We want to feel better now.
Maybe even 3 years ago, thank you.
And of course we do! This shit is uncomfortable.
They say don’t rush your healing. What a frustrating statement. And what a true one (sorry).
The modern world moves at a fast pace, one that accelerates far past what our biology was designed for. We are rewarded for quick results, for efficiency, for getting the right answer first, for not wasting everyone’s valuable time. If the words “technology” and “capitalism” are coming into your mind here – bingo! We’re on the same page babe. We live in an unprecedented state of high speed connection, fast information, and demand for constant productivity and forward motion.
We tend to take this fast pace and transfer it over into how we handle our bodies, our emotions, and our messy, unruly healing processes. We enter into therapy wanting to feel better, more whole, more inspired, more embodied, more confident …. More more more! And we want those results ASAP.
Believe me, I get it. It is HARD to hang out in the swampy dark depths.
But what does this rushing, demanding pace actually communicate to our bodies and our wounds?
“I don’t have time for you.”
“You’re not any fun. I don’t want to be around you.”
“You’re in pain. Go away.”
“Shut up. Get over it.”
“I don’t want you, let’s skip over to something better.”
“There are better and more important things in life than you.”
OUCH! See how that stings?
And it also doesn’t work.
Rushing necessitates shutting down parts of ourselves, cutting off from sensations, body needs, and intuitive centers. Rushing means we put all these vitals aside in order to “get somewhere”, cutting off the very things we need to heal. And with this self-abandonment, the wounds grow deeper.
So why do we do this to ourselves, and what’s the rush anyway?
If you’re like many people, you probably feel a connection between being good/well and being functional/productive. How often have you wanted to feel better so that you could get back to work? How often has it felt like a waste of time when you need more rest? How often do you feel like your entire sense of self-worth is tied to how “good” you perform? This mindset often has roots in trauma, capitalism, and white supremacy culture.
One way of challenging these toxic norms, healing trauma, and decolonizing our bodies is to slow down. Slowing down means prioritizing our messy humanness over efficiency, and uplifting and honoring the extra time and slowness it actually takes to tend to ourselves in a deeply caring way with wholeness, humanity, and heart.
I love the quotation attributed to Napoleon: “Dress me slowly, I’m in a hurry” as well as the U.S. Special Operations mantra: “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.”
(I know, not the sources I usually turn to for humanity and heart, but even a broken clock is right twice a day)
Self-connection, embodiment, healing, and especially trauma healing REQUIRE that we slow down, feel our bodies, and surrender into the nonlinear process.
With slowness, we can feel the nuances in our bodies. We can practice new responses rather than falling back on old reactive patterns. We can stop bypassing our pain and instead cultivate curiosity, empathy, and compassion. We can make room for discomfort, digestion, exploration, and play. We can stop getting in our own way. And ironically, we can really speed things up!
We are scared to slow down, thinking that it’s going to take forever. But it doesn’t take forever, it takes the time that it takes.
How does this show up in the therapy room?
- You might feel a sense of urgency or time scarcity in your therapy sessions. You might be keenly aware of the time and money you are investing in the process and impatient for change. Gotta use those 50 minutes really super well!
- You might start therapy for one reason (oooh hey, I want to enjoy my sexuality more) but then feel quite angry when a different process emerges (oh no! What do you mean my body is filled with grief?)
- You also might feel like you are just on the cusp of something when session time runs out. Damn!
Truth is, there is SO MUCH that does not fit into a 50-minute time frame. And for this reason, I really like to open up more space and options for different types of processes.
- For some people, taking the time that it takes might mean simply using few minutes at the start of a session to ground, breathe, and get clear on intentions before jumping into stories.
- Sometimes, it means settling into a weekly therapy process that extends over multiple years. Working with the same therapist for an extended length of time allows you to slowly build trust and safety, and slowly unpack your stuff in bite-sized, workable pieces over time.
- For other folks, taking the time that it takes might mean breaking out of the 50-minute format entirely, setting aside a whole day for intensive work, uninterrupted by other life obligations.
The 50-min sessions format is a useful convention that makes for easy pacing and scheduling, but it is still just a convention. I get excited about the spacious experience allowed through intensive therapy, where we have 3 or 4 or 6 hours to r.e.a.l.l.y. sink in, and move through. It is a gift to ourselves to slow down and drop into a deep, exploratory space without time-pressure. Our bodies and nervous systems then are able to settle, feel safe, enter a process, complete a process, and reground on the other side.
Dance/movement therapy intensives are ideal for deep-dive, somatic-creative work in specific areas where we feel stuck, and allow us to move slowly (over multiple hours) while also moving quickly (over a day rather than over many weeks).
A dance/movement therapy intensive could be a great fit for you if…
- This idea of slowness and spacious time-frames is really speaking to you! You feel like 50-minutes a week is never enough for the depth and full exploration you’re looking for.
- You crave an embodied, creative and movement-based experience, something a far cry away from traditional talk therapy methods.
- You know how to cope with day to day life, and don’t need additional weekly support. But at the same time, you haven’t been able to really get to the root of some of your biggest fears, blocks, or traumas that are holding you back from thriving.
- You’ve been in a long therapy process already, but you’re still feeling stuck. You’re still running into the same problems over and over, and repeating the same basic issues. You realize it’s time to switch things up and try a very different approach.
- Your daily schedule may not allow you to commit to regular weekly therapy sessions, or you may live very far away from any trained dance/movement therapists or somatic trauma therapists. A retreat-style experience would make this work accessible.
- Your main concerns align with my area of expertise: authentic embodiment, healing complex trauma, and exploring/expanding queer identities and sexuality.