A client came to see me for a consultation last week. She was frightened about the condition of her body, and had researched her concerns and options thoroughly. The more she spoke, the more tense she became. As I listened to her, I experienced the tension in my own body. I saw that I was identifying with her suffering as if it was my own.
I recognized that instead of feeling bad for her situation, I could offer support by fully listening to her, without commentary. I connected to my breath and the weight of my body on the ground. I put my medical mind on hold, not trying to ‘fix’, or ‘change’ the state of her mind, body, or feelings. Continue reading “Body-Mind Connection Anchors You by Alexandra Johnson”
At a recent gathering, two guests began a conversation that created a palpable tension in the room. I was asked what I thought, and saw the pull to present my opinion to the group. Then I remembered the principle of Firmness and Gentleness. If I spoke without forethought, there was the possibility of erring on the side of too much Firmness, increasing the polarization. If I stayed passive, the dialogue could likewise continue to be increasingly reactive. I placed my hand on the shoulder of one of my kids, who was standing next to me. I wished to have Firmness and Gentleness in my touch. Continue reading “Supporting Harmony in Relationships by Alexandra Johnson”
Doing graduate work at The Wright Institute allowed me to assimilate my life experience with my desire to become a clinician capable of navigating the increasingly complex mental health needs of our society. Before becoming a therapist, I was a substance abuse treatment counselor for many years, and I studied Gestalt and Body Psychotherapy as a work scholar at Esalen Institute, with some of the great pioneers in the field.
Mulching fallen trees after a storm at Esalen, I injured my back and was referred to the Breema Clinic in Oakland. My back healed, but there was more; I began to experience a sense of cohesiveness, presence, calmness, and clarity that I had never experienced before. Continue reading “Including the Body in Psychotherapy Practice by Angela Porter”
The practice of Breema offers support for intentional parenting by providing practical tools for being present in everyday activities and interactions by unifying body, mind, and feelings. This article provides background and examples for how using simple principles such as No Judgment, Firmness, and Gentleness, and No Hurry/No Pause in daily life offers a means for self-care in the midst of a hectic day. This can provide an invaluable tool for modeling positive behaviors for children and offers the potential to be nourished, rather than drained, by the events of daily life. Continue reading “Breema: Parenting with the Nine Principles of Harmony by Eileen Sendrey and Alexandra Johnson”
Our health is constantly affected by what we think. Like our clothing, our way of thinking covers our body and affects it. But our thoughts are based on self-interest, and when we live in the past and future, we never have a new thought. In order to become healthy, we need to have a healthy mind. When we are present, we can have new thoughts. This is possible only when the mind is connected to the body.
–from First You Have to Be by Jon Schreiber
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I was walking with my daughter. She asked me a question, and I realized that instead of listening to her, I had been lost in thought. As support for being available, I registered my breath and my footsteps as we walked. When I saw the mind drifting, I came back to the body, in order to participate more fully in this moment. Continue reading “Experiencing Body Comfortable in the Moment by Alexandra Johnson”
Today I was with a client. He came for Breema bodywork, but also had a question and needed a medical consultation. I wanted to answer his question accurately, but in a way that would actually support his healing, and not deepen identification with his body’s condition.
I offered him medical advice, and we agreed on a treatment plan. After he received Breema bodywork, he mentioned how much the session had helped him to release tension, quiet the mind, and harmonize his emotions. He also said that his attitude about his health was improved. He felt like it was finally ‘in perspective.’ He was still experiencing physical symptoms, but he was no longer draining his emotional energy. Continue reading “Bringing Health Into Perspective by Alexandra Johnson”