I want to tell you the story of how I found Integrative Body Psychotherapy. It was a time when my life was torn apart, and I was feeling anxious, depressed and overwhelmed. I needed someone to talk to and I found Vera – Dr. Vera Dunn in Los Angeles to be exact. She’s still there and working her magic.
Even though Vera is slight in stature, and soft and gentle in nature, when I first met her, her presence felt like a pillar of strength. After our first hour together, I felt lifted as I walked out. When I asked if she had homework for me, she said “Notice what you feel in your body.”
What do I feel in my body? Strange. I’d never really thought about how I felt in my body except to notice the odd pain. I couldn’t quite tie the two together – body feelings and what that had to do with anxiety and depression. It remained a mystery for several weeks into my therapy with Vera.
Each week during my sessions, Vera would ask me to take some deep breaths and check into where my breath went in my body. As I took the breaths, I would notice that I felt tired, or that my head or back hurt, or that I wanted to cry. If my shoulders were tense, she would ask me to roll my shoulders and breathe into them. She would notice when I felt something even before I did. I felt attended to in a profound way.
It was after my fifth therapy session when I finally understood the body-mind link. I woke up one night and noticed that my chest felt strangely relaxed. It was a good feeling, but not something I was used to. As Vera and I processed this shift, I realized that I’d probably had a chronic tightening in my chest most of my life.
It was as if my chest wall had developed an armor to protect my heart.
As Vera and I delved deeper into the reason for this protective covering, I realized that I often felt bad and like I’d done something wrong. I began to see that whenever someone appeared upset, I would think I was to blame. I realized how deep this was while driving on the LA Ventura freeway one day when a car passed me and the driver flipped me the finger and looked angry. Automatically I went to what I might have done wrong.
Here’s what I did differently for the first time.
With my new therapy skills, I noticed that my chest tightened, I felt the feeling of shame spreading, and my thoughts spinning about how I must have done something wrong.
I interrupted this old pattern by taking several deep breaths and I brought myself back to presence by noticing the red car on the other side of me, the green sign with white printing, and the gray pavement. (This was all happening while I was driving at 65 mph on the freeway in LA.)
When I could feel my body in the driver’s seat and feel the energy from the breath coursing through me, I kept telling myself I wasn’t bad, I hadn’t done anything wrong. This is an old feeling and not about now.
Now I could really feel like I was in the driver’s seat, not only in the car I was driving, but in my life.
I didn’t have to feel like I was bad anymore.
Fast forward to now and I am now operating a private practice in Vancouver, British Columbia and working on launching an online course “The Core Self Transformation.” I am passionate about IBP and sharing its power with others.
So, what is Integrative Body Psychotherapy (IBP)?
Integrative Body Psychotherapy (IBP) is a somatic therapy, developed 40+ years ago by master therapists, Drs. Jack Lee Rosenberg and Beverly Kitaen-Morse, in Los Angeles. Their focus was to get to the root of their clients’ emotional pain effectively and efficiently and to resolve it once and for all. As news spread about their work, therapists from all over the world came to learn from them and to take the 400-hour training curriculum for mental health professionals in Los Angeles.
How does Integrative Body Psychotherapy help?
- Works with the whole you – body, mind AND spirit. It uses breathwork and movement to wake you up and get you connected inside. Experiential exercises help you understand what is really going on inside you. Through the IBP process you become MORE of you.
- Looks at how you experience yourself and how you move through your life. As you go through the process, you become aware of how you might be tripping yourself up. You get to know yourself in a unique and profound way as you learn to step around the obstacles that once blocked your path forward.
- Enlivens and frees you from unconscious themes and patterns that interrupt your wellbeing, so that you can lead a more fulfilling life. It works with the very essence of who you are so that YOU become more stable and resilient at your core.
- Moves you from stuck to insight, from frozen to flow, and from deadened to vibrant.
- Gets to the root of your emotional pain so that you don’t keep reliving it.
- Uses proven methods and lots of experiential exercises to get you back to a state of thriving and wellbeing.
- Helps ground you because it anchors you in your body’s wisdom.
How is Integrative Body Psychotherapy Different From Other Therapies?
Experienced therapists often describe IBP as the most complete, all encompassing therapy model they’ve ever learned. They say that once they learn IBP methods, they feel confident that they can really make a difference for whatever challenge a client brings to them.
IBP therapists are some of the most highly trained therapists in the world. To become certified as an IBP therapist, they must complete a 400 hour training program and engage in 100 hours of their own personal IBP therapy. Many IBP therapists participate in another 400 hours of training to become certified as IBP teachers.
Integrative Body Psychotherapy is for You if You Want to…
- Change your life rather than only changing your mind
- Do the deep work to enjoy greater self-awareness and aliveness
- Experience a more constant sense of inner peace and wellbeing
- Become a wise and loving parent and partner;
- Love and empower yourself