Monthly Archives: September 2017

The Use of Touch in Psychotherapeutic Praxis Across Traditions

International experts discuss the various principles involved in touch in psychotherapy practice. Kathy Kain and Aline LaPierre and will be our guests while USABP’s new President, Dr. Chris Walling moderates the panelists in what promises to be an in depth discussion of the various approaches and applications of touch in therapeutic praxis.

September 27th

Part 1 — Audio

MAC user:

Part 2 – Audio/Screen

Is it “All in Your Head?”

What happened to the term “psycho-somatic?  For some reason it is no longer common parlance.  What does the term mean?  In popular usage, the term implied that the ailment referred to was “all in ‘your’ head.”  The roots of the term are the Greek words psyche which means mind, and somato which means body; therefore a true translation would be mindbody.   A psychosomatic disorder, for instance, can be described as “a disease which involves both mind and body.”1  I’m glad the term is not used in a derogatory way anymore, but I wonder why it’s rarely used at all.  Perhaps we have retired the term because research has confirmed the mind/body connection.

Can an ailment be “all in your head?”  Let’s think about it.  Is there a part of the body that is not affected by our thoughts and feelings?  Test anxiety may bring on sweaty palms.  Chronic emotional stress can cause adrenal fatigue.  Imagining hamburgers stimulates salivary glands.  Depressed feelings can translate into slumped posture and fatigue.  And researchers have discovered that even our DNA can be affected by emotions.   “According to the new insights of behavioral epigenetics, traumatic experiences in our past, or in our recent ancestors’ past, leave molecular scars adhering to our DNA.”2  So trauma, and the resulting emotions, can change molecules.

Does this have implications for psychotherapy?  As a body-centered psychotherapist and integrative healer,  I’d like to propose that the best psychotherapy is embodied psychotherapy.  Since emotions can have physical expressions, and since our bodies dialogue with our psyches,  it makes sense for client and psychotherapist to tune into the body.  Client and therapist can better understand and heal if we notice sensations in our bodies.  Tuning in to our bodies helps us to access information below the level of consciousness.  In the words of Candice Pert, “…the deepest oldest messages are stored and must be accessed through the body. Your body is your unconscious mind, and you can’t heal it by talk alone” 3   By tuning in to the tension in your shoulders, you may realize that you feel the “weight of the world” and need to delegate responsibilities.  By noticing a subtle pain in your jaw you may take account of the repressed anger towards your spouse.  Your neck muscles may be tight for fear you’ll “lose your head.”  You may be weak in the knees, dizzy with love, or live with a “pain in the neck.”   Your hip may hurt because you feel “out of joint.”  The body speaks in telling symbols.  It behooves us to listen.  

We are psycho-somatic beings — and to me that means it’s not all in our heads.  It’s also in our hips and our necks and our backs and our shoulders….

Nancy Paul, MA, LMT is available for body-centered psychotherapy at Lotus Center in Chicago.  She accepts clients with BCBS PPO or Blue Choice PPO insurance on an in-network basis, and out-of-pocket clients on a sliding scale.  Other insurance plans will use out-of-network benefits.  Please call your insurance company for out-of-network benefit details.  Schedule your appointment with Nancy now by visiting or call Nancy at 708-289-3899.



3 Pert, C. B. (1997). Molecules of emotions. New York, NY: Scribner.


Nancy Paul, MA, LMT is available for body-centered psychotherapy at Lotus Center in Chicago.  She accepts clients with BCBS PPO or Blue Choice PPO insurance on an in-network basis, and out-of-pocket clients on a sliding scale.  Other insurance plans will use out-of-network benefits.  Please call your insurance company for out-of-network benefit details.  Schedule your appointment with Nancy now by visiting or call Nancy at 708-289-3899.


CranioSacral Therapy and Person-Centered Therapy

CranioSacral Therapy and Person-Centered Therapy

As an integrative psychotherapist I utilize elements of both CranioSacral Therapy and Person-Centered Therapy in my work with clients. I’d like to share what each means to me and how each mirrors the other.

CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a healing approach that was formulated by Dr. John Upledger (1932-2012), who followed in the footsteps of William D. Sutherland (1873-1954). Both men were osteopathic physicians and visionaries. Upledger developed a system of assessing and easing restrictions in the central nervous system (cranium to sacrum) to optimize functioning of the whole body/psyche. Central to the approach is the premise that the cerebral spinal fluid has a pulse. By assessing this pulse throughout the body, the CranioSacral therapist notes areas of restrictions to which he/she then attends.


What I love about CranioSacral Therapy is the deep listening that it entails. Because the pulse of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pulse is very subtle, therapists use a very light touch and a deep focus. We tune in in order to deeply listen. And because we’re listening deeply, we can sense more than just the pulse of the CSF. We’re physically and emotionally attuning. The therapist’s hands and heart attune to the client’s physical and emotional “body,” and the client’s body and psyche responds to that respectful touch. It feels to me as if the body appreciates the attention and is therefore receptive to change. The psyche and the body don’t feel judged; they feel affirmed and ready to self-correct. You might call this non-judgemental approach listening from the heart, deep empathy, or focused empathic attending. To paraphrase John Upledger, we place our hands on a client and touch her soul. We energetically enter the client’s world; not to change or influence, but to listen to and partner with.

Another thing that I love about CST is we sensitively follow. We trust the client’s “Inner Physician” to advise and lead.  CranioSacral therapists believe in the body’s wisdom; we refrain from guiding, advising or “adjusting” the client. Physically, this means that the therapist’s touch is so light and and receptive that he/she sensitively follows the tissues as they unwind.  The restrictions in the fascia release with very little help from the therapist. It is as if the therapist sets the unwinding in motion and partners with the body to facilitate the release.  If, for example, the fascia of the abdomen shifts more easily to the right, then the therapist will not force the fascia to move to the left.  He/she would allow the fascia to partner with the therapist to find balance. The body in CST does not react against the therapist’s touch — our touch is so gentle, it is as if the body feels respected and more receptive. Similarly, we don’t emotionally manipulate, advise, or counsel, we listen and allow.

