Q & A

Aligning Energies

Authentic Expression

While studying psychology at Michigan State (a long time ago), I was able to develop some expertise and a deep understanding of the natural healing process within the human psyche through a year-long practicum course called “Sensitivity to Children.”  Our work was based on the book Play Therapy by Virginia M. Axline, 1947.  The idea is that given permission to express themselves, a safe and supportive environment, and quality loving attention, children will naturally do exactly what they need to do to heal the hurts inside.  We all have a built-in capacity for healing.  Healing is a profoundly natural process.  Everything else that I have learned seems to build upon this basic understanding.


In later years in my own work, this basic philosophy and approach to helping others would be applied to a variety of situations and clients.   As a speech language pathologist I would use these skills to assist children with a range of communication problems, especially when accompanied by significant emotional or behavioral issues.  Sometimes play therapy was the only thing some children would respond to, even though parents and schools wanted me to focus on developing speech or language skills.   Play therapy built trust and non-verbal communication, which led to greater behavioral self-regulation and ultimately to significant verbal development.  Most importantly, the children had a very positive experience of learning and were able reduce negative attitudes and behaviors.

My background in play therapy influenced my work with teens and adults as well.   No matter what the therapeutic goal, teaching and healing are always a kind of dance that require meeting in the middle, making a connection and finding a way to move together.  Client and practitioner bring to each session together their own repertoire of moves plus their conscious and unconscious beliefs and emotions.  Whenever possible I sought out ways to address agreed upon communication goals through working with the immediate concerns my clients brought to each session.

Throughout much of my adult life, I have actively explored different forms of authentic expression and emotional release work including:  co-counseling, body-centered psychotherapy, dance therapy, soul singing and various kinds of breathwork.  All of these experiences have been very valuable for me.  They played an important role in the development of greater understanding and expertise in working with emotions and energy.

For a number of years I studied, practiced and taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, a form of peer support work that emphasizes the natural release of emotional energy.  I also attended workshops sponsored by a local chapter of Co-counseling International.  Both of these communities emphasize peer support for the natural healing process.

I explored a variety of breathwork systems, including Transformational Breathwork and Motherwave.  I found those experiences quite helpful in pushing boundaries for accessing and releasing emotional energy.  Here’s an article about Transformational Breathwork.

After developing some of my own methodologies for body-centered authentic movement intervention (I like to call it “supporting what wants to happen”) I discovered that it had a strong resemblance to the Hakomi method as described in Body-Centered Psychotherapy, the Hakomi Method, by Ron Kurtz.  To learn more about Hakomi, visit www.hakomiinstitute.com.

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