We focus on bodily experiences, like sensations, emotions, tensions and movements. This focus on experience, rather than abstract notions, leads to more grounded insights and understanding. We discover the roots of psychological organization and we find meaning by working with here and now experiences. The body is alive with meaning and memory. We focus on experience, not for its own sake, but to learn from them, how we came to be who we are, and how we shall move on.”
- Ron Kurtz
WHAT IS ASD?
ASD holds an especially strong somatic orientation.
Through Evoking mindful self-awareness, We learn to slow things down enough to help study the ways in which movement, gesture, voice, tensions, impulses and other physical indicators reveal deep psychological material.
These powerful mindfulness-based somatic methods transform limiting core beliefs through offering the missing nourishing experience, reconsolidation of memory and
integration around the capacity to fully inhabit the body, the places and spaces that have been frozen and dark until now. Bringing in spaciousness and compassion into this new moment.
The foundations for much of our explorations lie at the core of the question::
Who am I, and who am I in relation to…?
Who do we think we are?
What kind of world are we creating as a model of where we live / what kind of reality we live in?
Ultimately, if this is who I am, and this is the world I live in- How do I need to behave to get my needs met?
What’s my relationship to the whole- in me? And in the trans-personal - Transpersonal conveys a connection beyond the survival strategy, capturing spiritual dimensions all humans share with a deeper self, others, nature, and the universe.”
This Therapeutic modality addresses
Existential spiritual way of being
Key Principles in ASD Therapy
These principles govern the experiential strategies used to identify and reconfigure core beliefs. They also form the foundation of this therapy, influencing every aspect of the client-therapist interaction.
ASD takes place within a state of mindfulness. By cultivating a witnessing state of consciousness grounded in present moment sensations, we view mindfulness as a tool that re organizes. Since a person’s core material automatically determines their habitual behaviors, studying how we organize our experience also provides insight into the way this material influences their perceptions. By orienting ourselves toward our senses in new ways, mindfulness also allows people to view habitual modes of perception without being directly implicated in them.
Unconditional positive regard, caring, and knowing wholeness permeates our guidance.
It's Heart centered. Experiencing the moment wit love and curiosity and spaciousness leads to transformation and integration.
Leading by following
human beings are organic, living systems intrinsically driven toward self-correction, self-actualization, and self-regeneration. If communication breaks down, a corrective process may appear in the form of physical or psychological symptoms.
However, when viewed as a self-corrective process, psychological distress isn’t a neurochemical problem but a signal/directive along a journey toward equilibrium.
Like mindfulness, which encourages people to allow, rather than change or suppress, all experiences, we view resistance and defensiveness not as states to be defeated but supported. This orientation is rooted in the assumption that psychological defenses are strategies a person adopted as resourceful, protective responses to early pain. As a result, we view all reactions are expressions of a person’s organic wisdom.
We hold radical openness to experience, seeing the imposition of the practitioners will is a kind of violence.
(From both the conscious and unconscious)
One intervention that reflects non-violent orientation is the concept of “taking over,” where therapist takes over for what the client is already doing. We might offer to take the strain off an individual's head by offering to hold it up for them. Understanding the client’s initial body language as a kind of defense, by taking over the gesture, it allows the individual to release tension and bring awareness to the underlying feelings or impulses the gesture is helping them defend against. Supporting rather than fighting a person’s defenses paradoxically allows for their release.
As an experiential therapy, one key technique involves “prompts,” which are subjective experiments wherein a person notes and analyzes their responses to physical touch, gestures, and ideas.
For instance, practitioner might tell a person, “You’ve worked hard and should rest,” and then ask them to note what arises within. The goal isn’t to produce a specific state but to study the interpretations and sensations a probe evokes.
Mindfully witnessing the results of these prompts can unveil fresh ways for an individual to reshape or expand their perceptual lens.
For this reason, ASD presents an alternative to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), intended to help a person control anxious, or “dysfunctional” thoughts, rather than allowing them to unfold from a place of open-minded receptivity.
ASD invites revelations about the implicit, non-linguistic aspects of experience, unraveling more about the workings beneath the interpretive self in a spirit of light-hearted exploration. ASD can provide an interpretive vocabulary that bridges the gap between the experiencing self and the normally unconscious memories, images, and other salient emotional material these states unlock.
Using the body and unconscious expression as a map to healing truth integration and wholeness
Far from seeing the body and mind as two separate, non-interacting dimensions, we envision them in a constant interchange. Unlike other psychotherapeutic modalities which process outward behaviors as 'symptoms' of various mental health conditions, in ASD things like posture, eye contact, and gestures are indicators that reveal underlying attitudes, beliefs, and presuppositions that drive a person’s emotional and physical condition. They also confirm and reinforce their existing belief systems.
By gently nudging a person to assess the function of their physical gestures, the therapist models a discovery process that is driven by curiosity rather than fear or anxiety.
Of course, mindfully tracking the subtleties of a person’s disposition can be demanding: the process requires pristine attentiveness even during moments of quiet processing. ASD is less about deploying a series of techniques and more about slowing down and listening to oneself, and by extension, the other.
Interrelatedness / Unity
In ASD we explore inside of the understandings of the interdependency of all aspects of a person’s life. Seeing normally discrete dimensions as fundamentally intertwined, we believe that imbalance in one dimension can affect the entire system.
In light of ASD's stance that optimal functioning depends on communication between all aspects of a person’s experience, we don’t see depression or anxiety as isolated markers of mental illness. Instead, they’re responses to biological, psychosocial, socioeconomic, and psycho-spiritual imbalances.
As a consequence, we view psychological issues as downstream effects of stress on the brain. Diet, sleep, and exercise habits can contribute to biological dysregulation that manifests as psychiatric symptoms. Lifestyle optimization, is seen as an essential part of the integration process.
"If you can observe your own experience with a minimum of interference, and if you don’t try to control what you experience, if you simply allow things to happen and you observe them, then you will be able to discover things about yourself that you did not know before. You can discover little pieces of the inner structures of your mind, the very things that make you who you are.”