Mind Body Therapies

Health for Life Counseling in Grand Rapids, Michigan offers a variety of Mind Body Therapies to clients throughout Michigan. Mind Body Therapies focus on not only feeling better mentally, but physically as well.

The compelling interplay between our mind and body is at the core of our work at Health for Life Counseling. Integrative mental health techniques, such as mind-body therapies, represent powerful treatment options in the realm of mental health that bridge the gap between physical and mental well-being.

These holistic practices, rooted in evidence-based research, recognize the connection between our bodies and minds and are based on the idea that our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes can directly impact our biological functions. And indeed — studies show that mindfulness-based therapies can lead to significant reductions in symptoms of anxiety and depression (e.g., Bhattacharya & Hofmann, 2023).

At Health for Life Counseling, we’re embracing this dynamic shift and offering something extraordinary – advanced mind-body therapies that tune into your thoughts, emotions, and sensory experiences in your nervous system and body.

Our integrative approach goes beyond conventional talk therapy and involves a range of empirically proven “mind-body” therapies. We consider the whole person – their mind, body, and emotions – in the quest for optimal health and wellness.

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Types of Mind-Body Therapies

1)  Somatic Experiencing Therapy

Somatic Experiencing Therapy stands out as a body-oriented approach to psychotherapy that promotes the healing of trauma and stress disorders. The author of this innovative methodology, Dr. Peter A. Levine developed this naturalistic approach to find the root causes of trauma and help individuals regulate their nervous systems with the help of a therapist.

At its core, Somatic Experiencing Therapy aims to re-establish the body’s capacity for self-regulation. Therapists at Health for Life Counseling who practice this approach guide individuals toward a path of recovery and resilience. Studies show that Somatic Experiencing Resiliency-Based Trauma Treatment Training significantly reduces both psychological and somatic symptoms of anxiety (Winblad et al., 2018).

Therefore, we use this mind-body therapy as part of our comprehensive treatment plan to promote holistic healing and overall wellness.

2)  Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is one of the mind-body therapies (MBTs) that combines focused attention, awareness of the present moment, emotion regulation, and non-judgmental acceptance of one’s thoughts, feelings, and sensations. The goal is to achieve a state of relaxation and balance within the mind and body.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is an especially promising approach that combines the principles of CBT with Eastern mindfulness practices. A 2019 study published in JAMA shows that meditation and other MBTs reduce pain and help individuals cope with opioid cravings (Garland et al., 2019).

Considering that mindfulness meditation is also effective for trauma treatment (e.g., Boyd et al., 2017), we offer Trauma-Sensitive MBCT — a specialized adaptation of this approach designed to safely and effectively work with individuals who have experienced trauma.

3)  Yoga Techniques

Meditation isn’t the only Eastern practice that can positively influence mental health. Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qigong are some effective mind-body practices that can positively influence mental health. These practices incorporate physical movements with a mental focus to promote harmony between the mind and body.

Yoga, for instance, integrates physical postures, controlled breathing, and meditation to harmonize mind and body. It’s considered a complementary therapy to medication in the treatment of stress, anxiety, and depression (Woodyard, 2011).

Tai Chi and Qigong, originating from Chinese traditional practices, also involve the combination of gentle movements and focused attention. These practices aim to reduce stress and promote overall psychological well-being.

4)  Sensorimotor Therapy and Related Approaches

Sensorimotor Therapy is another evidence-based approach to psychotherapy that incorporates the body in the treatment of mental health issues, particularly trauma. It integrates cognitive and somatic (body) techniques to help clients explore the connection between their physical sensations and emotions. This approach is exceptionally effective in processing trauma as it promotes the release of disturbing memories and promotes healing (Fisher, 2019).

Another safe, body-focused technique developed to treat the harmful effects of trauma is EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). EMDR is a therapy that includes light movement to help clients process and alleviate traumatic memories. Particularly, this technique involves the client focusing on a traumatic memory or disturbing life event while simultaneously receiving bilateral sensory input. This dual attention stimulates the brain’s adaptive information-processing mechanisms.

In addition to EMDR, you can also take advantage of Art Therapy, a method that employs the sensory and tactile experience of creating art to facilitate self-expression, emotional healing, and personal growth. This can be especially beneficial for those who find verbal communication challenging or who need an alternative way to express their feelings.

