Updated: Sep 29, 2022
PROVIDING "GAP" SERVICES BY FILLING IN THE MISSING PIECES IN MIND-BODY HEALTHCARE
There's a gap in our healthcare system. TBH, it's more like a giant chasm:
A gaping hole built into the bedrock of how we approach healing. What is this gap? Why does it matter?
THE MIND-BODY GAP
Let's talk about the "mind-body connection". Our thoughts and emotions have a direct impact on our physical health.
Take anxiety, for example. How do you know when you're anxious? You might experience a racing heart, butterflies in the stomach, muscle tension, sweaty palms, and shortness of breath. Emotions are embodied: They move through our nervous system, which runs from head-to-toe throughout the our entire body.
This is normal! It's how we're wired and (most of the time) it's helpful. But what happens when this cycle of anxiety becomes chronic?
Most people come to therapy to address the way anxiety, depression, or trauma have affected their thinking, their relationships, or because they just don't like the way they feel. Don't get me wrong, these are great reasons to come to therapy! But all too often we miss how things like anxiety, depression, or trauma affect our bodies (until it's too late). So many of our clients are also wrestling with things like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, "POTS", TMJ, or sleep disorders. It's not at all uncommon for clients to come to therapy for the first time after they've visited the emergency room 3 or 4 times because they've mistaken panic attacks for heart attacks.
This mind-body connection is particularly important when clients have a history of trauma or attachment disruptions. There are a plethora of wonderful books depicting how trauma is housed in the body and carried with us as we move through life (The Body Keeps the Score and The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog are two of my favorites). Hypervigilance (think anxiety's bigger, meaner brother), sensory hallucinations (flashbacks), and sleep disturbances are all among the diagnostic criteria for PTSD. When traumas happen early in life, over a prolonged period of time, and/or more than once, stress on the body is repeated day-in and day-out, often for years and years.
The mind and the body are inextricably connected. For this reason, healthcare that addresses only the "mental" aspect of health or only the "physical" aspect of health are only treating a small part of your problem.
THE MIND THE GAP DIFFERENCE
We're trying to do something different by offering "gap" services in the Middle Tennessee community. At present, Mind The Gap offers two key interdisciplinary services: psychotherapy and occupational therapy.
Psychotherapy has been the traditional modality for addressing mental health concerns around depression, anxiety, and trauma. Our providers are trained, as most providers are, in "top-down" modalities such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). The Mind The Gap difference, however, is that our providers are also trained in "bottom-up" approaches to psychotherapy such as EMDR, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, hypnosis, and mindfulness. These approaches are uniquely geared to work with the body in treating trauma and mood disorders.
Occupational Therapists are specially trained and educated in neuroscience, anatomy and physiology, sensory modulation, activity and environmental analysis, and occupational performance. Within the context of Occupational Therapy, occupation is defined as “the meaningful activities that make up an individual’s day” and is the only profession that helps people across the lifespan to do what they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily occupations.
The Mind The Gap difference is that our OT is specifically trained in mental health and is one of the only OTs in Middle Tennessee to provide psychosocial OT in an integrative mental health setting. Our therapist specializes in addressing the psychosocial needs of clients across the lifespan. She focuses on a client’s mental wellbeing, their environment, and their daily occupations and base interventions on what's practical for her clients. OT is the perfect bridge between the mind and the body, allowing us to provide "wrap-around" services for our clients as they move toward healing.
It's true that no one provider will ever be able to do it all, but we believe that our healthcare system could be doing a lot more. Our mission is to engage our Middle Tennessee community in whole-person mental healthcare. Healing should address mind, body, spirit, community, and culture.
Maybe you're like many of the clients we work with: you've tried therapy before and found that it's "just talk". You've been bounced around from doctors office to doctors office and felt like no one really listens to you. You've only every been able to get these professionals to work with a small part of the whole picture.
If that's the case, we'd like to invite you to try something new, something different. We're here to work with you. The whole of you. The real you. We don't have all the answers, but we're ready and willing to journey alongside you, to provide direction when you feel lost in the dark. We'd like to invite you to try the Mind The Gap difference.