I think of CST as a bodywork version of Person-Centered psychotherapy. Person-Centered psychotherapy is a psychotherapeutic approach that was pioneered by Carl Rogers (1902-1987), an influential American psychologist active in the mid 1900’s. Some of the basic tenets of his approach are the therapist’s unconditional positive regard for the client, the importance of congruence between the client’s ideal and perceived self-image, and a genuine relationship with the client which facilitates the client’s self-valuing. Rogers stated “…the client …has the capacity and the tendency to reorganize himself and his relationship to life in the direction of self-actualization and maturity …the function of the therapist is to create such a psychological atmosphere as will permit this capacity and strength to become effective rather than latent or potential.”* Implied in this statement are the beliefs that each person has an innate tendency towards health, and that the therapist’s job is to nurture this impulse, not to guide, advise, or counsel. Rogerian therapists facilitate health by verbalizing an empathic understanding of the client’s internal frame of reference.  They enter into, honor, and acknowledge each client’s unique world. They nurture an instinct towards self-actualization by offering the client unconditional positive regard. By “capacity and tendency to reorganize himself,” Rogers means that not only do people want to be healthy, they instinctively know how. Rogerian therapists create a space in which clients can heal themselves. Like a watered seed, a person grows when given the right emotional nurturance. When affirmed with a skilled, congruent therapist’s empathetic listening and warm regard, clients thrive.

CranioSacral Therapy parallels Person-Centered Therapy in many ways. Perhaps a motto for these approaches would be ~ what you judge won’t budge… and what you affirm thrives.


Nancy Paul, MA, LMT is available to listen and allow at Lotus Center in Chicago!  She accepts

cash clients on a sliding scale and can accept clients with BCBS PPO or Blue Choice PPO insurance on an in-network basis. Other insurance plans will use out-of-network benefits.  Please call your insurance company for out-of-network benefit details. Schedule your appointment with Nancy now by visiting or call Nancy at 708-406-9639.


*Rogers, C. R. (1950). A current formulation of client-centered therapy. Social Service Review, 24(4), 442-450.

Chicago & NYC – Bodynamic Intro Evening & One Day Workshop October, 2017

Experience the Precision and Efficiency of Bodynamic Therapy by learning to use the body to support verbal therapy

New York City:
Evening Intro:
Friday October 27, 2017 7:00pm – 9:00pm – Free (No registration required!)
*Location: Balance Arts Center, 34 West 28th St. 3rd Floor, between Broadway and 6th Ave.*

One-Day-Intro Workshop:
Saturday October 28, 2017 9:30am – 5:30pm – $100
*Location: Center for the Advancement of Therapeutic Arts, 122 West 26th St. 7th Floor (between 6th and 7th Ave)*


Evening Intro:
Friday October 20, 2017 7:00pm – 9:00pm – Free (No registration required!)

One-Day-Intro Workshop:
Saturday October 21, 2017 9:00am – 5:00pm – $100

Location for both: Chicago Bodymind Wellness Studio 3525 W. Peterson Ave. Suite 605

Registration & Tickets:

Who is this For?
Professionals who work with people. Previous training’s have included somatic psychologists, counselling therapists, social workers, physicians, teachers, chiropractors, physical therapists, massage therapists, bodyworkers, personal development coaches and yoga instructors.

Full training begins: January 25, 2018

Please invite your friends and colleagues who may be interested in the training.

Evening Intro:
During this talk we’ll focus on the Autonomy Stage of Development; 8 months to 2.5 years of age. We’ll demonstrate how disruption during this stage creates a fear of commitment and dependency on others. We’ll demonstrate how to work with specific muscles to transform this internal experience. This can create an immediate sense of curiosity, joy, and creativity, typical of a healthy child at this age.

The presentation will include didactic and experiential work with time for questions.

One-day Workshop:
Exploring the impact on adult behavior of disruptions in the Will Structure Stage, ages 2-4 years. An overview of the system and the training will also be presented.

We will explore related developmental movements, and how the muscles involved hold needed resources for the resolution of therapeutic issues. We will offer demonstration sessions. Problems originating from this age include:

  • Feeling overly responsible
  • Blaming others
  • Being stuck in a victim role
  • Problems with planning
  • Fear of your own power

*Note: CEU credit is available for this one day workshop.

About Bodynamics:
Bodynamics is a precise and practical approach to working with the body to make verbal psychotherapy more efficient and effective. This somatic therapy enables the practitioner to make precise interventions related to the developmental origins of your clients’ current problems.

Based on a wealth of empirical research the Bodynamics model describes how non-traumatic developmental disruptions are encoded in both mind and body. Bodynamic trainees learn to use specific muscles to build somatic resources that will guide, extend, and contain verbal therapy. This precision aids clients to sense new psychological competencies, resolve issues sooner, and integrate these changes directly into their lives.

Learning Bodynamics also sensitizes you to the themes of the developmental stages around which relationships and psychological development take place. Building your relationship with a client around these themes will greatly facilitate your ability to heal attachment disruptions.

Free Webinar – Embodied Alchemy: Authentic Movement & the Somatic Unconscious

Please join me for a free Webinar this Saturday, September 23rd at 2pm PST or 5pm EST or wherever you are in the world!

C. G. Jung brought to light the ancient map of Alchemy, an astonishing guide through the transformational process of becoming one’s true self.

Authentic Movement provides a pathway for accessing the somatic unconscious, illuminated through Alchemy.

Link for Information & Registration