Often clients have curiosity about therapy modalities. Curiosity leads us to ask questions, assess what is best for us and add in helpful support. Reading more about these therapies can be helpful as can talking to your potential therapist and asking how they apply these models. Since our bodies are impacted by whatever stresses we experience in life (check out the book, The Body Keeps the Score by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk), I value talk therapies that incorporate the body awareness as an integral part of therapy. The following two listed forms of talk therapy incorporate the body.   

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Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS) is an evidence-based model of individual psychotherapy developed by Dr. Richard Schwartz in the 1980s. It combines systems thinking with the view that the mind is made up of relatively discrete subpersonalities or parts, each with its own qualities and unique perspective. Each part has the potential to impact the body, relationships and how a person moves through life. A simple example can be seen when part of a person wants to exercise, and another part of that same person does not want to exercise leaving a person with a potential internal struggle. If you are interested in learning more about this model, there are additional resources on the following site.

Hakomi Mindful Somatic Psycholtherapy was first developed in the late 1970s by Ron Kurtz, an internationally prominent therapist and author. Hakomi allows people to gently discover their own core beliefs, their real attitudes that have become a part of themselves as neural patterns and emotional dispositions. Some of these patterns can be who we wish to be while other patterns are learned in response to acute and chronic stress and create limitations in one’s life. By discovering these core beliefs, the client can then choose what they want to believe moving forward in life. If you are interested in learning more about this model, there are additional resources on the following site.


There is added support for your body that is available to supplement or add to talk therapies. Since all aspects or parts of ourselves have a connection to the body and impact our bodies it may be helpful to bring in body focused care. Below there is a brief description of each modality and websites to find a practitioner that has those skill sets. You may choose one or more of these modalities to facilitate your body being heard, allowing your body to have a chance to release what it has been holding and find renewed ways to move and function. You have a body, the container you live in, and you have choices on how to support it.     

Lymph Therapy promotes movement of the lymph fluid in the lymphatic system of the body. The lymphatic system consists of lymph capillaries, vessels, nodes and the organs of the thymus, spleen, and bone marrow. This system functions to remove extra fluid from the body tissues and return it to the blood, helps transport fat and is involved in the production of immune cells. The lymph fluid could be called “liquid emotion” because it is often slowed by the emotional backlog that can be in a person. When getting lymph therapy, the therapist can help move the “liquid emotion” through the body. If you are interested in adding this kind of support for your body, consider finding a practitioner on one of the following sites. | |

Visceral Therapy involves a way of gently palpating the body to assess tension in or around the organs of the body. Visceral therapy treatment can include pressing and deep strokes to restore the mobility of each organ as well as light movement to encourage the motility of each organ. This kind of therapy can be used to help locate and solve problems throughout the body. If you are interested in adding this kind of support for your body, consider finding a practitioner on one of the following sites.  |

CranioSacral Therapy is a light touch therapy that addresses the housing of the central nervous system which consists of all the bones of the head down to the sacrum along with the three layers of membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord and the tensions that can form out from the spine through the fascia. CranioSacral Therapy is helpful for a variety of symptoms and one of its effects can be seen in how it supports the nervous system to reset from a fight, flight or freeze response to a calmer, more parasympathetic response. If you are interested in adding this kind of support for your body, consider finding a practitioner on one of the following sites. |

Suggested Reading

Somatic Internal Family Systems Therapy -Awareness, Breath, Resonance, Movement, and Touch in Practice.

Somatic Internal Family Systems Therapy introduces a new therapeutic modality that blends principles of somatic therapy–like movement, touch, and breathwork–with the traditional tools of the Internal Family Systems framework. Broadening the benefits and applications of the IFS model, author Susan McConnell introduces 5 core practices that mental health professionals can apply to their practice: somatic awareness, conscious breathing, radical resonance, mindful movement, and attuned touch. Clinical applications include the treatment of depression, trauma, anxiety, eating disorders, chronic illness, and attachment disorders.

Within the IFS framework, clients will learn to identify their “inner worlds”–the discrete subpersonalities within each of us that hold emotions, perceptions, and belief systems, and that affect our behavior and emotional wellness. Body-based somatic tools are incorporated into therapy as patients learn to recognize different facets of their internal family and reconcile the needs of subpersonalities–like their inner child or internal manager–to bring more harmony to their physical and emotional well-being.

Purchase on Amazon here.

Reclaiming Your Body -Healing from Trauma and Awakening to Your Body’s Wisdom

Many of us have learned to ignore, deny, or even mistrust the wise messages our bodies give us. The result is that when trauma strikes, a time when we need every aspect of our beings to master the challenge, we may find ourselves disconnected from our greatest strengths. Suzanne Scurlock-Durana, who has spent thirty years studying the gifts of the body and teaching thousands how to reclaim them, began to recognize this strength, which she likens to a GPS, when she herself experienced a life-threatening trauma. Here she walks readers through different areas of the body, revealing the wisdom they hold and how to reconnect with that wisdom. As she shows in this warm, compassionate book, the body’s abilities are always available; we must simply reconnect with them.

Purchase on Amazon here.

Self-Therapy Workbook -An Exercise Book for the IFS Process

This workbook is a companion to Self Therapy by Jay Earley. It is a clear and concise description of the steps in the IFS process designed for people using IFS to do personal work on themselves or professionals introducing the material to their clients. It provides written exercises that give readers a chance to process their experience and track their internal work. It includes sample answers that clarify how to do the exercises, and illustrations that provide a visual understanding the material. There are additional chapters on working with couples and dealing with polarization.

Purchase on Amazon here.

Internal Family Systems Therapy: Second Edition

IFS reveals how the subpersonalities or “parts” of each individual’s psyche relate to each other like members of a family, and how – just as in a family – polarization among parts can lead to emotional suffering. IFS originator Richard Schwartz and master clinician Martha Sweezy explain core concepts and provide practical guidelines for implementing IFS with clients who are struggling with trauma, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, and other behavioral problems. They also address strategies for treating families and couples. IFS therapy is listed in SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices.

Purchase on Amazon here.

“My system was looking for Brenda to take us to the next level of healing and she was
the perfect guide with her use of IFS and CranioSacral Therapy.”  

S.M., LMHC, IFS Practitioner