Mind Body Connections in Therapy

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Our bodies are intricate organisms with many complex processes and interconnections, that we can all acknowledge. However, researchers are still very much in the discovery phases of how all of these processes interplay with one another. The mind-body connection has been a vast area of research and discovery over the last few decades. They are learning more and more every day how our body holds on to emotional experiences long after the experience itself has gone. Continuing to discover how our own thought processes effect our physical bodies and how we react behaviorally to emotional and physical stimuli.
For instance, it is like the famous study with Pavlov’s dogs. In his experiment, Pavlov discovered that after so long of ringing a bell just before giving a dog a food that the dog began to salivate at the ring of the bell regardless of food being presented. In many ways this is a depiction of what can happen to us when our bodies have ingrained a responsiveness to any kind of stimulus. Think of a particularly stressful or traumatic experience in your life, or maybe a deep seeded fear. Now, pay attention to your body. Did your heart rate begin to elevate? Maybe your heart pounded a little harder in your chest? Maybe you noticed your breathing became shorter and more rapid? These are all physiological reactions to a stress and where somatic therapies can be used to lessen these reactions.

What is a Somatic Therapy?

A somatic therapy is a body-centered form of therapy that aims to discover the mind-body connections present, and reduce the stress formed by these connections. In somatic therapies we want to tap into what the body is doing, and experiencing, in stress so that we can make physical changes. Changes occur through physical awareness and bodywork. This can be achieved in many ways through various techniques, like somatic experiencing, sensorimotor therapy, Hokomi Method, EMDR (eye movement desensitization response), as well as other somatic practices like meditation, yoga, tai chi, and judo.
Neuro Emotional Technique or NET that is a type of somatic therapy that is available at The Marriage and Family Clinic in Westminster, CO. So let us take a further look at it.

Neuro Emotional Technique

Neuro Emotional Technique (NET) is a mind-body technique that uses a methodology of finding and removing neurological or meridian aberrations related to the physiology of unresolved stress. These aberrations are called Neuro Emotional Complexes (NECs). When using NET the correction of an NEC is a physiological versus a psychological phenomenon change. NET does not make claims as to what may have happened in the past. In NET, all memory events in an NEC are considered “emotional reality,” because these events may or may not correspond with actual or historical reality. NEC/NET treatment is not a substitute for psychological or psychiatric therapy, chiropractic care, or medical services of other kinds. Rather it is a method utilized to disconnect the stress responses of the body to the NEC present.

So how does acupuncture relate to emotions?

Traditional Chinese medicine has correlated emotions to the organs of the body for centuries and modern sciences are finally catching up. Our modern sciences continue to discover the chemicals behind emotional responses, neurotransmitters. Further receptors for various neurotransmitters are being discovered IN our organs verses just in our brains as previously thought. Think of it like this: according to Chinese medicine grief is housed in the lungs. If you have ever experienced the death of a loved one or deep sadness in your life what is a symptom often given — ‘ache in the chest’ or ‘can’t catch my breath.’ Now think about an elated experience in your life in which you were filled with great happiness or joy. Can you feel that in your body? I would guess that your chest felt swelled and the sense of ‘my heart is exploding’ might be uttered. Would it then surprise to you that the Chinese found these emotions to be connected to the heart meridian? One last picture, think about standing in front of a crowd of people to give a speech you aren’t prepared for, might you have started to experience “butterflies in the stomach” or maybe even a little nausea as if you were about to throw up? This is a clear physiological response to a perceived stressful event and may take you back to past experiences. These are all examples of how you and I can have physical symptoms or responses to emotions or even perceived events.

What does NET look like in Counseling?

The process of NET utilizes functional muscle testing and therapy localization/acupuncture points to discover the NEC’s discussed above. This process involves the therapist touching the lower forearm/wrist to perform a functional muscle test and to test the acupuncture points on the wrist that relate to organ systems. Breathing methods combined with the therapy localizations and thoughts/emotions are then combined to release the NEC.

Principles applied in the NET protocol:

1. Cognitive (identifying thoughts and internal dialog associated with recollections)
2. Emotional (identifying the emotions the recollection elicits)
3. Behavioral (how the recollections affect actions, relationships, etc.)

Could NET help me?

Here are a just some of the things that a somatic therapy like NET has shown to be beneficial for:
  • Trauma
  • Post-Trauma
  • Grief
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
If you’re interested in exploring how mind body work can help you, reach out to The Marriage and Family Clinic and setup an appointment today. We have counselors certified in Neuro Emotional Technique that can help you get your mind and body feeling good again.
Psychology Today Staff (2022) https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapy-types/somatic-therapy


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