Sessions are collaborative, exploratory and the work is co-created in order for it to meaningful and support individuals in their development. Psychotherapy tools and yoga psychology concepts are used in order to guide and structure sessions which provide grounding, anchor points along the journey and taken outside of session so that you can continue self-development independently. Expressive modalities such as art, movement, sandtray play and music are used in session in order to support us to connect with experience and explore emotional content. These approaches allow us to find words to things that are difficult to access and offer opportunities to develop new ways of seeing our stories.
From here we develop your own individualised toolbox of practices and strategies that you can use to manage your mental health day to day. Individual somatic yoga practices and western psychological strategies are identified so that together we identify the tools that work for you as an unique individual. This could be a combination of yoga, breath work, meditation along with lifestyle, relationship and other environmental adaptations. These tools support you to develop improved relationships with yourself, others and the world more broadly around you.
Through yoga practices relational patterns can be noticed and adapted on the yoga mat. We can then take this learning, this new embodied experience and broaden it to the rest of our lives, moving towards relationships that are mindful, supportive and that allow us to then engage in what gives us meaning. Integrating these approaches with psychological interventions provides us with an enhanced toolbox of strategies including neurocognitive (top-down) and neurophysiological (bottom up) tools that can be used as we need them.