NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Recapturing a Sense of Aliveness

Many people come to therapy because they feel they're missing something in life.  They no longer feel a sense of aliveness.  Instead, they feel stuck in what feels like an endless cycle of tasks, routines and obligations that have taken over their lives

One way for a psychotherapy client to rediscover her sense of aliveness is for her to reconnect with a time in her life when she felt more alive and open to the world around her.  This is possible through clinical hypnosis and Somatic Experiencing.

Recapturing a Sense of Aliveness

We Are Born With the Capacity For Aliveness and Openness to the World Around Us
Most of us are born with the capacity to feel alive and curious about the world around us.

Infants are naturally curious about the world around them.  You see this especially with infants who are about six months old when they really begin to direct their attention outward.  They're naturally curious and stimulated by their environment.

They become happy and excited by new toys and objects around them.  They're also happy and excited by new things that they can do, and they want you to notice, as if they're saying, "Look at me!  Look at what I can do!"

Ideally, if children are fortunate enough not to experience emotional trauma as they are growing up and if they are encouraged to remain open and curious, they maintain their sense of curiosity and aliveness. They use their imagination to create stories, draw, and play with their friends.

Of course, children have their disappointments and frustrations in life, but as long as the nurturing their receiving from their parents is "good enough," they can learn to be resilient and maintain their openness to the world.

As Adults, We Can Become Overwhelmed and "Shut Down" Emotionally
As we get older, it's inevitable that we must deal with more complex challenges.  If we become overburdened with challenges, it can cause us to "shut down" emotionally.  As adults, we don't always realize immediately that this is what's happening to us.  It can remain unconscious for a long time.

Whereas, initially, this emotional shut down, whether it was conscious or not, was intended as a defense against feeling unpleasant feelings.  Unfortunately, when someone shuts down emotionally, it not only blocks unpleasant emotions that might be overwhelming, but it also blocks feelings of happiness and a sense of aliveness.

Mind-Body Connection:  Clinical Hypnosis and Somatic Experiencing
If a person has been emotionally shut down for a while, she might feel a disconnect between her mind and her body.  In other words, she's relating to the world in strictly in terms of thinking rather than emotions and physical sensations.

When this happens, it can feel like the body (from the neck down) is only there to hold up the head.  This might sound like an exaggeration, but there are many people who are cut off or dissociated from the neck down.

When a client comes to see me in my psychotherapy practice in NYC who wants to recapture that spirit of aliveness, I will often work with her using clinical hypnosis and Somatic Experiencing to try to help her to reconnect with the body and recapture that openness and aliveness.

Even if she doesn't remember a time when she felt a sense of aliveness, it's often possible with clinical hypnosis and Somatic Experiencing to go back to an earlier time to recapture these feelings.

Often, I will also recommend tasks for a client perform outside of therapy to act as a bridge between psychotherapy sessions.

So, for instance, if one of the things that came up during a session is that she loved to draw when she was a child and this made her feel very alive at that time, I might recommend that this client take up drawing again to reconnect with that feeling. Or, if she had an early memory of going out into nature and feeling a sense of aliveness in nature, I might recommend that she go to a park and reconnect with nature as a way to reconnect with her sense of aliveness.

Getting Help in Therapy
If you feel like there's something missing in your life and you lack a sense of vitality, you could benefit from working with a licensed mental health professional who uses clinical hypnosis and Somatic Experiencing.

For anyone who would like to know more about clinical hypnosis or Somatic Experiencing, I've included web sites below that provide more information.  Each site also has national and international directories of therapists who use these treatment modalities.

About Me
I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist.  

I work 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 (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.