"To capture another's heart we must first capture our own" - Brett Blumenta
Maybe you want more intimacy in your life, but fear it at the same time.
Maybe you experienced unrequited love, an unfaithful partner or having to abandon your values and boundaries to maintain a relationship. Maybe you have been badly hurt by someone close to you.
You might be struggling to find or maintain a relationship. You might wonder whether there is something wrong with you or why you find the process so draining.
We all want to feel love, but may have parts that we don’t like, don’t accept, don’t think are ok - the parts we hide. Love brings lovely sensations in the body, but if past feelings are holding us back, it makes it difficult to receive this love.
I can help you sort through these feelings and release them from where they are held in the body, meaning greater love for ourselves and easier connection with others.
I can help you to:
- Know that you are not alone
- Learn to love the parts of yourself that need it the most
- Set healthy boundaries and maintain good relationships
You can then:
- Feel worthy of love
- Understand the intentions of the people you meet
- Step into a new relationship without neediness
- Earn the respect of people you care about
- Hold relationships lightly so they can flourish
And finally discover:
- A more radiant version of yourself
- Recognise the power and beauty within you
Your First Session
Ultimately, the foundation of love that we need to thrive comes from within us. This is the deep resource that we develop in these sessions.
First we talk - a large part of the first session will be devoted to this. I've been blessed with a warm, open hearted disposition, and this infuses the therapeutic relationship. It's a kind of unconditional love and positive regard that comes naturally for me. I wish that all social interactions had this quality - they don't - so I find this work deeply rewarding.
You will discover that your internal world is much like the people around you, that these struggles are universal, part of the human condition. You get to shift the language of your self-talk and create a more favourable view of yourself.
You will notice "parts" of self that get in the way of self-acceptance, self-admiration, and self-love. You probably don't have warm feelings toward these parts, but I do. In the words of Richard Swartz, "I never met a part I didn't like". You will learn that each of these parts, sometimes at war with each other, are all working to make your life better, safer, less threatening, more fun - they are on your side.
To establish a foundation of love in your life, you need to feel comfortable in your own body, at home in your own skin. Part of the first session is devoted to an awareness of your body. Any discomfort with yourself is reflected as uncomfortable sensations in your body. If you give your attention to these sensations, with a little compassion, they settle, they lose their intensity. The magic of this work is that the underlying emotions settle as well.
My intention for these sessions is that you will, more and more, express love and kindness toward yourself. This may include enjoying more time in your own company, setting clear boundaries that honour your self-worth, or creating food, experiences, and a living space that brings you greater pleasure. Besides "doing the work", I can support you with feel-good sessions of nurturing massage. I encourage you to see this not as tenderness from outside, but as a loving gift to yourself.
“What point is a loving partner if we cannot receive love”
“ Every human being deserves to feel safe, free to express themselves, sovereign in their own body, and able to make confident choices in life”
This is my foundation, the four pillars of my practice. I penned the words the day I chose this path as a healer, and I have never understood why anyone would not honour these basic human rights. It saddens me that in schools, workplaces - even in families and intimate relationships - people do not have this sanctuary.
For as long as I can remember, I have wished for a safer world for all. I struggled in earlier years to be accepted because wouldn't play the macho role expected of me. But I learned to be my own person.
Establishing this practice has been my way to align my values, my interests, my heart, and my gut, to live the way I choose. I have never felt so good in my own skin. This is who I am, this is what I do, this is my life.
“Hamish spent time listening to what was current in my emotional stream. He invited me to become conscious of my bodily sensations and to keep an awareness of these whilst continuing to explore the emotions. Almost imperceptibly the bodywork started. At all times I felt safe and so keen to be witnessed in my vulnerability. Hamish was intuitive in his touch. As a GP, I recognise the potential his work has for many people. On a personal level, I cannot think of a better way to feel whole again.”
This work relevant to anyone seeking personal insight, growth, balance, or resilience. It is likely the therapy of choice if emotion plays a big role in your life - either as a source of vitality and inspiration, or of struggle.
