More creative therapy spaces:
Following a post a couple of weeks ago I thought I would share some more insight into the other non-talk therapies that many of the therapists at Thea Baker Wellbeing (TBW) have specialised training in. Remember that when it comes to working with implicit memories (things we don’t recall, picture-based memories of) that our bodies, beliefs and behaviours are strongly affected by, it makes sense that we often struggle to find words to explain what we are trying to express. It makes talk therapy a little slow and pointless. When we’re working with children or particularly vulnerable people in therapy talk therapy can also be inappropriate, so we love being able to work with a range of creative approaches.
In case you aren’t aware of my background, I used to work as a specialised Women’s Health Coach, working with women who were postpartum and looking to return to mainstream exercise, though most of whom had experienced some form of birth trauma (psychological or physiological). I worked with women who had experienced a long and protracted labour, severe vaginal tears, forceps deliveries and episiotomies. I worked with women who had suffered multiple miscarriages, stillbirths and late-term loss. Many of the women I worked with had pelvic floor damage, pelvic organ prolapse, pudendal nerve damage, experienced urinary and faecal incontinence, pelvic pain and painful sex after birth. (See this blog: Childbirth is a contact sport https://www.theabaker.com.au/childbirth-is-a-contact-sport/ if you want to learn more about this).
Their bodies told me so much about how they felt about their experiences. There were numerous times when I would be exploring what kind of connection the women had with their core function and their pelvic floor and just mentioning certain muscles or groups of muscles would cause other muscles to contract. It was honestly staggering. The body really does keep the score, and it was the start of my fascination somatic approaches to working with trauma.
There are a range of different approaches that we might use that would be classified as somatic modalities:
- Dance and movement therapy (DMT)
- Compassionate Inquiry (CI)
- Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR)
- Somatic Experiencing (SE)
- Trauma Release Exercise (TRE)
Somatic psychotherapy is all about shifting the approach from thinking to feeling and focuses on the profoundly powerful connections between the body and the mind, and how those connections affect how we process and recover from trauma and other forms of emotional distress. Somatic psychotherapy begins with the body, working to discover how and where trauma is being physically experienced – and finding ways to safely ‘discharge’ the energy related to that trauma.
Thea and Zhamilya work with somatic psychotherapies, Thea out of Croydon and Camberwell practices and Zhamilya online.
Play therapy is a form of therapy that is primarily geared towards children, however in recent years there has been a greater appreciation that adults can really benefit from play therapy. Though play is often regarded as a way for individuals, particularly children, to relax, scientific research has shown that play is a crucial factor in healthy child development. Play optimises learning, it enhances relationships and improves health and wellbeing. Playful exploration has been proven to enhance both cognitive and physical behaviours and there is a significant amount of research from the fields of neurophysiology and molecular biology that support play therapy as a valid therapeutic technique for people of all ages.
During play therapy, children are allowed to play with as few limits as possible. The therapist usually has a whole range of toys including indoor sports equipment like hula hoops or soft and spiky balls. The therapist might also incorporate things like therapeutic storytelling, music, dance and movement drama or role play can creative visualisation.
Play therapy can be nondirective or directive. Nondirective play therapy is grounded in the idea that if allowed optimal therapeutic conditions and the freedom to play, children in therapy will be able to resolves issues on their own. This approach is viewed as non-intrusive since there is minimal instruction from the therapist regarding how a child should engage in play. Directed play therapy involves much greater input from the therapist and is based on the belief that faster therapeutic results may be obtained than in nondirective play therapy sessions.
Nina and Jen utilise play therapy in the Croydon practice.
If you would like to explore some creative approaches to therapy, we have a team of therapists at Thea Baker Wellbeing and we have IMMEDIATE availability – please reach out to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org / 03 9077 8194.