email page print pageAll Topic Reviews
Maximizing Effectiveness in Dynamic Psychotherapy Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy101 Healing StoriesA Clinician's Guide to Legal Issues in PsychotherapyA Map of the MindA Primer for Beginning PsychotherapyACT With LoveActive Treatment of DepressionAffect Regulation, Mentalization, and the Development of SelfAlready FreeBad TherapyBecoming an Effective PsychotherapistBecoming MyselfBefore ForgivingBeing a Brain-Wise TherapistBetrayed as BoysBeyond Evidence-Based PsychotherapyBeyond MadnessBeyond PostmodernismBinge No MoreBiofeedback for the BrainBipolar DisorderBody PsychotherapyBoundaries and Boundary Violations in PsychoanalysisBrain Change TherapyBrain Science and Psychological DisordersBrain-Based Therapy with AdultsBrain-Based Therapy with Children and AdolescentsBrief Adolescent Therapy Homework PlannerBrief Child Therapy Homework PlannerBrief Therapy Homework PlannerBuffy the Vampire Slayer and PhilosophyBuilding on BionCare of the PsycheCase Studies in DepressionCaught in the NetChild and Adolescent Treatment for Social Work PracticeChoosing an Online TherapistChronic DepressionClinical Dilemmas in PsychotherapyClinical Handbook of Psychological DisordersClinical Intuition in PsychotherapyClinical Pearls of WisdomCo-Creating ChangeCognitive Therapy for Challenging ProblemsCompassionConfessions of a Former ChildConfidential RelationshipsConfidentiality and Mental HealthConfidingContemplative Psychotherapy EssentialsControlConversations About Psychology and Sexual OrientationCoping with BPDCouch FictionCounseling in GenderlandCounseling with Choice TheoryCouple SkillsCrazy for YouCreating a Life of Meaning and CompassionCreating HysteriaCritical Issues in PsychotherapyCrucial Choices, Crucial ChangesDeafness In MindDecoding the Ethics CodeDeconstructing PsychotherapyDeep Brain StimulationDemystifying TherapyDepression 101Depression in ContextDialogues on DifferenceDissociative ChildrenDo-It-Yourself Eye Movement Techniques for Emotional HealingDoing CBTE-TherapyEarly WarningEncountering the Sacred in PsychotherapyEnergy Psychology InteractiveErrant SelvesEssays on Philosophical CounselingEssentials of Wais-III AssessmentEthically Challenged ProfessionsEthics and Values in PsychotherapyEthics in Plain EnglishEthics in Psychotherapy and CounselingExercise-Based Interventions for Mental IllnessExistential PsychotherapyExpectationExploring the Self through PhotographyExpressing EmotionFacing Human SufferingFairbairn's Object Relations Theory in the Clinical SettingFamily TherapyFavorite Counseling and Therapy Homework AssignmentsFear of IntimacyFlourishingFolie a DeuxForms of Intersubjectivity in Infant Reasearch and Adult TreatmentFoundations of Ethical Practice, Research, and Teaching in PsychologyFreud and the Question of PseudoscienceFrom Morality to Mental HealthFundamentals of Psychoanalytic TechniqueGenes on the CouchGod & TherapyHalf Empty, Half FullHandbook of Clinical Psychopharmacology for TherapistsHandbook of Counseling and Psychotherapy with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual ClientsHandbook of Evidence-Based Therapies for Children and AdolescentsHealing the Heart and Mind with MindfulnessHeinz KohutHelping Children Cope With Disasters and TerrorismHigh RiskHistory of PsychotherapyHow and Why Are Some Therapists Better Than Others?How Clients Make Therapy WorkHow People ChangeHow Psychotherapists DevelopHow to Fail As a TherapistHow to Go to TherapyHypnosis for Inner Conflict ResolutionHypnosis for Smoking CessationI Never Promised You a Rose GardenIf Only I Had KnownIn Others' EyesIn SessionIn Therapy We TrustIn Treatment: Season 1Incorporating Spirituality in Counseling and PsychotherapyInside the SessionInside TherapyIs Long-Term Therapy Unethical?Issues in Philosophical CounselingIt's Not as Bad as It SeemsItís Your HourLearning ACTLearning from Our MistakesLearning Supportive PsychotherapyLetters to a Young TherapistLife CoachingLogotherapy and Existential AnalysisLove's ExecutionerMadness and DemocracyMaking the Big LeapMan's Search for MeaningMaybe You Should Talk to SomeoneMetaphoria: Metaphor and Guided Metaphor for Psychotherapy and HealingMind GamesMindfulnessMindfulness and AcceptanceMindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for DepressionMindworks: An Introduction to NLPMockingbird YearsMoments of EngagementMomma and the Meaning of LifeMotivational Interviewing: Preparing People For ChangeMulticulturalism and the Therapeutic ProcessMultifamily Groups in the Treatment of Severe Psychiatric DisordersNarrative PracticeNietzsche and PsychotherapyOn the CouchOne Nation Under TherapyOur Inner WorldOur Last Great IllusionOutsider ArtOutsider Art and Art TherapyOvercoming Destructive Beliefs, Feelings, and BehaviorsOverexposedPathways to SpiritualityPersonality and PsychotherapyPhilosophical CounselingPhilosophical Counselling and the UnconsciousPhilosophical Issues in Counseling and PsychotherapyPhilosophical PracticePhilosophy and PsychotherapyPhilosophy for Counselling and PsychotherapyPhilosophy PracticePhilosophy's