The Physical & Emotional Connection. Cynthia Price.
Cynthia Price is a body therapy researcher. She studied massage therapy in 1981 and was in private practice for 20 years as a body psychotherapist before pursuing her doctorate to do research in the field. Now an Associate Research Professor at the University of Washington, her research is focused on the study of Mindful Awareness in Body-oriented Therapy (MABT), a body therapy approach developed to teach interoceptive awareness skills for self-care and to facilitate emotion regulation. This work, while helpful for people from all walks of life, is particularly useful for individuals who are disconnected from their bodies due to trauma, depression, chemical dependency, chronic pain, stress or illness.
The Director of the Center for Mindful Body Awareness http://www.cmbaware.org/ in Seattle, Cynthia is committed to increasing health care access to underserved populations and works with local and international programs to provide and improve integrative care through her research, teaching, and service.
What Led to the Specialization of Trauma?
Cynthia shares her story of how she began working as a body worker, transitioned to becoming a therapist, and from there learned to appreciate the significance of working with her client’s emotional issues.
A Crucial Early Mistake
Cynthia talks about her first experience working with a particular client who was dissociating, what she was witnessing, and not knowing what to do.
It’s so amazing to witness someone’s capacity to be more whole and to be more physically embodied. It’s such an amazing thing to see.
The research that I do is focused on the study of MABT – whether and how it is helpful. For example, I’m just finishing up what will be a 5-year study funded by the National Institutes for Health (NIH) that looks at the helpfulness of MABT for women in treatment for substance use disorders. We provide MABT to women at three community based treatment centers as part of this study, and about four therapists were trained in MABT and work consistently on this project to provide the MABT approach to the women in the study.
The MABT sessions are all audiorecorded, and I review these sessions and provide ongoing supervision to the therapists, discussing their experience working with the study participants and the emotional issues that come up as they learn interoceptive awareness and MABT skills. In this particular study every single participant had a history of interpersonal trauma – typically involving both physical and sexual abuse or assault, and 68% of them screened positive for PTSD.
The women in this study are very low income, and most of them have had no prior mental health services. In this way, over the past many years of doing research, we’ve learned that MABT is safe to deliver, that people learn new and valuable skills, and that they experience improved health (for example reduced symptoms of depression, physical symptoms, and emotion dysregulation) compared to those who do not receive MABT.
This research work also informs the work I am now doing through the Center for Mindful Body Awareness, teaching practitioners from a variety of disciplines and working on program development within clinical settings in the community, often with underserved populations.
- Learn to hold not-knowing and what your unfolding process is going to be. Allow yourself to engage in the therapeutic process of the journey.
Cynthia’s Go-To Books
- Acupuncture Ambassadors
- Cynthia’s Upcoming Trainings: Next MABT training is being sponsored through the Mindfulness Professional Training Institute at UCSD