5)  Guided Imagery and Self-hypnosis

Guided imagery and self-hypnosis are other types of mind-body techniques often used by therapists who adopt an integrative approach.

Guided imagery involves the use of relaxing and positive images to replace distressing or negative thoughts. This technique promotes stress reduction and takes part in anxiety management.

Similarly, self-hypnosis aims to help individuals increase relaxation, confidence, and well-being while in a trance-like state. While these methods require practice, they are powerful tools that individuals can use to self-regulate emotions and manage stress in their daily lives.

The effectiveness of these therapeutic practices is also proven empirically. For instance, a study conducted with patients undergoing dermatologic procedures showed that live hypnotic induction followed by self-guided imagery significantly reduced anxiety (Shenefelt, 2013).

6)  Biofeedback

Biofeedback is one of the alternative medicine approaches that continues to gain popularity in modern integrative healthcare. The basic idea of this mind-body technique revolves around providing real-time information about various physiological processes to the individual, such as heart rate, blood pressure, or muscle tension.

During this process, therapists use electronic or electromechanical equipment to accurately measure and provide ‘feedback’ about neuromuscular and autonomic activity. By receiving this ‘feedback’, individuals can learn to consciously regulate these typically automatic bodily processes.

The ultimate goal is to enhance self-awareness and promote better control over one’s own physiological responses to stress, anxiety, and other negative emotional states. Studies show the effectiveness of biofeedback-based mental health interventions for anxiety (e.g., Alneyadi et al., 2021).

7)  Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques encompass a wide range of practices aiming to reduce tension, alleviate stress, and promote a state of calmness and well-being.

These methods include diverse such as:

  • Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR)
  • Deep breathing or breathing exercises
  • Autogenic training:
  • Visualization techniques

These practices help slow the heart rate, lower blood pressure and reduce stress hormone levels. Their main purpose is to foster a sense of peace and enhance well-being.

Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, yoga, meditation, and mindfulness have been identified as helpful in managing physiological symptoms of conditions like posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Scotland-Coogan and Davis, 2019). Consequently, integrative practitioners often try to complement traditional therapies with these techniques.

Benefits of Mind-Body Therapies

The beauty of mind-body therapies is that they not only address the symptoms but also the root causes of mental distress. They provide a holistic approach to well-being and emphasize the idea that the mind and body are deeply interconnected.

These therapies can help foster resilience, improve the capacity for self-regulation, and empower individuals with the tools needed to sustain long-term health and wellness.

Here are some empirical benefits of mind-body therapies:

  • Improved Mental Health – Mind-body therapies have been shown to reduce symptoms of mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Hofmann et al., 2010; Kim et al., 2013).
  • Stress Reduction – These practices can decrease physiological markers of stress, including heart rate and cortisol levels.
  • Enhanced Quality of Life – Regular practice can lead to substantial improvements in overall well-being and quality of life.
  • Better Physical Health – Techniques such as yoga and Tai Chi also promote improved physical health, boosting strength, balance, and flexibility (Jahnke et al., 2010).
  • Increased Self-Awareness – Mind-body therapies foster a deeper understanding of one’s own body, thought patterns, and emotional responses, leading to improved self-regulation (Keng et al., 2011).
  • Pain Management – These therapies have been instrumental in managing chronic pain and thus, reducing the need for opioid medications (Labus et al., 2019).

Are you ready to explore the transformative potential of mind-body therapies? At Health for Life Counseling, our dedicated team of practitioners is ready to guide you on this journey toward holistic well-being. Whether you’re grappling with trauma, stress, or anxiety, or simply seeking to enhance your resilience and overall wellness, our range of empirically proven “mind-body” therapies can offer the tools and insights you need.

Contact us today to learn more to schedule your first appointment. Together, let’s navigate your journey to holistic health and wellness.

Therapists For Mind Body Therapists in Grand Rapids

Lucas Perkins, Counseling Intern

Culturally Sensitive & Holistic Counseling for Adults and Older Teens

Megan Drizin

Telehealth Counseling for Women, Moms, and Couples

Josh Zheng

Empowering Counseling for All, EMDR Therapy, Internal Family Systems Therapy

Billie Walters

Intuitive Counseling, EMDR Therapy, and Reiki

Michael Egan

Counseling that Empowers and Strengthens You

Paul Krauss – Clinical Director

Counseling, EMDR Therapy, & Solutions

Kathryn Barcelona

Therapy for adults struggling with depression, anxiety, issues, substance use recovery, etc.