Role in Counseling and PsychotherapyPillar of SaltPlan BPlato, Not Prozac!Polarities of ExperiencesPower GamesPractical Psychoanalysis for Therapists and PatientsPrinciples and Practice of Sex TherapyProcess-Based CBTPromoting Healthy AttachmentsPsychologists Defying the CrowdPsychology, Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis, and the Politics of Human RelationshipsPsychosis in the FamilyPsychotherapyPsychotherapyPsychotherapy and ConfidentialityPsychotherapy As PraxisPsychotherapy East and WestPsychotherapy for Children and AdolescentsPsychotherapy for Personality DisordersPsychotherapy Is Worth ItPsychotherapy Isn't What You ThinkPsychotherapy with Adolescent Girls and Young WomenPsychotherapy with Children and AdolescentsPsychotherapy without the SelfPsychotherapy, American Culture, and Social PolicyRapid Cognitive TherapyRational Emotive Behavior TherapyRational Emotive Behavior TherapyRationality and the Pursuit of HappinessRebuilding Shattered LivesReclaiming Our ChildrenRecovery OptionsRelationalityRent Two Films and Let's Talk in the MorningSaving the Modern SoulScience and Pseudoscience in Clinical PsychologySecond-order Change in PsychotherapySelf-Compassion in PsychotherapySelf-Determination Theory in the ClinicSelf-Disclosure in Psychotherapy and RecoverySerious ShoppingSex, Therapy, and KidsSexual Orientation and Psychodynamic PsychotherapySigns of SafetySoul Murder RevisitedStaring at the SunStraight to JesusStrangers to OurselvesSubjective Experience and the Logic of the OtherTaking America Off DrugsTales of PsychotherapyTales of UnknowingTalk is Not EnoughTalking Cures and Placebo EffectsTelling SecretsThe Behavioral Medicine Treatment PlannerThe Body in PsychotherapyThe Brief Couples Therapy Homework Planner with DiskThe Case Formulation Approach to Cognitive-Behavior TherapyThe Challenge for Psychoanalysis and PsychotherapyThe Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Clinical Child Documentation SourcebookThe Clinical Documentation SourcebookThe Complete Adult Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Couch and the TreeThe Couples Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Crucible of ExperienceThe Cure of SoulsThe Death of PsychotherapyThe Education of Mrs. BemisThe Ethical Treatment of DepressionThe Ethics of PsychoanalysisThe Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Gift of TherapyThe Great Psychotherapy Debate: The Evidence for What Makes Psychotherapy Work The Healing JourneyThe Heart & Soul of ChangeThe Heroic ClientThe Husbands and Wives ClubThe Incurable RomanticThe Love CureThe Making of a TherapistThe Mindful TherapistThe Mirror Crack'dThe Mummy at the Dining Room TableThe Neuroscience of PsychotherapyThe Neuroscience of Psychotherapy: Healing the Social BrainThe New Rational TherapyThe Older Adult Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Other Side of DesireThe Pastoral Counseling Treatment PlannerThe Philosopher's Autobiography The Pornographer's GriefThe Portable CoachThe Portable Ethicist for Mental Health Professionals The Present Moment in Psychotherapy and Everyday LifeThe Problem of EvilThe Problem with Cognitive Behavioural TherapyThe Psychodynamics of Gender and Gender RoleThe Psychotherapy Documentation PrimerThe Psychotherapy Documentation PrimerThe Psychotherapy of HopeThe Real World Guide to Psychotherapy PracticeThe Schopenhauer CureThe Sex Lives of TeenagersThe Talking CureThe Therapeutic "Aha!"The Therapist's Guide to PsychopharmacologyThe Therapist's Guide to Psychopharmacology, Revised EditionThe Therapist's Ultimate Solution BookThe Trauma of Everyday LifeThe Trouble with IllnessThe UnsayableThe Way of the JournalTheory and Practice of Brief TherapyTherapy with ChildrenTherapy's DelusionsTheraScribe 3.0 for WindowsTheraScribe 4.0Thinking about ThinkingThinking for CliniciansThinking for CliniciansThoughts Without a ThinkerThriveToward a Psychology of AwakeningTracking Mental Health OutcomesTrauma, Truth and ReconciliationTreating Attachment DisordersTreatment for Chronic DepressionTreatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety DisordersUnderstanding Child MolestersUnspeakable Truths and Happy EndingsWhat the Buddha FeltWhat Works for Whom?What Works for Whom? Second EditionWhen the Body SpeaksWhispers from the EastWise TherapyWittgenstein and PsychotherapyWorking MindsWoulda, Coulda, ShouldaWriting About PatientsYoga Skills for Therapists:Yoga Therapy
As a psychologist as well as an avid yoga practitioner, I eagerly awaited the publication of this book. Being a therapist working in a college counseling center, I was already incorporating some yogic strategies into my practice, including providing clients with breathing (pranayama) instruction and offering suggestions for very simple yoga postures (asanas) to address symptoms such as stress, anxiety, and insomnia. However, I was hoping that author Amy Weintraub's Yoga Skills for Therapists: Effective Practices for Mood Management would both expand my repertoire of techniques as well as increase my proficiency with presenting these methods to my clients.
