What is Holding Wholly?

We are only beginning to scientifically understand the body-mind connection. Until recently we have treated body and mind as separate systems. But the clues are everywhere that these spheres are interconnected. We can often feel emotions in the body; the butterflies of nervousness, the ache of a broken heart, or the quickening of a romance. From the other side, physical illness and chronic pain are known to increase depression and anxiety. While therapists talk about these things and bodyworkers quietly release them from the body, the whole person of the client is still disconnected.

Our bodies are present every moment of our lives, even if we are not aware of it. What we feel about what happens to us further effects our health and well-being, whether our mind wants to admit it or not. The body doesn’t lie. 

A psychotherapist, or counselor, uses verbal (and non-verbal) communication to help a client sort out problems using the mind. Even somatic therapists filter body awareness through the mind. In Depth psychotherapy, counselors pay attention to the imaginal language of our unconscious mind. This is the language of dreams, and, it turns out, the body also communicates using images.

A massage therapist or bodyworker physically manipulates tissue to facilitate healthy changes in muscle tone or body alignment. It is no coincidence that clients sometimes have deep emotional releases while receiving treatment. This is sometimes related to specific memory of trauma, but other times the images are unusual…a smell, a color, a seemingly random memory. These are the body’s way of communicating something important about what has been stored in the physical tissue.

The challenge is that we must bridge the body and the mind in order to address problems fully. Psychotherapeutic bodywork is a practice that I developed to connect intellectual awareness with physical messages arising during bodywork. Touch, massage, bodywork all have the potential to give you access to what the body knows; however, the language is not always immediately clear or easy for the mind to accept.

Through this structural integration bodywork, you begin a deeper relationship with the intelligence of your physical self. Some benefits include:

  • a return to the natural and optimal alignment of your body
  • relief from chronic pain
  • increased body awareness
  • access to what the mind has stored in the body

Psychotherapeutic support is key to Holding Wholly. Material which arises during session is gently contained during the bodywork and more fully explored afterwards. Holding Wholly means addressing the entire person of the client…body and mind…in order to re-integrate what has been divided within us.

If you currently feel as if you are a head riding around on your body, you have experienced trauma, or you simply wish to befriend your body, you may find Holding Wholly to be a powerful venue to re-integrating body and mind.


Laura trained as a Zen Bodytherapy practitioner in 1999. Zen Bodytherapy is deep tissue structural integration bodywork which returns the body to its most optimal functional alignment. Similar to Rolfing, Zen Bodytherapy incorporates dynamic breath and awareness to facilitate a more gentle release of muscle knots and tension.

Laura received her Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California. Her emphasis in Depth Psychology grounds Laura in the language of images from the Psyche.  Laura published a Master's Thesis Holding Wholly: Hosting images accessed in the course of bodywork, which grounds this practice in psychotherapeutic counseling terms. 

Through her bodywork practice Laura discovered that the body also speaks in images which often arise during sessions. Understanding the importance of supporting clients through emotional releases, Laura developed Holding Wholly to create a therapy that utilizes the body's intelligence and the mind's awareness to restore the whole person of the client.

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