Exercise therapy. Taking it outside the box. If traditional “talk therapy” does not feel like the right fit for you or if you already see a therapist but want some additional help that compliments your therapy then exercise therapy might be a good option. Some individuals feel more comfortable releasing their feelings while they are moving. It is helpful for those who feel as if they are “on the spot” in traditional therapy. It can also benefit people who already see a therapist but want to work on a particular issue out side of the office. Exercising helps people lower their defenses and allows a true expression of their thoughts and feeling to arise. It also helps individuals problem solve and figure out new ways to perceive or change their old patterns. It can help someone get particular about a specific issue like body image, being vulnerable, trusting others, taking the lead, or being a follower. The therapy takes place in a gym facility. You can work out with weights, do yoga, go for a walk, or all of the above. The idea of it is to get you moving and reflecting about the changes you want to make in your life.
If you are coming in without a therapist, the first session will be in the office to establish a plan and discuss your goals. Once we get into the exercising environment we will begin with a warm up and do a verbal check in. I will see how things are going for you and if there is anything that relates to the goals you want to achieve. As the exercises increase during the session we can move into the problem solving stage and see if any solutions or reframing your thoughts can be carried out. Usually the clients feel more open to new perspectives once the heart rate is increased and the endorphins are active in the body. There will be a lot of symbolism used during the exercise therapy to help you visualize your success. For instance, if you feel you are under a lot of pressure at work or school I will have you do squats with your preferred weight amount over your shoulders and explain how your strength will push through the struggle. I am highly encouraging and will give you visuals to take outside the gym into your own psychological development. For those of you who struggle with body image issues we will be thanking our bodies for getting us through the workout and towards our achievements. If you are feeling insecure or depressed we could do yoga stretches and moves to help lift you up and open your chest to the sky. There is an unlimited amount of therapeutic exercises combined with movement that will stay in your mind outside the gym. The results are highly beneficial to your mind, body, and soul.
If you are already working with a therapist I will not need to meet with you in the office. I would ask for a release to speak to the current therapist and discuss the plan with you at the gym. Your therapist will be doing the deeper psychological work and I will be supplementing and focusing on issues that we can symbolize or address in the gym. Some therapists refer clients who need help with recognizing their inner strength or confidence in achieving goals. In these cases I will keep track of the clients improvements and tracking their achievements. I will point out the accomplishments and how they relate to the work they are doing in therapy. I have also worked with clients who needed to develop a positive relationship with their body. I will point out how they are getting stronger and they have their body to thank for it. Other clients have come in before wanting to improve their mindfulness skills. Working out with weights is great way to improve mindfulness and your mind-body connection. Feeling the muscles work and incorporating the breathing helps people learn how to stay in the present. Exercise therapy can not take the place of traditional talk therapy. It has a different approach and you can not cover as much information as you usual do in the office. Exercise therapy compliments traditional therapy and it becomes a team approach.
POTENTIAL REASONS FOR EXERCISE THERAPY
-to develop a better mind-body connection
-to practice mindfulness
-to problem solve
-to cope with addiction
-to develop a better relationship with your body
-gain a sense of accomplishment
-to work on trust issues
-learn how to cope with the pressures in your life
-change your perspective
-change behavioral patterns
-learn how to be assertive
-learn relaxation techniques
-recognize where your body holds stress
-feel good about yourself
-develop self compassion
-learn how to breath
-improve self esteem
-feel stronger mentally and physically
-begin to like who you are
-find your inner strengths
-accept your challenges
-feel better about who you are
Request An Appointment
I usually ask if we can touch base over the phone before we set up an appointment. I want to make sure we start off going in the right direction for your situation.