Weintraub teaches her own brand of yoga called LifeForce Yoga, which she describes as "hatha yoga plain and simple" (Page 1). She maintains that yoga can facilitate therapy in many ways which do not involve the yoga mat at all, particularly creating the therapeutic bond, increasing a sense of safety within the client's body, working to still and focus the client's mind, and finally, releasing tension stored in the body-mind. Weintraub cites several recent, research-based studies in which yoga was found to have various health benefits, such a reduction in cortisol, a stress hormone, and an improvement in mood/GABA levels for those suffering from chronic conditions (including diabetes, low back pain, cancer, and heart disease).
Prior to discussing specific techniques, Weintraub spends time briefly reviewing a few basic yogic principles, specifically as they pertain to the healing relationship. She also talks about a therapist's preliminary preparations prior to initiating yoga into therapy. First, she suggests establishing one's own practice, at the very least to become more confident in teaching these tools to one's clients. Second, she offers a few suggestions for how to introduce yoga to clients. Chief of these is the idea of establishing a "safe container," thus providing clients with a ritual for centering at the start of each session. I found this section a bit disappointing, as I was hoping that Weintraub would talk more about clients who are resistant--for example, those who fear trying anything "new age," those who maintain that "breathing doesn't work for me," etc.
With respect to the skills themselves, Weintraub starts with the breath, or pranayama. She explains the role that the breath can have on mood and how this can be of benefit to clients--and to therapists themselves as well. Weintraub also emphasizes the importance of matching the breathing strategy with the client's presentation. Therefore, she details both calming breathing practices for anxiety and more energizing practices for depression. Some of the techniques incorporate sounds, mudras (hand gestures), or larger movements. Weintraub delves more deeply into the use of both sounds and gestures in separate chapters on use of mantra, particularly as associated with the chakras, and mudras--used for both calming and energizing, and optionally combined with mantra as well.
In the remaining chapters, Weintraub reviews skills that are somewhat less unique to yoga. The first of these is the combined use of imagery and affirmation, known in yoga as bhavana and sankalpa. This section includes two different guided scripts with therapists can use with clients, either in an individual or group setting. The closing chapters cover yoga nidra and self-exploration, respectively. Yoga nidra is a deeply restful, meditative state. As Weintraub explains, it differs from other forms of meditation in that it is guided, generally practiced lying down, and invites conscious awareness of opposite states. Weintraub introduces a yoga nidra protocol known as iRest, developed by psychologist Richard Miller, and she offers a similar script based on her own studies with Miller. The last skills-based chapter addresses svadhyaya, or self-inquiry. Here Weintraub talks about how importance increased self-awareness is to the healing process. She reviews the role of yoga and offers simple instructions for facilitating this process of self-inquiry.
Weintraub concludes the book with additional resources. First, she provides a short summary of assorted yoga styles in order to assist therapists with offering referrals to clients. She also mentions a variety of supporting materials, including her own CDs and DVDs, Breathe to Beat the Blues (CD) and Life Force Yoga to Beat the Blues (DVDs; Levels 1 & 2). Finally, she includes information on trainings, suggested readings, and a glossary of terms.
In Yoga Skills for Therapists, Weintraub has effectively provided tools which counselors can incorporate into the practice of psychotherapy. It is important to note, however, that her use of "yoga" here reflects the traditional eight-limb path of yoga described by Patanjali's in his Yoga Sutras. In other words, the techniques which Weintraub offers do not center solely around the most well-known limb, asana (physical practice); rather, they incorporate several of the other limbs, including pranayama, dhyana (meditation), and svadhyaya (one of the five niyamas, the second limb). In fact, Weintraub specifically notes that teaching therapeutic use of postures would be beyond the scope of this work. I found this somewhat disappointing, as I would have liked to have seen some basic poses incorporated along with the other strategies. Still, Yoga Skills for Therapists provides plenty of useful information; I am confident I will use these skills with my own clients, and I would not hesitate to recommend this book.
© 2012 Beth Cholette
Beth Cholette, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who provides psychotherapy to college students.