Natural Processing is a modality of therapy developed by Craig Penner, LMFT, through decades of experience integrating EMDR and his extensive in-depth somatic focused training, including Somatic Experiencing. It embraces the belief that our early life experiences and trauma are as embedded in our body and nervous system as they often are in our thoughts and limiting beliefs about ourselves. In order to experience a significant shift in our way of being in the world, we must be present and mindful of what is happening our our bodies as we face our life challenges and dilemmas.
Natural Processing asks the therapist and client to really slow down the therapeutic process in a way that allows us to stay present, moment to moment, with the internal states occurring in our nervous system that we often subconsciously distract and defend against. In this process of slowing down and staying present in the here and now of what presents in our bodies and minds, we allow space for our nervous system to process though experiences or beliefs about self or the world that have been keeping us stuck in either a heightened state of anxiety or a disconnected state from self and others. This often includes expanding our awareness of our internal body sensations and various subconscious body movements that occur while addressing topics in therapy. In pairing this new awareness and experience of being connected to our somatic, or body, experience, we begin to face our dilemmas, patterns, and emotional experience in a much deeper and connected way.
Often times, EMDR, or bilateral stimulation, is included in this therapy and is believed to help the nervous system integrate previously unintegrated beliefs about one's experiences. For more on EMDR, see www.emdria.org
Photo (c) Eric Zimmer
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