Debra Haverson Psychotherapy Services LLC

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Why “Talking” Alone May Not Lead to Feeling Better


Yes, I do believe in talk therapy and the healing that comes from having a very empathetic and supportive relationship with the therapist.  Sometimes it feels great to have a witness to your sadness, worry or anger.  It is also helpful to have someone who tells you honestly AND compassionately – without judgment – ­­­when you do something that’s counterproductive, especially in your interpersonal relationships.  The session serves as a safe place to practice an emotionally intimate relationship. 

Yet having a good cry or episode of righteous indignation or even gaining understanding, from a thinking perspective, on why you are reactive or hang on to unhelpful behavior patterns, doesn’t mean that you will feel better long-term.  Maybe not even the next day.  For this reason, I incorporate body-based interventions into my work with you.  In 2015, I completed the first level in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (SP), developed by Pat Ogden, but my work is also informed by an understanding of the many mind-body techniques that have become an important new trend in psychotherapy. These include Hakomi, Somatic Experiencing, EMDR, Internal Family Systems, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and yoga- and mindfulness-influenced therapy models.  I am continuing with the Level II training in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, which runs from September 2016 through January 2018.   


These use a “bottom-up” approach, meaning that awareness is first brought to the individual’s experience in the body, rather than a “top-down” thinking approach, which is used in cognitive therapy.  The central idea is that memories are not always stored as conscious thoughts but also ­unconsciously and are noticeable as sensory information.  I help you bring awareness and curiosity to this information, to let it lead you to a place you weren’t able to reach no matter how much you retold your story. 

Pat Ogden has described Sensorimotor Psychotherapy as the highly interpersonal process during which the therapist and the client together are studying the client’s internal emotional processes as they occur in the present moment.  This includes images, thoughts, sensations and emotions.  This strong emotional connection, known as attunement, brings about “relational repair” that helps to heal the imprints on the nervous system by the earlier trauma.  Some clients feel an immediate transformation in how they feel after doing this type of work.  Others may return to the next session stating that they felt significantly better during the past week but they don’t really know why.        

In a nutshell, here’s why it works.  Together, therapist and client recognize the body’s wisdom in making choices that led to physical and/or emotional survival.  This lessens any self-blame about being the way they are now.  Individuals learn to notice sensory information under the protective eye of the therapist,  who makes sure they don’t become emotionally out of control or shut down. They might possibly visualize or use movement to create different outcomes in which individuals can release the energy stuck by feeling helpless during a traumatic event or during a difficult time in childhood. There is reorganization within the brain and other parts of the nervous system. Over time, together, we discover and reduce what keeps you stuck and unable to enjoy life.



© 2015  Debra Haverson

In the Presbyterian Church of Madison, 19 Green Avenue 2nd floor, Madison, NJ   07940
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Phone: 973-476-4503
Mailing address:  P.O. Box 416, Madison, NJ 07940