Touch Therapy is a bodywork modality designed to meet the needs of clients with trauma or abuse histories. Therapists encourage client empowerment and choice, which aids the client in accessing their somatic issues in a safe, nurturing environment. The work is done on a very individual basis and almost always interfaces with the psychotherapeutic process. Clients need to be willing to connect deeply with themselves and take responsibility for their own experience and healing. It is not something “done”, nor is it a method of “fixing”.
Client traumas include: physical abuse, mental/emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, post-war trauma, environmental trauma, surgical trauma, auto accidents, physical injury, childhood traumas, sufferers of PTSD.
Touch therapy (simple touch & hold) is all client directed and therapist facilitated. It can incorporate massage, art, play, breath & movement therapies all with a body- centered focus. The intent is to allow the body to heal itself from past trauma, explore healthy touch, investigate sensation and feeling in the body, learn to sense and feel without dissociating, and encourage self empowerment. Of prime importance is the degree to which the client remains present with touch. Dissociation can lead to re-traumatization.
The work of the therapist is to form an equal partnership with the client, to discover a place that wants attention in the body, and to simply be with that area and wait until something presents itself. Trust that something will happen. The client has complete control to the degree that any area is explored. The therapist is there to hold the space, to be a witness, and to track what’s happening in body.
In my typical sessions, I may guide you through a self body scan exercise. This brings your awareness into your body. We can discuss anything that draws your attention as a place to start. If you are unsure, I may do a general listening where I place my hand on top of your head to see if any area of your body draws my attention, and we can discuss this as a place to start. Going to that body part, I will generally start with a simple touch and hold. The goal is to bring your awareness to your body, without dissociating, and listen, without judgment, to anything that emerges. If you are comfortable we can explore that part deeper with a variety of tools including talk, movement, breath, light tissue massage, myofascial release, unwinding, cranial, visceral, aroma therapy, etc. You tell me what you find helpful, not helpful, to touch, to stay, to hold, to massage, to release. After you feel that you have explored that area enough for this session you direct me to another area that you would like to explore. We progress though as much of the body as you want and as time allows. If at any point you become unsure of what to do next we can try more general listening or body scanning.
See Article on trauma to learn more about trauma and the cycles of trauma and healing.
Mountain Meadow Massage Therapy
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