"Inner Journey" is a term I created that refers to a combination of techniques I use regularly. It incorporates both guided imagery as well as using body sensation to gain access your own inner wisdom. During this technique, the brain is shifted into a more relaxed and receptive state. It is not traditional hypnosis or pure guided imagery; rather it is much more interactive between the client and therapist, and between the client and his or her own body. Inner Journey can be used to gain insight and self-compassion, decrease anxiety, change a behavior, and heal emotional wounds from childhood. Often people access different aspects of themselves that they weren't previously aware of. I have found it to be extremely powerful even in just a few sessions for clients who are open to this type of technique. Clients have reported real and lasting change as a result of doing Inner Journey.
Guided imagery has a wide variety of applications including helping with emotional regulation, increasing one's sense of resiliency and strength, coping with painful memories, and decreasing anxiety. I've used it successfully with clients who have specific fears as well as nightmares and chronic pain. Like Inner Journey, guided imagery involves shifting the brain into a more relaxed and receptive state but is primarily led by the therapist with verbal prompts. It is different than Inner Journey in that it's not body-centered, and it's not very interactive between client and therapist. One of the benefits to doing guided imagery in therapy rather than just buying a CD or picking something online is that I can tailor it to your specific needs and wants. Many clients choose to record guided imagery sessions so they can listen to them on their own for reinforcement. I've been told that my voice is very soothing which is the key ingredient to effective guided imagery.
Yoga is an ancient practice with multiple aspects including breathing techniques, specific body postures, and mental focus. Benefits of yoga are both physical and emotional, and are especially helpful for those struggling with anxiety, trauma, dissociation, and depression. Anyone can do yoga; it's a myth that you must be flexible, and it's fine if you have never done yoga before as well. I use several styles of yoga such as Gentle and Restorative. Clients share that as a result of regular yoga practice, they are better able to stay present even during stressful situations, and have a sense of "more room to breathe" within their bodies. I provide the mat and all other supplies. I completed my yoga teacher training at the Yoga Center of Columbia in 2017 and have been practicing on my own for over 20 years. When using yoga in session with clients, I participate as well, and it's a wonderful compliment to "talking" sessions. Sometimes clients will come to a session in emotional distress but they aren't ready to talk about it. That's a good day for yoga, and they always leave feeling better even without talking at all about what's bothering them. There's a wisdom as well as a science behind yoga and I use it because it works!
Breathing is a key component of yoga but is also very helpful to do by itself without any physical movement. Some breathing techniques decrease anxiety while others energize and ground the body as well as ease depression. I can't say enough about how powerful breathing exercises are! Every time I have done breathing exercises in session with a client, that person has left saying they feel so much better and want to do it again! I use a small biofeedback machine called an HRV monitor (Heart Rate Variability Monitor) while teaching the breathing techniques so that you can see in real time how your nervous system is responding. Clients often purchase their own HRV monitor and use the breathing exercises throughout the day to manage their mood. The more you practice specific breathing exercises, the more natural they will become and you won't have to think much about what to do or how to do it. You don't want to wait until you are about to have a panic attack to try to remember what to do! Practice "whenever" and you will see the cumulative benefits, I promise you! Plus, breathing is free, portable, and you always have access to it!