This month I officially start to include acupressure as part of my therapeutic practice as a Registered Psychotherapist.
Here’s the back story.
20 years ago I was a 20-something not-for-profit project coordinator in South London (UK), biking around in the city, meditating at the local Tibetan monastery and living in a shared house in North Clapham.
I was dreaming of moving to BC, meeting rugged outdoor men with beards (ahem, well, it IS part of the story) and doing more direct 1-1 engaged healing work. I wanted to be more directly connected to the folks I was supporting, rather than in an administrative role.
So I trained in massage in night school, waited til I had enough “points” to immigrate to Canada as a skilled worker, then I moved to BC in 2003 (just me, my backpack and a large dose of privilege).
Thanks to WWOOFing I found a home on Saltspring island at a yoga centre. I offered massage at the spa and volunteered for room and board. It was a dreamy change from London, but the massage work was a bit too spa-like for me; Swedish massage was nice but the effect only seems to last a few hours and didn’t go as deep into the psyche as I wanted.
I found the Canadian College of Acupressure in Victoria. Acupressure intrigued me as it bridged the gap into the psycho-spiritual realm whilst staying grounded in body experience. (Usefully it also allowed me to be a student while I waited for my immigration status to come through). At first I was quite sceptical about how holding certain points on the body could change anything. Yet I also was the recipient of many sessions and my experience in those led me to challenge my reservations.
I started my own business called Body Mind Works in Victoria, BC (2004). I particularly
loved the body-centred processing made possible to me through the Hakomi we learnt in acupressure school. The processing followed the organicity of the body and was gentle yet deep. Clients reported surprising shifts and insights.
After a few years I knew I needed to get a graduate degree to have clients be able to get their treatments covered by extended medical companies and thus be able to make this as a career. It was either becoming a RMT or a Psychotherapist. My wrists were hurting at the time and the Hakomi work really spoke to me, so I chose an MA in Counselling Psychology and graduated in 2009.
Since then I’ve pretty much uniquely offered talk-therapy albeit body-centred. I’ve developed my Hakomi skills and added others like expressive arts work, Internal Family Systems and Focusing-Oriented Therapy. Really I’m led by the stuff that works for me as a client and as a human. What more can we do?
In the background I’ve felt stuck for years wanting to integrate all this work. I knew there was something more that needed to happen in my work with the body and with creativity. Well, I think it’s happening.
I’m now insured to offer acupressure alongside talk-based therapy. I have consulted with my governing body, the CRPO, and can legitimately offer acupressure as an additional modality.
Here is more about the kind of acupressure I practice. I’m pretty excited. There are so many ways to work now with clients, adapting to their needs and preferences, and also following the organicity of the process.