My first workaround was using the body as not just a vehicle to carry my head, but as a way to release stress and trauma, thereby connecting to my emotions. This bottom-up approach became my passion and orientation for 45 years. It led me to study with men and women who were developing new therapies that were initially thought of as weird but which therapists now line up to be trained in.
I was one of the original members of the United States Association for Body Psychotherapy, the research, and training nonprofit for somatic psychotherapy. With teachers like Ron Kurtz and Peter Levine going back to the late 1970s, I had the good fortune of being set in the right direction. These men and others not only helped me connect to my body and emotions, but they also taught me powerful tools to help others do the same.
An Integrative Medical Clinic
In 1980 I started a Rolfing practice that by 1985 I was told was the largest practice in the country. Not satisfied, I expanded into an integrative medical clinic to include a wide range of practitioners from physicians to nutritionists. Then with a business partner, we co-created the Scottsdale Institute of Health and Medicine at the time, the premier Mindfulness Stress Reduction Program provider in the country.
As a side project, I led corporate trainings through the ‘80s and ‘90s for companies including IBM that taught me how to work with groups who may not initially be receptive to utilizing nontraditional approaches.
Our clinic received referrals from allopathic and holistic physicians to help patients who were not improving because of the effects of somatic and emotional stress or trauma. A performance study with ASU and a history of helping Olympic and professional athletes taught me that when we down-regulate our stress, we perform better.