December 12th, 2013

When I first started Graduate school I worked in an elementary school as an aide for children with pervasive developmental disorder to help them succeed in mainstream classrooms. One of the students in the classroom I worked in was a particularly happy boy who was full of life and enthusiasm. (Not the easiest qualities for the teacher to have to manage in a classroom environment, but that’s another story.)  The boy’s father used to chaperon class events frequently, and I always enjoyed talking to him about his philosophies on life. One of the things that really stuck with me about how this man approached life is that one of his “keys to his success” was that every day after work he would spend 30 minutes in the park siting in silence. While it isn’t news to most of us that down time and enjoying nature, is good for us, this was the first person I actually met who was truly dedicated to this practice.

Thirteen years later I have come across an on-line article on downtime and I wanted to share with you. It’s called, Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime by Ferris Jabr.

Here are some of the highlights:

First of all, and to no surprise, the United States as a whole is terrible at taking time off. Not only do Americans have fewer vacation days than Europeans, but we also use our vacation days less and tend to stay available via smart phones and the internet while we are on our vacations.

One of the main points of the article is that “downtime” as an active and necessary process. Tim Kreider’s of The New York Times was quoted, “Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration—it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.”

The article cites how scientists have now found that this process is in deed a biological fact of our brain functioning. There is a complex circuit in the brain that turns on when the circuits in the brain in charge of concentration on challenging tasks turns off, and vice versa. This “downtime” circuitry called default mode network (DMN), is argued to be necessary for identity formation, understanding human behavior, and instill an internal code of ethics (Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, 2012).

Additionally, downtime replenishes the brain, restores our capacity for attention and motivation, encourages creativity and inspiration, creates room for epiphanies, and is essential in our ability to form stable memories including our self concept.

The article also discusses how the positive effect of downtime is not as much dependent on the amount of downtime one experiences as much as it is the consistency that makes the biggest difference. In other words, having a daily practice of taking some form of downtime is much more beneficial than a one week vacation. In fact, the article cites studies examining how the effects of a one week vacation wear off as quickly as within one week of returning to work.

So I’d like to suggest making a commitment in the New Year to establishing some form of daily “downtime” practice in 2014.

  • 20 minutes of meditation.
  • 10, 20, or 30-minute power nap
  • A walk in nature
  • Sitting in the park for 30 minutes
  • Watching sunsets

Remember. It’s the consistency that is import. Not what you choose.


Have a Happy New Year Everyone,



To read the full length article, go to:


Announcement for Therapists.

December 4th, 2013

10 Days Left To Take Advantage Of The Early Registration Savings!

The Early Registration deadline for the 2014 Psycho-Physical Therapy Professional Training in Somatic Psychotherapy is December 14, 2013.

This professional experiential training provides you with many of the models and skills necessary to create and utilize somatic interventions for working with the core issues that form the foundation of your client’s unrest and suffering. You will gain skills that will allow you to develop fluency in working seamlessly between psychological and physical issues. You will learn to build new psycho-physical resources that support your clients in becoming more flexible, creative, and healthy individuals. You will learn to build the therapeutic relationship based on collaboration and open heartedness. You will come away from the training with a practical understanding of how utilizing the body, as the central vehicle for the therapeutic process, facilitates and deepens your client’s growth, transformation, and realization.

Psycho-Physical Therapy Skills:

· Fundamental theories and principles of Psycho-Physical Therapy

· Consciousness Raising Model of Psychotherapy

· Working With Creative Energy & Expression

· Building and Sustaining Somatic Awareness & Mindfulness

· Tracking: Body Reading & Assessment of psychological issues

· Working with the Mind-Body Interface

· Using Physical Interventions to Access Psychological Material

· Processing Psychological Issues Through the Body

· Using Movement & Touch as Psychological Interventions

· Assessing & Building Psycho-Physical Resources

· Transformation through Resourcing vs. Historical Processing or Wound Based Models

Training Schedule:

2/28-3/2, 4/4-6, 5/16-18, 6/20-22, 9/19-21, 11/7-9, 2014

(6 three day weekends – 11 class  hours)

Class hours: Friday 1:00-6:00, Saturday 9:30-6:00, Sunday 9:30-5:30


Regular Tuition: $3,000

Early Registration Discount: -$150*

Scholarship Credit: -$150

 Student Tuition: $2,700*

*(Early registration discount is only valid through December 14th, 2013)*

Location of Training:

Rosen Berkeley Center, 825 Bancroft Way, Berkeley CA 94710

For more information or to register for the workshops:

Please contact me at, or phone 510-496-6006, or go to our website:

Ethics and the Clinical Use of Touch, Part I

November 14th, 2013

Two years ago I was attending an Attachment therapy training and the facilitator spoke of touch as if it were a dangerous thing he would never do. It struck me that someone who values “attachment” would present as “touch phobic.”

There is a common misperception that touch is an illegal or unethical intervention in psychotherapy. This is not true.

As with all interventions, it is the proper use of touch, not touch itself that determines if the therapist is acting according with professional standards.

As “touch-based therapists,” I have decided to help move the industry away from fear-based thinking and towards looking at touch in terms of competency, clinical assessment, and understanding personal or countertransference issues.

I am pleased to announce my first Law and Ethics workshop through the Psycho-Physical Therapy Institute, “Ethics and the Clinical Use of Touch, Part I”

This workshop will explore the ethical and legal issues involving informed consent, documentation, scope of competency, clinical assessment of benefits and risks, and personal, cultural and countertransference issues in the use of touch.

For more information or to register contact me at 510 499-7137

Friday Nov. 15th – 6:00pm – 9:00pm

Tuition: $65

3 CEUs for MFTs and LCSWs





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