I noticed during many sessions that painful emotions would arise. As I lay on the table, needles sticking out of me and tears running down my cheeks, I wished there was someone in the room with me to talk through the emotions and thoughts I was experiencing; that the acupuncture helped me access.
Our physical and psychological traumas are stored in the whole body, not just the brain, and acupuncture is a powerful tool to help access and release them. But this can be a scary process to undergo alone, which is why it is helpful to talk it through with a mental health professional. I love the idea underlying Chinese medicine -- to create harmony in the body so it can heal itself. This is very much in line with my approach to therapy, in particular my use of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) to heal trauma. I have found that many people with psychological trauma often manifest symptoms of physical pain. Some have even been diagnosed by Western medical doctors at having psychosomatic pain or conditions -- there is no known medical cause, so the origin is likely psychological.
While I am able to work with somatic issues using talk therapy, many of the physical treatments I know would be helpful to my clients are out of my scope of practice. This is where Shaun Menache, LAc, MTOM, of Golden Mean Acupuncture comes in. When we met, and started talking about our healing work, Shaun expressed a similar frustration: that his clients often wanted to talk through their emotional experiences with him, but it is outside his scope of practice to provide talk therapy. With this shared perspective, we immediately saw the value and potential benefit of combining psychotherapy and acupuncture to provide our clients with maximum emotional and physical healing and relief.
So we decided to join forces to provide co-therapy: Shaun working on the body and me working on the psychological aspects. We are calling what we do Mind-Body Integration Therapy, but are still looking for a good, descriptive name. (I jokingly call it "psycho-puncture," but that's just my bad humor.)
Shaun and I work with people who present with both physical and psychological concerns. Using our unique Mind-Body Integration technique, we work on clients simultaneously. We consult with the client and each other on the specific physical and emotional concerns present and develop a complementary treatment plan. After Shaun applies the acupuncture needles, I stay in the room with the client to address the memories, emotions, and negative beliefs that arise so they may be integrated with the physical experience. Then the three of us reconvene to debrief and discuss future treatment options.
Right now we are providing Mind-Body Integration therapy at Shaun's office in Silver Lake every other Saturday by appointment. If you are interested in this experimental treatment method, please feel free to speak with me or Shaun to see if it may benefit you.