‘Iao Mind & Body Health
Why Choose Us
Most of us were raised with messages like “don’t get angry” and “fix that attitude” and “get over it.” We learned emotions are a nuisance, and it is better and easier to ignore, suppress, or avoid emotions. However, the neuroscience on emotions is strong and clear: Our emotions are always alive and active. In fact, the part of our brain that processes emotions has a vast processing capacity and speed that far outpaces the areas of our brain that process logic and rational information. Your emotional brain influences 90% of what you think feel and do at any given moment, while the rational brain influences only 10%. Our life history, personal experiences, and nervous system capacity impacts the relationship we have with our emotions. Perhaps it was useful or even necessary to avoid (distance) yourself from your emotions early on in life. Perhaps some emotions felt necessary, valuable, or familiar.
What brings most people to therapy is the desire to stop engaging in what they believe are problematic patterns of behavior, thoughts, and/or feelings. Feeling stuck or that your emotions rule you and reacting without conscious choice. We want to have freedom of choice. Without the ability to choose, we might develop chronic feelings of shame or guilt and our relationships may feel troubled. The path to this freedom is creating a relationship with your emotions: the ability to witness, tolerate, and allow the experience of emotion. When there is no awareness or allowance of emotion, there is no space between stimulus and response, which makes us more reactive. Being detached from emotions is not necessarily a mindful choice; it is usually deeply rooted, automatic, and unconscious.
The experience of trauma and stress lives in the body. Our bodies are programmed to react in instinctual ways. Fight, flight, freeze, and collapse are survival responses. These repetitive and overactive survival responses are your brain’s effort to protect you too well from danger that is no longer present. In this way, the past is alive in the form of an inner sense of discomfort and unease. We can grow awareness of emotions and survival responses by noticing the sensations of the body. Noticing the sensations and state of our bodies can allow us to connect with our experience in the moment. For example, noticing that your chest feels hot and tight after your partner dismissed your concerns about finances. You might also notice emotions like anger or frustration. Instead of blowing your top or retreating inwardly to shut down, you witness instead of feeling consumed by the experience. The act of witnessing changes your brain and creates a half second of space for choice.
My life history and personal experiences taught me that I needed to fight to get my needs met; I had to fight to feel seen and heard. It felt like it was a biological imperative for my survival. My nervous system was completely dysregulated, and I had severe panic attacks in my 30s.
Somatic therapy gave me the conditions and the tools to sense the trauma that was alive in my body. Through conscious awareness, I was able to tolerate and safely experience feelings of shame, anger, sadness, and fear. I learned how to sense and complete survival response of fight and flight. My body became my friend, a friend that I know how to comfort, soothe, and appreciate. I check in with my friend and communicate frequently, so that my friend doesn’t have to shout.
Fostering a relationship with your body will help you move toward what is healing and vital and move away from what is not. Your body is a barometer, a way to take an internal reading of your experience, as you interact with the world. Let us walk that path of healing together, forging a relationship with your body, your emotions, and your experiences to create more freedom and ease.
"The biggest mistake we make about who we are is believing that we are thinking beings. That we are cognitive driven people who on occasion stumble into emotion, move it out of our way, flick it aside and get back to our thinking selves. This is not true."
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-i)
Somatic Experiencing (SE)
Parts Work Therapy with Memory Reconsolidation
Cassendra E. Caceres-Licos
The Covid-19 global pandemic offered many teachable moments. Perhaps one of the most crucial lessons is the importance of RESILIENCE. We cannot know what lies around the corner for us. What is known is that each of us will experience adversity in our lifetime. While it can be nearly impossible to avoid all adversity, there are steps one can take to develop skills and strengths to rise to the challenges in life.