What is Therapeutic Aikido?
Therapeutic Aikido is the blending of Aikido training and Therapeutic Services. Therapeutic Aikido combines cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness therapy, somatic therapy and principles of Aikido practice to explore the relationship between our thoughts, emotions, actions and relationships. In therapeutic Aikido the body, mind and spirit are all used as sources of information, exploration and transformation to identify what is out of balance, hurting, or not working.
Therapeutic Aikido is an effective treatment for children and adults experiencing: an emotional unbalancing; anxiety, depression, anger; a mental unbalancing; over thinking, difficulty taking action, difficulty feeling, disconnected with their body; and/or a spiritual unbalancing; unclear purpose, lack meaning, disconnection from life.
Therapeutic Aikido allows one to explore their body, mind, spirit, action, purpose and relationships to see how each aspect of themselves relates to the other aspects as well as how it contributes to their overall functioning.
For example, someone who is experiencing depression, will likely present with a lethargic body, "playing dead" as a response to threats or stress, with subordinate posture, indirect gaze and stuck inertia. Their emotions are sad or irritable, which is often the focus, but every aspect of who they are contributes to how they are living their lives. The depressed mind is risk adverse, often choosing to do nothing as a strategy to fail at nothing and avoid rejection or further loss. A depressed person often feels hopeless and helpless, without a purpose, without meaning or significance in the world. Further examination and exploration often reveals that the depressed person's social patterns, thought patterns, energy levels and quality of energy, behavior, coping mechanisms and spiritual life are not functioning well or not functioning well together.
Therapeutic Aikido allows a client to explore what isn't working and find ways to bring each piece into harmony. This approach stimulates early successes by initially addressing the parts of a person that they are most comfortable with changing, while they build skills and practices to address those that are the most difficult.
Therapeutic Aikido was developed by Owen Lawyer, a licensed marriage and family therapist and black belt at Ukiah Aikido. Therapeutic Aikido was inspired by Sensei Gayle Fillman's use of Aikido as a rehabilitation modality for children and O'Sensei's vision that Aikido was medicine for a sick world.
You can find out more about therapeutic Aikido at Aikitherapy.com.