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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Psychotherapy, Trauma and Meditation

Many people come to therapy to deal with unresolved trauma, whether it's a recent trauma or longstanding trauma from childhood.

Psychotherapy, Trauma and Meditation
Over the years, I've found a mind-body oriented approach to processing trauma in psychotherapy, like EMDR, clinical hypnosis or Somatic Experiencing, to be the most effective therapy for many clients who want to work through unresolved trauma.

No matter which approach I use for trauma therapy, if a client is open to it, I often like to end a session by taking the last 5 or 10 minutes to guide the client through a meditation.

Why Use Meditation at the End of a Therapy Session?
A brief meditation at the end of a session usually provides a client with the following beneficial effects:
  • A reduction in stress
  • A reduction in anxiety
  • A sense of feeling calmer
  • A sense of being emotionally grounded
  • A sense of feeling whole again after processing trauma
  • An awareness that, even after dealing with difficult emotions, it's possible to shift into a more relaxed state
Using Meditation in Therapy to Shift Into a Calmer State After Processing Trauma
The last item on the list above, an awareness that you can shift your emotional state from fear or anxiety (or other difficult emotions) to a relaxed state, is important because many people are afraid to come to therapy to deal with trauma because they think that processing the trauma will be too overwhelming and it will make them feel worse.

Many clients are often surprised that, even though they've just dealt with traumatic memories in a therapy session, it's possible, with a few minutes of meditation, to make this shift so, rather than feeling emotionally overwhelmed, they feel like they can "face the world again" when they leave my office.

If a client likes a particular meditation that I do, like the Safe or Relaxing Place meditation , I ask him or her to bring in a recording device so that we can record the meditation during the session which the client can then be use between therapy sessions.

They also become aware that when they're dealing with difficult emotions between sessions, they have a way that they calm and soothe themselves.

For clients who have a history of trauma, this can be very empowering, especially for clients who, prior to therapy, felt they didn't have the capacity to take care of themselves in this way.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or email me:

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