This page specifically refers to feeling safe in the world. The need for safety is often born of a difficult childhood, social, physical, sexual, or emotional trauma, bullying, deceit, violation of trust, and controlling relationships.
You will need to do some work to "feel and heal", but if you want to change your emotions - to feel more vibrant, more stable, more aligned, more trusting, more anything - you will likely find value in the work.
Drop any idea of being "in therapy" for years. Embodied interventions tend to be short, and I want each session to bring meaningful change. The session time tends to create personal insights and new perspectives, which unfold in the week ahead. For a time, it will raise more questions than answers, so I would usually recommend a series of at least 3 sessions, no more than 8 in a stretch.
Often people seek help when they feel in crisis, and quickly feel the pressure is off... the crisis has been averted. I strongly recommend further sessions to consolidate the changes you have made. That way, you can make some small tweaks in your life and feel more resilient for your future.
Trauma is a distressing experience that overwhelms our ability to cope.
It's not the severity of the event that does the damage so much as the level of overwhelm. Never compare your trauma to someone else's. If you felt overwhelmed, your body carries a sense of "mortal danger" and the world feels unsafe, period.
Even mild overwhelm can leave a scar if it happens early in life, or over a prolonged period. These experiences have been labeled developmental trauma and complex trauma respectively - they tend to have a deeper impact and require more patience and understanding to resolve.
The "embodied emotional therapy" I offer is inspired by the work of Peter Levine. We create a "lived experience" of rising above the event(s) - e.g. seeing options where you could see none, speaking out where you were frozen and silent, or holding eye contact where you hid your face. In light of these new experiences, you can recall past events without the feeling of overwhelm... without trauma.
The effects of trauma are not logical, and they are not primarily the result of explicit memories. We can have feelings of existential threat without literal memories, which makes a cognitive understanding difficult. But that's not the only way to understand, and not the only way to heal.
Embodied emotional therapy is what we call a "bottom up" therapy. Through the work we can keep our physiology calm while experiencing thoughts and memories that would usually be distressing. So the trigger is no longer triggering, a scary memory or experience is no longer scary.
Yes, we can heal trauma we don't remember, and we can heal trauma without digging up stories of the past.
There are two distinct ways of addressing difficult life challenges. The top down approach (most talk therapy) is to hear the story and the meaning we have layered upon it, recognise the underlying belief, challenge and discredit distorted beliefs, behave differently, and feel ok again.
Embodied emotional therapy is a bottom up therapy, based on the idea of bodymind. How we feel within our bodies has a huge influence on how we think - “my heart is racing, therefore I feel afraid”. And our thoughts influence our bodies - like the sinking feeling in your gut when you realise you have missed an appointment.
The magic of this work is that body sensations give us insight into our emotions.
- Becoming comfortable with the sensations can bring emotional healing.
- Feeling sensation in numb areas can restore vitality.
- And calming our physiological state can make the world a safe place again.
Bottom up therapies tend to bring flashes of insight. The mind can quickly join the dots between a sensation, an emotion, a forgotten memory, and an unfulfilled need. We can understand and heal the ever-repeating story that had us stuck.
There is nothing worse than living in a state of constant threat. It can overwhelm our emotions, make us sick, and reduce our life span. But it is our physiology that is killing us, not necessarily the danger that surrounds us.
In “fight or flight” our brain is changed. We are primed to see danger, we act instinctively without impulse control, the logic of our prefrontal cortex is shut down, and we can't tell the difference between a safe situation and a dangerous one.
Embodied emotional therapy can help us claim our birthright of feeling safe, even when danger is close at hand. As we learn to maintain calm physiology, we make better decisions, we have a more accurate sense of safety and danger, and we can maintain better relationships with the people who support us.
The strong intention with this work is to create an island of safety and gradually extend it out into your world. The best way is to show deep kindness and patience with yourself, and communicate your feelings as they arise so I can help you find a place of deep safety in-session.
Beforehand, try noticing any small thing that helps you feel lighter, or brings comfort. I don't recommend challenging yourself, trying to figure things out, or pushing to achieve something. Give yourself a wee holiday beforehand and the session work will flow more easily.
Or keep the door open
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