The Somatic Psychology program has recently begun a groundbreaking collaboration with the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) to combine somatic psychotherapy with acupuncture. The first workshop offered as part of the collaboration was on “Cultivating Mind-Body Wellness: Managing Stress and Anxiety.” It was held at the ACTCM in San Francisco from May 10 to June 28, 2012. Two graduates of the CIIS Somatic Psychology program, clinicians in training at the Center for Somatic Psychotherapy, Stacie Dubin and Gesine Wenzel, facilitated the workshop. The workshop took place once a week, immediately after ACTCM’s Community Acupuncture Project, a donation-based community drop-in clinic.
“The intention was that people would receive acupuncture, have a short break, and then go to the mind-body wellness group,” explains Steuart Gold, clinic director of the Center for Somatic Psychotherapy, a CIIS counseling center grounded in the practice of body-oriented therapy taught in the Somatic Psychology program.
Gold sees unity between the practices of acupuncture and somatic psychotherapy: “I think the two are complementary, although they are both unique approaches. Somatic psychotherapy is all about reclaiming one’s vitality and life force. At its core, all psychotherapy addresses the quality of one’s aliveness. And from what I understand about acupuncture, a central focus is attending to where a person is experiencing inhibition within the optimal expression of the life force.”
The eight-week wellness group was the first in a series that the Center for Somatic Psychology will offer in conjunction with ACTCM. “We’re very grateful to those at ACTCM who are helping to make this collaboration possible, including ACTCM President Lixin Huang, Vice President for Academic Affairs Bing Zeng Zou, Chair of the Acupuncture Department Pamela Olton, and Director of the Doctoral Program Carla Wilson. We are equally grateful,” Gold adds, “for the encouragement and support from CIIS President Joseph L. Subbiondo; Academic Vice President Judie Wexler; and Director of Field Placement Becky McGovern.”
The next workshop is now in formation. For more information contact the Center for Somatic Psychotherapy at 415.217.8895.