RE: Best psychotherapy modality?

Oatmilk, modified 1 Year ago at 12/8/22 3:52 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/8/22 3:52 PM

Best psychotherapy modality?

Posts: 141 Join Date: 7/30/20 Recent Posts
I might have the chance to get on therapy but was wondering what would be the best form of treatment. I would really like to work on attachment since I belive it's one of the most important aspects of a healthy development on the path and I did so in the past with the ideal parent figure protocol but unfortunately the visualizations trigger too much of the insight stuff. While having an immediate soothing effect on my physiology, it seems as if it destabilizes me in the long run. Seems to be quite a contradiction, I know. I found the approach of schema therapy very helpful as well but this too works with visualizations, unfortunately. 
Are there any forms of therapy that are not based on formal mindfulness practice but still have a positive outcome? Besides schema therapy I am not a fan of behavioral therapy and would prefer a psychodynamic approach. Although my attachment style is mostly secure I am struggling with self regulation a bit. My body has seemingly lost it's ability to process emotions adequately, ie. being in a very overwhelming situation but unable to cry and self-soothe. Instead the reaction is expressed through anger for example. I worked with somatic experiencing in the past (only two or three sessions though) but I can feel fully embodied and still unable to cry. This is something which at times can be extremely frustrating, so I assume the issue sits a bit deeper. If you have any suggestions I would be happy to hear them. 
Ben V, modified 1 Year ago at 12/9/22 6:43 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/9/22 6:43 AM

RE: Best psychotherapy modality?

Posts: 417 Join Date: 3/3/15 Recent Posts
Hi Oatmilk,

If you resonate with psychodynamic therapy you may want to try a therapist that specializes in object relations therapy, as it's based on attachment issues. Actually, a lot of contemporary psychodynamic therapists base what they do a lot on this school of psychoanalysis. 

Also, you may want to consider 'Focusing' or 'Internal Relationship Focusing'. Google it to find some info on it. 

But most importantly, therapy is a lot about your relationship with your therapist and its quality counts a lot on working through issues, which means you need to find a therapist with whom you feel a good fit for you.

All the best.

Oatmilk, modified 1 Year ago at 12/9/22 11:01 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/9/22 11:01 AM

RE: Best psychotherapy modality?

Posts: 141 Join Date: 7/30/20 Recent Posts
Hey Ben, 

that was very helpful! Thank you for sharing, I'll look into itemoticon 

Be well 
Isak Tougaard, modified 1 Year ago at 12/9/22 12:51 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/9/22 12:51 PM

RE: Best psychotherapy modality?

Posts: 17 Join Date: 11/9/22 Recent Posts
I would use the Lefkoe method (TLM), if I were in your place and wanted to enable self-soothing instead of anger reactions.

It works by eliminating limiting beliefs, and it is as cerebral as any therapy gets while still being effective at a subconscious level.

For self soothing I currently like to use the Ho'oponopono prayer, EMDR or the jhana states - but those are done solo for me, and that's not what you asked.
mrdust, modified 1 Year ago at 12/12/22 1:43 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/12/22 10:46 AM

RE: Best psychotherapy modality?

Posts: 50 Join Date: 7/17/19 Recent Posts
After a lot of energetic effects from meditation and after backing off substantially because of the dysfunctional states it would trigger, I've made a number of therapeutic modalities the core of my developmental path. I landed on three that I especially like for my own nervous system, bodymind, and trauma / karma history.

  • ​​​​​​​Somatic Experiencing
  • Integral Somatic Psychology
  • Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy
One of the things I learned through guidance and experience is that early childhood development and attachment isn't the only place where things can go awry. The period between conception and a few months after birth, a.k.a. the pre & perinatal period of development, can leave people with substantial developmental challenges. In my case these were more fundemantal than attachment issues and were closely tied to the spiritual path.

Many extreme experiences such as rage, existential terror, fragmentation, loss of sense of self, expectation for salvation... can be mapped onto the earliest days of our existence, on the transition from undifferentiated water creature to individualized land creature, on our organism's coming into being. Moreover, the experiences that the modern, western medical system inflicts on mothers and babies even in "normal birth" can often be intensely traumatizing. When the energy locked by these traumas are released through spiritual practice (or drugs, or adverse experiences, etc) they can quickly become overwhelming. (Check this link for a bit more info & jargon from Somatic Experiencing.)

And so I learned that after meditation opened the door, so to say, working with these and resolving these earliest traumas was now a large part of my path. Because the experiences are pre-verbal and before the formation of cognitive memory much traditional cognition-based western psychotherapy is not particularly effective. What probably helped me more than anything else on the path is reframing all these grandiose spiritual events as states of the nervous system and consequences of very early trauma and its resolution.

The more I work in this way the more amazed I am how nothing is necessarily miraculous or out of this world, everything can be seen as a consequence from our personal histories, everything can be worked with. That's not to claim it as the truth, but for me it's a much more helpful view than chasing enlightenment ever was. And so I would strongly recommend somatic therapies and finding a practitioner that at the very minimum has an awareness of pre & perinatal issues, so you can determine whether they may also be part of your history. There are many other body based approaches - Reichian therapy, NARM, Hakomi method, etc. The ones I mention are reasonably well known and accessible. I found them so effective that I started training professionally in all of them to learn more and go deeper.

