The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog


When Words Aren’t Enough

We human beings are more than our minds, thoughts and feelings. Our bodies are repositories for our pasts; both pain and pleasure reside as cellular memory. For some, talk therapy is sufficient to work out challenges and traumas. For others, a mutlti-modal approach that includes somatic therapy or body psychotherapy is even more effective. Enter the world of Matthew Cohen, who refers to himself as a ‘somatic educator'; in simple terms, someone whose work is in the second category. A career psychotherapist whose work spans several decades, Cohen is also the author of When Words Aren’t Enough.

I initially met him when he founded The Body Synergy Institute in the 1980’s and have watched his career blossom and have heard stories of healing that has taken place in the lives of those who have worked with him. A few of his clients graciously allowed for their stories to be shared in this book that is both for the professional who wants to learn more about integrating these concepts into their practice and the lay person who desires to explore more about what makes them tick.

Cohen spreads out a foundation by speaking about professional boundaries, since some of this work involves close physical (but not sexual) contact. He also delves into the idea that spirituality and psychotherapy need not exist as separate realms and that combined, can enhance the recovery process. His own spiritual journey fed his therapeutic strategies as is discussed early on.

Transcripts of the sessions he did with Jeff and Emily, a couple who unlike many who enter into therapy, were not in major crisis mode, but wanted to enhance what they had already created for themselves, with Cohen as their trusted guide, are placed throughout the first section. Each had physical challenges, such as migraines and back pain that are addressed in both verbal and embodied form. They came to recognize the roots of their relational friction that showed up from time to time.

Randall is an abuse survivor who experienced many years of the trauma of sexual assault perpetrated my several family members. With him, Cohen used what he calls Emotionally Focused Touch. Many who have PTSD, tend to dissociate and even feel as if they have left their bodies. This is a survival mechanism that enables them to make it through the horrors they endured. He was diagnosed with DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder that used to be called Multiple Personality Disorder)  In his sessions, Randall came to find that non-sexual, professionally offered touch was not only safe, but body and soul nourishing. He literally came back into his body and felt present in it.

Gordon arrived on Cohen’s doorstep with a rotator cuff injury. He is an attorney who once upon a time had aspirations of becoming a Jesuit priest, which made it easier for Cohen to make inroads with him, because of his own deep spirituality, even as he had approached it from a different angle. Some of his process involved integrating his relationship with his controlling, alcoholic father whose expectations for his son felt restrictive, a portion of which was symbolized by the ways in which Gordon viewed his journey, not giving himself credit for how far he had come.

At the end of the book, Cohen reviews and summarizes the progress these four courageous souls have made. He has a high degree of respect for them that is evident in this book that in all ways ‘touches on’ the resilience of the human spirit.

www.matthewcohen.us

 

 



Previous Posts

No Explanation Needed
"No' is one of the shortest words in the English language and one of the most difficult to say for some people, unless the person happens to be two years old and then it might well one of their most favorite to utter. It implies disagreement, disapproval, a sense of refusal and lack of cooperation.

posted 7:38:52am Mar. 04, 2015 | read full post »

Full Circle Experience
  With Christine Lavin and Julie Gold Had a full circle experience on Sunday, when I walked through the doors of the Unitarian Church at 21st and Chestnut in Philly to celebrate the 80th birthday and illustrious career of music legend Gene Shay. He had been the host of folk shows on

posted 9:50:13pm Mar. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Living With Grace, Flow and Ease-Book Review
  What if you could invite three angels into your home who would accompany you through your days, assisting you in having, as I like to refer to it, a 'rich, full, juicy life'? Would you issue a call and then keep the door open to welcome them in? Reading the book Living with Grace, F

posted 7:45:33am Feb. 28, 2015 | read full post »

The Sound of the Dove-Music Review
  "If you could combine the compelling voices of fellow Canadians Sarah McLachlan and Loreena McKennitt, with the soaring throat notes of kirtan singer; best known as Madonna's back up singer, Donna DeLory, you would have a sense of the magnificent tonings and tunes of Pamela Jane Gerr

posted 3:59:41pm Feb. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Bucket List
I awoke in the wee hours this morning, from a dream about my parents. Both passed in the last few years; my dad in 2008 and my mom in 2010. They were the dearest people in my life; teachers, guides, providers, cheerleaders and guardians of my heart and soul. Although I know that they are safe and so

posted 9:43:22pm Feb. 24, 2015 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.