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formerly the Center for Sensorial Bodywork and Movement Therapy

*Definition: Extimacy - a Lacanian term disrupting the space between the personal and the social.

Not only can the human’s being not be understood without madness,

but it wouldn’t be the human’s being if it didn’t carry within it madness as the limit of its freedom.”  

Lacan/Fanon


[Cisgendered, able-bodied,
medium dark, black woman with
long dark dreadlocks bearing a 
pleasant, closed mouth smile with
soft eyes.  This impromptu selfie
was cropped, such that only
face, hair and high upper chest 
appear in the photo, for the
purpose of strategically hiding
“the mess” in the background :-)….]

 

SOMATIC APPROACH

I will always lean my heart as close to your soul as I can.  Hafez

….unfeeling cannot be understood without addressing the dimensions of how they are racialized, queered, and gendered as part of legacies of hegemonic oppression….what can we apprehend if we stay with the negativity of (self-preserving) unfeeling and suspend its rehabilitation…. Xine Yao

 

I’m a social practice-centered, somatic therapist and group facilitator.  My approach is shaped by 25 years of engaged theorization on race, class, gender, citizenship, migration, and diasporization.  My therapeutic work troubles how de-historicized expressions of intimacy recreate white/western universalisms in therapeutic and group encounter, things that render therapy and group facilitation complicit in the reproduction of social injustices and ultimately intergenerational harms.  To this end, I engage the whole person or community and the lineages in which they are situated, as well as historically juxtaposed and aligned.  Equal attention is given to individual/familial experiences and the broader socio-historical contexts in which these experiences are violently and mundanely normed in the present and over time: conquest; slavery; colonialisms; genocides; forced and voluntary migrations; indenturement; economic and legal selectionism; cultural and legal consequences of land dispossession and geo-political border shifting, environmental crisis/global warming; the cultural and institutional enforcements of ableism, binary sex/gender normativity and criminalization; and other non-repaired, historical and political formations and events resulting in the harmful, normative social practices that contextualize individual and familial trauma.  Through attuned sensorial and verbal connection I facilitate careful engagement with somatic expressions that communicate silenced, unvoiced, and unmet,  needs reflecting current, intergenerational, and historically unintegrated harm and stress, as well as future, alternative imaginings. 

My intention is to recognize and honor each individual’s or group’s current capacities and the socially-hierarchized relational fields in which these capacities are lived and navigated.  I tenderly foster a sustainable process of capacity-building toward resilience and profound connection with self, one’s communities and the world.  A first step in this direction is having the experience of sincerely being seen and met for who you are and for what you and your communities/lineages live/d.  I whole-heartedly hold the space for this encounter.

Traumatic experiences – whether relational or event-centered, or situated in the past or the present – share a common thread: the experience of the absence of choice.  My approach supports new explorations of spaciousness that yield opportunities for creatively mobilizing experiences of agency, however small or grand.   This process of knowing, feeling and acting from a place of mobilized agency is foundational for transformative healing: it can allow us to vulnerably, intimately, and extimately appear to ourselves and the world, even under current conditions of ongoing political harm.

I support social justice-centered individuals and groups who are living the somatic, emotional, and physiological effects of early relational or developmental trauma.  Early relational trauma refers to daily or regular social and familial harms and stresses experienced early in life, such as having to fend for self and siblings to manage emotional misattunement/neglect or physical/sexual violence from unsupported caregivers.  Early trauma can manifest as dysregulated emotional, somatic, and physiological states (like depression, anxiety, and autoimmune/gut complications), and can be experienced in adult life as the inability to 1) slow down or feel present to one’s body, other persons, or the moment, 2) sustain and contribute to the nurturance of relationships and intimacy, and 3) access, practice, and share one’s truths and wisdom with their communities.  

I especially welcome supporting individuals engaged in Transformative & Restorative Justice processes. 

PRO BONO SUPPORT FOR THOSE WRONGLY CONVICTED/EXONEREES.  ONLINE SESSIONS AVAILABLE.  I approach wrongful conviction and the aftermath of exoneration as unique psychic experiences that require specialized therapeutic support around systemic and institutional betrayal.  Please inquire for further info.

 

EXPERIENCE

My practice is informed by 13 years of training in Somatic Psychoeducation, also known as Perceptual Psychoeducation and the Danis Bois Method <danis-bois.fr> & <cerap.org>.  Created in France in the early 1980s by osteopath and physiotherapist Dr. Danis Bois, Somatic Psychoeducation is a fascia-focused practice whose roots originate in the osteopathic tradition.  As the practitioner’s empathetic hands perceive and slowly follow an autonomous ‘inner movement’ – a vital life force permeating all tissue matter – they guide individuals through the perceptual experience of sensing this ‘inner movement’ themselves.  The process of sensing this curious phenomena solicits the experience of ‘appearing to’ or ‘sensing’ one’s self at a profound existential and tissue level. Such perceptual entrainment brings sharp awareness of the enlivened intelligence inherent to physical matter; it awakens individuals to their embodied potentiality, thus supporting or accelerating personal inquiry processes.

I’m a certified Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner (SEP) and my current work is deeply informed by intensive training and assisting in Kathy Kain’s touch practice <somaticpractice.net>.  This is a trauma-focused practice that uses attuned touch to sense an individual’s immediate capacities for physiological and behavioral regulation.  The intention is to explore the unique pathways through which each individual is available to the cultivation of internal experiences of safety and thus capacity for expansion and resilience. This approach is foregrounded by the idea that sustainable change and resiliency will not occur until some internal sense of safety is tangibly experienced.  Kain’s approach taught me how to creatively apply the deeply refined touch sensitivity I developed in the Danis Bois Method to trauma-based cases.  

A rich and stormy research past as an academic equally enhances my approach to my work.  I previously taught in the Departments of Anthropology at the University of Florida and the University of Chicago where I focused on theorizing the re/production of pervasive social norms like racial, gender, class, and citizenship discrimination; I assessed how violent, everyday sociocultural patterns go unrecognized or unaddressed because of mundane nature of systemic violence.  Today, as a social practice-centered somatic therapist, and a ‘recovering anthropologist’, I employ an embodied approach that’s skilled at excavating un/subconscious social patterning that is reproduced in therapeutic and group fields. And now I work from a reversed perspective: instead of assessing how or why patterns work, I attend to the socio-ecological conditions that disrupt such patterning such that people acquire access to sustainably mobilize their agency for personal, communal, local, and global transformation.  I had the opportunity to further explore such disruptions as core faculty in the Somatic Studies specialization doctoral program at Pacifica Graduate Institute (2016-2019).  I recently made the decision to leave academia, again, to create space for an exclusive focus on justice-centered work: integrating embodied social theory and somatic awareness as preparatory groundwork for sustainable, transformative engagement.