Somatic Experiencing
- One of the most well known and effective trauma treatment methodologies using a body based / somatic approach. Practitioners learn about a wide range of traumas, including highly overwhelming experiences such as drowning, choking, pre & perinatal issues, etc, along with still very traumatic but less overwhelmingly energetic stuff such as car accidents, early childhood development, etc. SE tends to be very safe and integrative and there are many practitioners around. The founder Peter Levine had some personal spiritual motivations but kept the methodology very rational and science based.

​​​​​​​Integral Somatic Psychology - Developed by Raja Selvam, a very experienced Psychologist and senior SE faculty. His training explicitly focuses on expanding capacity for emotion by staying with it and expanding it in the body. This is a bit unlike SE, which has a tendency to discharge emotion more quickly. After doing the first part of this training recently I see it a little bit like trek chö practice - really embodying the difficulty. (Better in that it explicitly expands emotion in body, but perhaps not as universally applicable throughout the day.) His recent book The Practice of Embodying Emotions is great. Raja is a spiritual guy who brings science and spirituality together nicely, though the book doesn't go all that far down that road. I find this practice particularly helpful for very early issues, and I have gotten great results from the guided meditation at the end of this page. (Please take it slow, as it can also lead to overwhelm.)

Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy - This is a gentle kind of bodywork. It explicitly learns from early embryological development and, as with the osteopathic practice it grew out of, tries to help the body heal itself. It was developed by a former Buddhist monk and the experience of it is basically a kind of "healing meditation" done with a patient. One of the main clinical goals is literally to induce a "stillpoint" in the client, which is nothing other than a cessation. (In one of my early sessions the practitioner induced a very clear PoI-to-cessation experience while she was working on my head.) The states you experience during this therapy have a very early, floating, spacious quality that some might call womb-like. Because of the presence of another human being with a well regulated system there is much more capacity for healing and much less risk of dissociation or overwhelm. Having said that, it can be very powerful / healing / opening and thus sometimes result in integration hangover when it goes deep. Somatic Experiencing tends to be safer and more targeted in my experience. Cranio has a bit more power & magic in it -- I believe it can touch into some very deep existential places better and more effectively.

My ideal therapist would have trained in a combination or all of the above. Of course there are many individuals who are great without these, and the technique alone is far from everything. Most important is that you resonate with the therapist -- as always you want to trust your gut with these matters.

P.S. If you're reading this around the time I posted, it resonates, and you'd like a free session or two of SE or ISP via zoom from a practitioner in training (calendar permitting) feel free to drop me a line.
Oatmilk, modified 1 Year ago at 12/12/22 12:09 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/12/22 12:09 PM

RE: Best psychotherapy modality?

Posts: 141 Join Date: 7/30/20 Recent Posts
Thank you for writing up all of this,

I've never seen it from this perspective but I am very interested in it. Much of the buddhist terminology does not seem to describe these things well. I am a big fan of Craniosacral Therapy and Somatic Experiencing. The way you describe Craniosacral Therapy, as womb-like experience is exactly how I would describe my last session. I always wanted to find a SE/IFS practitioner that I feel comfortable working with. I would be very happy to jump on a zoom call with you! I appreciate it a lot. 

Edit: The formating destroyed half of my message unfortunately emoticon I would be very happy to discuss these things online though, again, thank you so much! 
mrdust, modified 1 Year ago at 12/12/22 2:13 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/12/22 2:13 PM

RE: Best psychotherapy modality?

Posts: 50 Join Date: 7/17/19 Recent Posts
Apologies, I typed IFS in my closing comment but meant to say ISP, a.k.a. Integral Somatic Psychology. I've now corrected that.

Internal Family Systems is a great methodology. I've taken a short training and had some very good therapeutic experiences with it. It complements well with the meditative path and can do great attachment work, early relational work, shadow work, etc. The basics are also really straightforward to learn and in my experience can be used for self-therapy or peer-therapy rather well.

I believe it also has some limitations. I was told as much by my mentor when I started looking at this kind of training more seriously. I've also met others who did IFS therapy for some time and then switched to a more somatic / body-focused approach when strongly charged early material surfaced.

It's a great framework modality for many issues. There are likely practitioners who work successfully with highly energetic trauma issues, but they may stray away from IFS and into SE or similar modalities.

IFS training courses are a little oversubscribed so finding a good IFS practitioner is probably harder than is should be.
Oatmilk, modified 1 Year ago at 12/12/22 2:41 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/12/22 2:41 PM

RE: Best psychotherapy modality?

Posts: 141 Join Date: 7/30/20 Recent Posts
Ah, no worries, I should have noticed it too. It doesn't change however my interest in learning more about IPS and SE. Your comment has openend up a totally different perspective on the entire thing, I am very grateful for that. I have been thinking about it non stop since reading your comment and am happy to look further into it. 
Is there any way to reach out to you? I'm not sure if it's possible to send direct messages here. 
mrdust, modified 1 Year ago at 12/13/22 12:45 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/13/22 12:45 PM

RE: Best psychotherapy modality?

Posts: 50 Join Date: 7/17/19 Recent Posts
In the top level menu click "Messages" and you should see something from me.<br /><br />And to add a little context / broaden my recommendation from above... when I look for a therapist to work with nowadays I pretty much exclusively look for someone who has some kind of background in pre- and perinatal psychology / trauma work. Maybe that is a better broad category to look for if you are, for example, checking provider directories.<br /><br />Generally people with this experience have a very calm and accepting therapeutic presence, which works well for sensitive nervous systems such as mine.&nbsp; It's no guarantee but I've found it a good rule of thumb. Of course your nervous system may be different and I'm sure there are great providers outside of this category.