A few years ago I was looking for additional trainings in somatic psychology and learned of Mindful Awareness in Body-oriented Therapy (MABT). I trained in the MABT approach, worked as a MABT therapist on one of Dr. Price’s research studies, and incorporated MABT into my work with private practice clients. I have been a bodyworker for almost 20 years. I have a graduate degree in counseling psychology and I have a well-developed personal mindfulness practice.
Learning MABT has profoundly shifted my work. I’ve learned how to guide clients into their bodies and stay with sensation in a rich and in-depth way—primarily due to two fundamental processes underlying this approach:
- MABT is a process of inquiry. It’s about discovery. It’s about helping clients develop a sense of curiosity for what they feel and experience. It helps facilitate their ability to connect physical and emotional sensations. This approach is not about trying to change, fix, or alleviate someone else’s pain. It supports clients in forming a connection with their inner world. Through this process, clients develop tools for self-care based on their own journey of self-discovery.
- MABT facilitates engagement and the client’s active participation. This work is a team effort between client and therapist. I learned how to effectively dialogue with clients, deepening their sense of awareness. Learning this technique helped me interact in more ways with clients’ present-moment experience, thus facilitating client learning and inner connection.
Because of these two ways of engaging with clients, I have more ease in my practice. I have learned to slow down, to be more present as a therapist, and to facilitate a relationship of co-presence with my clients that leads to a natural unfolding of the therapeutic work. Even though I am a long-time student of mindfulness, this approach helped deepen my own meditation practice and the exploration of subtle sensation.
In MABT, clients learn mindfulness skills and develop body awareness practices that they can incorporate into their daily lives and that are specific to their individual needs. The hands-on approach of MABT helps to deepen clients’ physical and emotional relationship to self, facilitating a safe way to explore. There is tremendous power in bringing attention into the body and staying with sensation; clients develop a sense of freedom and empowerment. The enhanced ability to stay in brings a sense of peace, ease, connection and well-being.