Psychologist incorporates yoga into psychotherapy sessions

September 30, 2014

When you think of a psychologist’s office, what do you envision? A couch? Book-lined walls? A box of tissues?

How about a yoga mat?

If it’s the office of UNT Health Science Center’s Mandy Jordan, PhD, that’s exactly what you’ll find.

Dr. Jordan’s psychotherapy sessions incorporate yoga and the mind-body connection.

“Research indicates that trauma, depression, anxiety have an impact on the brain and the body,” she said. “Therefore, in my opinion, the benefit of traditional talk therapy is limited if the body is not included.”

Her therapy is completely individualized and based on her patients’ problems, beliefs and receptivity. For example, some of her patients have a physical injury, body ache or a chronic health condition.

She teaches patients different stretches or yoga postures that may strengthen, elongate or ease tension in the affected area.

“While my patients do physical exercises that target the area of tension or pain, we talk about the issues related to that area of the body,” explained Dr. Jordan, Assistant Professor of  Psychiatry and Behavioral Health. “Interestingly, as that area is physically addressed, I find patients develop better insights and emotional release about their particular problem.  In addition, regardless of the problem, I almost always teach the diaphragmatic breathing, grounding techniques, and tools to help the patient stay in the present moment – all important factors in yoga.”

Research supports her belief. In a study published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, patients with histories of trauma who practiced trauma-sensitive yoga as part of their therapy showed significantly more improvement in symptoms than those who just participated in group-therapy sessions.

For more information or to make an appointment with Dr. Jordan, contact 817-702-3100.

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