Every March, for the past ten years, I’ve lead practices on and off the mat at the Psychotherapy Networker Symposium, a mind-expanding four days of workshops, keynotes, dancing and schmoozing with old friends in Washington, DC. Many of the participants in the breakout sessions, the pre-conference workshop and the yoga and meditations I’ve led at the Symposium have gone on to become LifeForce Yoga Practitioners and now integrate many yoga-based practices into their sessions with clients. They find that just a few minutes at the beginning of a session can make a significant difference in the outcome of that session and can bolster the ongoing work of therapy. For instance, when a clinician weaves in a yoga breathing exercise with a mudra (hand gesture) or a simple tone, the therapist finds the client is better able to focus and have access to feelings, without being overwhelmed by them.
None of the LifeForce Yoga practices used in a clinical setting require a mat, and they help the client self-regulate at home and focus on the important issues in the client’s therapy. Therapists often speak of how teaching a client a therapeutic yoga skill, not only empowers the client to manage her mood, but in the act of practicing together, the therapeutic bond is strengthened.
Therapists who suffer from burnout, having heard one traumatic tragedy too many, tell me that their clinical work feels fresh and exciting again. The LifeForce Yoga practices are reinvigorating their clinical practice with moments of clarity, connection and, yes, even bliss.
So, I jumped at the chance, when Richard Simon, the editor of Psychotherapy Networker, asked me to write another article for the magazine. I love sharing with clinicians ways they can enjoy their practice more and help their clients come to see who they really are beneath whatever mood may be visiting or whatever story they’ve been repeating in therapy. The article is just out in the current (July/August) issue. You can read it click here.
To learn additional techniques to use in the therapy room, purchase a copy of Amy’s book Yoga Skills for Therapists. This book introduces healing professionals to the timeless teachings of yoga that are applicable in a clinical setting — no mat required!