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Top Down and Bottom Up

When you picture a therapy session, what images come to mind? TV shows and movies can quite frequently offer a bleak illustration…either a group of uncomfortable people sitting in a circle of folding chairs in an otherwise empty room or an individual lying on a sofa in a stuffy office where the therapist rarely looks up from her clipboard. Thankfully, therapy is much more personal and personable. 

Here at The Healing Collective, we like to think of therapy as both a top-down and a bottom-up approach. What do I mean by that? It involves the various processes of healing that take place. 

I’ve mentioned before that “talk therapy” is only one way to get to the heart of healing. This top-down method allows one to understand cognitively what has happened in their past and the process and maintenance work that will be involved in healing. The more a person can verbalize what happened to them, the more they will see how the past keeps showing up in their present and how they can move beyond it. This is also where a feeling of safety is created. So much of what we must take responsibility for in our healing we did not ask for. Creating a separation between who we are and the survival behaviors we’ve adopted is vital for recovery. A top-down approach enables us to integrate new behaviors and methods of healing. 

But therapy at The HC doesn’t end there. Once a person has gone through our top-down processes, they are ready to move on to the bottom-up approach. 

Bottom-up healing addresses all trauma stored in the body that manifests physical symptoms. This doesn’t always have a language, but it does have a feeling. Our body sends messages to us through emotions. The messages are meant to be supportive and helpful to guide us. However, many of us have needed to cut off that communication at some point in our lives because it gets in the way of pleasing others or coping. The longer our bodies are unable to feel…the longer we are unable to read the messages our bodies are giving us, the longer the effects of trauma remain. Only by moving are we able to facilitate healing in ways we can feel.

A person can’t confront trauma without talking about it; similarly, a person can’t heal their past without their body. At The HC, we combine talking and moving in our therapy approaches to guide our clients on the journey of recovery. If you’re considering this type of therapy, please get in touch. Healing is an action, not just a moment. It’s a process…one you don’t have to do alone. 

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