Can Addicts and Alcoholics Benefit From Body Psychotherapy

February 24th, 2010 | Posted by Sherry Gaba in Alcohol Addiction

I spent the last four days at a workshop centered around getting in touch with the sensations of the body to work through past traumas.  The trauma could be an automobile accident, sexual abuse, physical abuse, an earthquake, and anything that has caused you deep emotional and sometimes physical pain.  I started to wonder could my clients in recovery or trying to stay sober benefit from this type of psychotherapy and the answer for me is a resounding, yes.

My clients report so often  “I feel stuck” or  “I can’t move on or move forward,” and what I have come to understand is they have blocked energy in their bodies that has not been discharged, which is keeping them frozen.  They are literally in a “freeze state”.  The way through a trauma is to actually sit in these un-comfortable physical states rather than numb or avoid them through alcohol or drugs.  Often you spend your time defending against these un-bearable states rather than working through them.  Once you walk through the pain, that is where the true recovery begins.  Learning to manage the un-comfortable states through accessing what you are feeling in the body teaches you how to self-regulate.  You learn to have better coping skills and impulse control so you can problem solve rather than react hastily. Perhaps it is time you take another path by working with your body rather than just traditional psychotherapy.

1.  Start by taking slow movements.  Walk in a mindful way noticing your feet as they touch the ground.  It really doesn’t matter.  What is important here is to move.  Movement allows energy to flow.

2.  Maybe consider Acupuncture or meet with a body practitioner that does Rolfing or Reiki.  This too will transform the energy, which can lead to amazing breakthroughs.

3.  Another option might be taking up Mindful Meditation.  Learning how to be an observer and witness to your so called “stuckness” rather than judging it or creating stories around it.

4.  Perhaps find a Psychotherapist or body practioner that works with Somatic Experiencing.  This is where you begin the process of discharging energy in a very slow and deliberate way releasing energy where it has been blocked.

The point of all of this is to have compassion for your inability to move forward and to let go of the shame and blame that might be there.  Instead, find new and creative ways to allow energy to move through your body.  Once the body is free of this blocked energy, moving forward will become easy and effortless.   As they say in the 12 step program, “It’s an inside job.”  Perhaps this quote was intended to mean something else, but it certainly is applicable here.

Sherry Gaba is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in private practice in Agoura, Ca and does Life Coaching in person or by phone.  She is the contributing author of two books, including  the “Conscious Entrepreneur” and “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tough Times, Tough People.”  Tune in this week as she performs a session with one of the cast on Celebrity Rehab 3 on VH1’s Vlog. She can be reached at Follow me on twitter:

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