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As humans we are more than just our minds.  Whether you're feeling excited, or anxious, or afraid, your body is experiencing your emotions.  That's why stress or overwhelming life experiences sometimes have long-term effects on your digestive system, immune system, breathing, or even your ability to think & respond to life in the way you would like.
 
Our bodies are affected by just about everything that happens to us and yet most systems of mental/emotional therapy leave the body out of the healing process.  A body-inclusive approach to therapy recognizes the importance of addressing the mind and the body.

From a body-inclusive perspective, therapy is an active process of change to help you to feel free, comfortable and confident in your own body, and at peace with your mind.  In my work with clients, and in my own personal journey, I've seen time and again how the body-centered approach including mindfulness, yoga and Somatic Experiencing, can have profound effects in getting unstuck from chronic patterns that just don't work anymore.

Body and Mind work together

If you pay attention when you're thinking about something stressful, you might notice your breath change, or your shoulders tighten. Similarly, if you notice that you're relaxed you might become aware that your shoulders feel looser, your belly feels more open or at ease, and you might even feel warmer.  This is your nervous system at work. 
 
When the nervous system is working well, we can function within a workable range of exerperience.  Often, thought, our nervous systems become overwhelmed by the pace of life or by what has happened to us, and we find ourselves spending too much time in anxiety, reactivity & fear or in depression, disconnection or shut-down.  Including the body in the healing process can help to balance your nervous system and give you a sense of control over your life experience.

Working with the Body

People often think of Yoga when they are looking for a way to relieve stress.  It is definitely a good stress reliever, and can also be a powerful tool in emotional healing.  Studies have shown that yoga can be helpful for stress, anxiety, depression and trauma. Yoga helps to balance your nervous system and provides tools to help you manage day-to-day stressors.  It helps the body to feel physically strong so that you can also recognize your emotional strength.  Yoga also teaches the body to safely relax.
 
Somatic Experiencing is based on an understanding of the way that the body changes in response to chronic stress or trauma. Even if there hasn't been severe trauma in your life, your body might be holding residue from difficult life experiences, challenging childhood relationships, or habitual ways of relating to the world.  By working mindfully and collaboratively, I can help you to be more fully present in each moment, to manage reactivity and counteract depression, to navigate life changes with a sense of empowerment and a greater sense of ease and wellbeing. 
 
As they incorporate these techniques into daily life, clients are empowered to continue the work of healing outside my office.  Combined with appropriate and effective talk therapy, mindfulness, yoga and Somatic Experiencing provide the means to gently, yet effectively address issues which might be affecting your mental and emotional wellbeing.

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Working With the Mind

Of course our minds play a role in our perception of the world and thoughts have a lot to do with how we feel.  But your mind doesn’t have to be an enemy, it can actually be an ally!  Meditation is one of the ways of making peace with your mind.  Rather than struggling against thoughts and emotions that arise, through meditation you can begin to allow a natural flow of thoughts and emotions and to notice that there is peace available in every moment.
 
Making peace with your mind is not about changing the world to be the way you want it.  It is about recognizing that even when things around you aren't perfect, there is something in you that can observe & be present with all that's happening, without getting frazzled.

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Your life can be a gift

As kids we were excited to open gifts, eagerly anticipating what we would find inside.  Though it may not seem that way now, we can regain that ability to approach our life experiences with curiosity, non-judgment and compassion so that life seems like a gift that we eagerly unwrap.
 
If you’re wondering if this approach to therapy might help you, please feel free to call me at 872-216-7797 for a free 20-minute consultation.

Convenient office location

I am a Body-Inclusive Psychotherapist and Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (with over 1,000 hours of teaching experience) at the Center for Contextual Change in their West Loop office at Halsted & Van Buren.  The West Loop office is convenient to the Blue line and has free street parking as well as a parking lot with reasonable hourly parking rates.
 
Be well - I look forward to talking with you soon!
 
Francine

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