Interview with Janice Geller, Therapist and Bodyworker in Durham, NC

9.) KP:  I’ve known you for a long time and have always viewed you as somebody with a lot of knowledge and experience from which to draw on in your work; it’s clearly valuable to have all those tools and techniques and understanding.  That’s powerful because you can go pretty deep with them in terms of understanding and connection. 

But, equally important, one of the things I’ve known about you is that your sense of presence and openness as a person is quite powerful…just curious to know if you have any comments about that?

Janice:  I like to go into the mind state that I would like clients to enter.  This is the mind of curiosity, being open to my client’s experience, and inquiring about what they find.  For me, I like to be curious about them and not judgmental, in perceiving mode, accepting who they are and really enjoying who they are.  For me, it’s important to work on those states of mind within my own being, within my own work on myself, in relationship to me.

It’s also just sort of innate in me – I feel very curious about people in general (laughter).  I naturally don’t have a lot of judgment.  Sometimes after I’ve seen somebody for a long time, I can get thrown off with thinking “What can I or we do together to move this more,” but I’ve worked on that in myself, by not “selfing” so much, being open to the moment, and open to the experience.

I truly believe that the body and mind know what is needed to unwind or complete a trauma, if given the time and attention to do so. When I’m in that open state, it’s easier for them to access it as well.  The more that I’m grounded while in session, and not as busy in my life, I am more present in sessions.  There’s mirror neuron, prefrontal lobe, interpersonal neurobiology research, which I translate as bringing awareness to the resonance with my client in the course of psychotherapy.  If I’m not mirroring them and they’re not mirroring me, or if I’m too tired or too overwhelmed, then all of those states are experienced by both of us.

KP:  Clearly such an important piece of the therapeutic work is the relationship between client and therapist.  Ideally, accurate mirroring and connection is happening, so your presence as a clinician is important.  Again, I think that is a real strength of yours, so I just wanted to highlight that. 

Next Question: 10.) What would you say is one of your greatest joys from your work with clients?

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