“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
Dancing with Ourselves.
We strive to help individuals feel connected with themselves. Connection is about knowing yourself - what you like, what your opinion is about things, what your body responds positively and negatively to... as examples. Connection is also about self-trust: individuals trust that their body is sending messages that are important, legitimate, and need to be respected. To achieve this requires that individuals learns to dance with their bodies. A person's body makes a move: it could express a need like a stomach contracting in hunger, or signaling potential danger with the butterflies of anxiety in your stomach. In a synchronous dance, the individual pays attention to what his/his body is communicating and tries to give the body what it needs. Sometimes the person may guess wrong, but it is this back and forth trial and error with the body that allows an individual to learn about who s/he is and to gain self-trust.
The mission of our laboratory is to determine why this dance becomes disrupted for some people and then to develop treatments to help them learn to dance. We focus on individuals who are struggling with this dance.
Individuals that we study include (but are not limited to) those with:
Binge Eating Disorder
Childhood Somatic Pain Syndromes (such as tummy pain)
“Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.'
- The Velveteen Rabbit
Dancing with others.
Our parallel line of research examines how individuals’ sense others when they have difficulties sensing themselves. Increasing evidence suggests that we understand others via embodied enactments of our own experiences. These findings have profound implications for individuals who have dysfunction in the experience of their bodies as it suggests limited capacities to truly understand others’ experiences. By studying these processes in parallel, we hope to better understand how this interaction between sensing ourselves and others unfolds.