What is Narrative Body Therapy?
Dr. Rapkin practices a unique form of bodywork called Narrative Body Therapy. Developed by Dr. Rapkin herself, this bodywork was born out of the integration of her twenty plus years of experience in movement and body-centered therapies and her passion for mind-body medicine. This bodywork operates under the assumption that every body has a story to tell, and that given a voice, every body can find increased wellness, vitality and healing. It explores how our life experiences, memories, and stories imprint upon our bodies and consciousness – and how over time this imprint becomes us. The work is unique in that it combines touch therapy with the active participation of a patient, integrating imagery, mindfulness, dialogue, and narrative. Narrative Body Therapy’s purpose is to facilitate change and transformation in patients’ lives by initiating a dialogue between the body and mind.
By starting with the assumption that every body has a story to tell and then offering a safe space and path by which that story can be told, the body begins to awaken to the possibility of expression – an opportunity to express itself, release itself, free itself. When working with patients, Dr. Rapkin sees shifts, transformations, releases, and lasting changes that occur in people’s lives when they listen to and hear what their bodies are saying. It is Dr. Rapkin’s challenge, passion, and purpose, that through Narrative Body Therapy, she continue to study and explore ways to give voice and expression to the body. A dialogue that we can call on every day, to not just understand and relieve our pain, but to feel comfort, find pleasure, and enjoy wellness in our physical and mental lives.
A Unique Form of Bodywork
Dr. Rapkin has always believed that body therapies are paramount to understanding how the wellness or sickness of our bodies is reflected in our states of emotional and mental health. Dr. Rapkin has trained in many different forms of bodywork as well as many different mind-body techniques. She has both professional training and personal experience with Rosen Method Bodywork, Craniosacral Therapy, the Alexander Technique, chakra system theory, meditation, imagery, and breath awareness. Prior to developing her own body therapy, her bodywork was eclectic; what she once saw as a being unfocused or unfaithful to any one particular technique, she now sees as simply her process and her journey in creating, naming, and owning the bodywork that she does.
Narrative Body Therapy uses concepts of mindfulness to focuses the attention of the patient on his/her body and fosters the patient’s ability to feel, listen, and hear the body; when we feel our bodies in any given moment, they speak. Pain, muscle tension, panic, visceral discomfort, anxiety, and numbness are all examples of ways our bodies speak to us. Our bodies speak to us when we feel good too; we have physical sensations of pleasure, excitement, joy, and love, to name just a few. We are conditioned to go to doctors when we feel pain, but rarely are we encouraged to sit with our intuitive and intelligent bodies, feel our comfort or discomfort, listen to it, and engage in a dialogue with it.
What is a Narrative Body Therapy session like?
A Narrative Body Therapy session is process-oriented and interactive. Patients coming to A Mind-Body Practice for bodywork are individuals interested in initiating a deeper connection with themselves and their bodies.
A dialogue with the body begins by listening to and feeling the body; the dialogue is fostered and supported with the help of touch. The touch in Narrative Body Therapy serves two purposes: to encourage and help a patient feel themselves more deeply, and to encourage and facilitate a release of both muscular and structural patterns of tension.
The dialogue between the patient and his/her body is not always verbal. When a patient is encouraged to feel his/her body, images, sounds, feelings, and emotions can surface along with or instead of words. Our life stories can be told through our bodies, however the story may not always be linear or verbal. It can be spoken through feelings, experiences, sensations, images, pictures, colors, sounds, thoughts, and words; the important thing is that we listen and hear what is coming to the surface.