Freud discovered that "dreams are the royal road to the unconscious." Recently depth psychologists have discovered that the body is another road to the unconscious or one's deeper truth. Like dreams, body symptoms present information of which we're unaware. In a dream, this information comes as symbols. In the body, it comes as symptoms. Many of you have heard the statement, "the body doesn't lie." The body is the direct expression of the psyche and it's difficult for the body to hide the truth of our internal experiences. This is both a blessing and a curse. The shape, aches, movement, twitches, diseases and symptoms are the words the body uses to convey our authentic feelings and what's going on inside. I have witnessed this phenomenon in counseling people over the years.
Author, Gregg Levoy has gleaned several examples from medical research where people's symptoms reveal what is missing in their lives.
In my work as a psychotherapist, I've discovered symptomatic patterns that patients themselves have revealed during insightful moments. A woman who has ongoing neck pain identifies that her boss is a “pain in her neck”. Many clients have felt better when they had directly and appropriately processed their feelings.
Of course, nausea, head or backaches may be truly physical therefore, health practitioners also provide a significant purpose in your healing. it is important that must be addressed by other health practitioners as well. But ignoring the symbolic or psychological cause results in attacking the symptom, rather than learning from it to heal our whole self.
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Physician and author, Bernie Siegel explains, "When you start looking for the message in disease, you realize that there always is one." What is your body trying to tell you? Are you taking time to listen? He continues: Symptoms mean something. They have wisdom, metaphoric power, method in their madness. They are one of the languages the soul uses to get across physically.
In therapy, I use a variety of modalities to access the underlying issues or messages beneath your physical symptoms. By creating a safe space, observing your body, helping you relax, asking you relevant questions and other methods, we begin to reveal your unspoken experiences. Thus, your symbolic body connects with your insightful mind. This body-mind communication is the first step in the healing. Feelings associated with your symptoms begin to arise. You might get sad, angry, tense, relaxed, anxious, powerful, weak, fearful, feel grief, and/or loss. By allowing those feelings to surface and being present to them within a therapeutic relationship, helps release tension and pain in the body. I then teach you to directly express the underlying issue through words, not symptoms. This congruency creates confidence, strength and well-being in the body-mind.