James Love

Specializing in Adults, Men’s Issues, & Therapy with Children from a grounded, authentic, and non-judgemental perspective

Kay Foster

Emotion-focused, Inclusive Counseling and EMDR Therapy

Shanna Beebe

A non-judgemental space for deep healing from trauma, abuse, and relationship wounds.

Maxwell Schuiteman

EMDR, Strengths-Based, and Relational Therapy for Adults: Relationships, Men’s Issues, Trauma, etc.

Thomcy Thomas

Multicultural, Client-Centered Therapy with a Mindfulness Approach - Fostering Self-Awareness and Empowerment in Adults

Alexa Bates

Serving Children, Families, Couples and Adults who are struggling to find a way through difficulties

Lauren Huisman-Woy

Serving Children, Teens, Families, and Adults with Compassionate Counseling including EMDR and TF-CBT

Brendan Cole

EMDR for Performance & Trauma Recovery, Couples Therapy, Premarital Counseling

Katerina Guerrero

Empowering Your Journey: Culturally Inclusive, Integrative Therapy for Healing and Growth

Natalie Julien

Integrative, Intuitive, Mindfulness-Based,Trauma-Informed Therapy for Women, Parents, & Young Adults

Taylor Mize

Empowering Survivors to Heal and Use Their Voice

Jonathan Swiftney

Culturally Sensitive & Holistic Counseling for Adults and Adolescents

Sarah Denick

Counseling & EMDR Therapy for Women

Jennifer McKinstry

Counseling and EMDR Therapy for Trauma, Depression, Anxiety, and Spiritual Issues

Nicole Cass

Sex therapist using creative Solutions and Trauma-Informed Counseling for Couples, Adults, and Teens

Katy Jaramillo

Counseling and Art Therapy for Adults and Teens: Empowerment and Healing from Medical and Neurological Trauma + Existential Concerns

Caley Weisgerber

Compassionate and Empowering Therapy for Deep Healing

K’Quiana Griffin-Knowling

EMDR, Empowerment, and Healing for all

Brittani Decess

Counseling through a trauma-informed, inclusive, and equitable lens for individuals, relationships, and families.

Kelly Benzin

Therapy from an Intersectional Systems and Holistic Lens

Taylor Freund

Trauma Informed and Internal Family Systems informed Counseling for Adults

Anna Utter

EMDR, DBT Skills, and Trauma-Informed Therapy for Adults and Teens

Elif Piromari

Strengths-Based and Trauma-Informed Therapy for Young Adults and More

Kori Crask

Trauma-Informed Counseling and EMDR Therapy for long-term healing

Lindsey Beaver

Trauma Informed Counseling & EMDR for Teens, Young Adults and Adults

Gabby Cook

Compassionate, Trauma-Informed Therapist for Adults on their Path of Self-Discovery and Growth

Melissa Wade

Strengths-Based, Solution Focused, and Resilience Therapies for Families, Children, Teens, and Individuals

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All of the Counselors at The Trauma-Informed Counseling Center of Grand Rapids have undergone extensive additional training in order to help you:

Following graduate school, all of the counselors at The Trauma-Informed Counseling Center of Grand Rapids (located inside Health for Life Counseling Grand Rapids) have received extensive training in understanding the latest scientific research on neurobiology and how trauma affects the whole person. In addition, all of our therapists have learned at least one, trauma-specific intervention modality, which they have added to their toolbox of techniques in order to best help all people who seek help. This means, that they not only have the same training as your average counselor or therapist in Grand Rapids, MI to conduct traditional counseling and talk-therapy, but they have additional tools and information that will be helpful to people who are looking for more than a “solution-focused brief approach” or a strictly “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)” approach. More good news: Our therapists all know how to utilized Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Solution-Focused Brief Therapy and interweave those modalities into their personal style. And so, if you are seeking that type of counseling—we also can provide it.

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Health for Life Counseling Grand Rapids is a multi-faceted clinic that aims to help the whole person in a holistic manner. Health for Life Counseling Grand Rapids houses the Trauma-Informed Counseling Center of Grand Rapids, Individual Therapists, Couples Counselors, Child Therapists, Family Therapists, and produces a variety of Health Courses (available online), as well as free health blogs and youtube videos. We’re your one-stop-shop for getting to the root of what is troubling you and helping you on your journey of healing.

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