Here’s a little bit about how I landed in this amazing world of mind-body-movement-therapy but feel free toskip that and go here for suggestions of how to use this site to help you begin getting support and value right now.
Rachel Shanken, LMHC, RYT-200
- New York State Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC)
- Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling from Fordham University Graduate School of Education
- Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy Practitioner (9-month training intensive)
- Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-200) from Pure Yoga in New York City
- Veterans Yoga Project: “Mindful Resilience for Trauma Recovery” 3-day Intensive
- “Cultivating Emotional Mindfulness” 5-day workshop at The Cape Cod Institute
- “Guilt and Shame in the Treatment of Trauma” 5-day workshop at The Cape Cod Institute
- Co-Active Coach Training from The Coaches Training Institute
- Clinical Work: The Karen Horney Clinic, John Jay College Counseling Center, Fordham University
- Private Psychotherapy, Yoga and MindBodyWise™ Therapy
- MonteNido Eating Disorders & Exercise Addiction
- Lululemon Athletica (Upper West Side, NYC)
- YogaWorks (Upper West Side, NYC), Workshop Leader (on-going)
- Athleta (Upper East Side, NYC)
- La Gran Ventana Resort in Dominican Republic
- Hazelden Addiction and Treatment Center (A Betty Ford Clinic)
- The Conference for Peace and Justice NYC
- Guest Speaker/Teacher for Jillian Pransky’s Therapeutic Yoga Teacher Training for the “Trauma-Sensitive Yoga” module
- Guest Teacher at New York Yoga
- Workshops, semi-private group classes and teaching privately
Movement has always been an important part of my life. Self-exploration has always been an essential part of who I am.
As a child, I spent much of my time upside-down. I was a gymnast, who took the sport very seriously. I expressed myself through my body. My body was judged, my movement was evaluated, and I was always working toward improvement. I also fell, a lot. I got back up a lot. I got bumps and bruises. The sport was hard on my body and even tougher on my mind. It was at this formative time in my life that I learned mental and physical resilience. Here’s more about my gymnast years.
But, it wasn’t only gymnastics that challenged my mind. From as early as I can remember, I questioned things…
Growing up the child of a psychologist and a psychiatrist, the seeds of curiosity were planted early on. Part and parcel of most dinner conversations included analyzing, connecting and discovering. I was inquisitive about my own inner-workings and the inner-workings of others. I thrived on peeling back the layers of an issue, making connections, and identifying more mysteries along the way.
I started to see an inseparable connection
between my body, my heart and my mind.
In my 20’s, I got to a point where I was ready to go to therapy – I needed support for some of the struggles I had encountered over the years. I craved answers that I wasn’t able to get to on my own. Having grown up the way that I did, I trusted in the process of therapy. It was also during this time that I started practicing yoga. My body was back on the move. My mind was again being challenged in powerful ways by my body and vice-versa.
For a while, I went to traditional talk therapy and it was somewhat helpful. Yet, something was missing for me in that process. Parts of me were growing and healing, but other parts felt like they were at stand-still no matter what I did. I didn’t know exactly what was missing, but I was sure that something was amiss.
Over many years of practicing yoga and later returning to school to get my master’s degree in mental health counseling, I started to see an inseparable connection between my body, my heart and my mind.
It was then that I figured out what was missing from my traditional talk therapy treatment – my body! My body wasn’t part of the discussion, wasn’t addressed, and wasn’t even considered by the therapists I saw. It was as if I was made up of a mind and heart – nothing else. And yet, I’d leave yoga class feeling deeply connected to all of myself – but nowhere to discuss or process what was arising.
This was a huge revelation for me. It made me determined to find a way to merge together all the beautiful elements of being human, so that healing and growth could happen in a profound and whole-body way. Even the way I practiced talk therapy changed — integrating the body as an integral part of the process.
I was seeking a method to uncover the mysteries
of our whole selves – mind, body, heart.
As I reflect back, I see that I’ve spent my life integrating all the data that I’ve been accumulating along the way. I may not have known it all along, but I was seeking a method to uncover the mysteries of our whole selves – mind, body, heart – and to join with others in their unique journeys of self-discovery.
In staying open and connected to all of parts of me, something beautiful happened. The naturally inquisitive part of me merged with the analytical part and the physically resilient part. Blending my background in traditional therapy, coaching, eastern yogic philosophy, and Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy I created MindBodyWise™.
The joy and exhilaration I feel in providing support and bearing witness to others as they courageously delve deep inside and find the treasures within themselves is unmatched. It feels like magic, although it’s actually the most real thing I have ever experienced.
Whatever your body, heart and mind need,
even if you’re not sure, I can help.
Tour the Site
There’s an abundance of free resources right here on the site, so you don’t have to wait to get started!
Take the MindBody IQ Quiz for an opportunity to get better acquainted with your mind-body connection. Your results include next steps for healing and growing.
Join the MindBodyWise™ Living Room. This is a free Facebook group to connect with like-spirited people and get support from me around personal growth and mind-body healing.
Read MindBodyWisdom. Here are several good starter posts.
Register to receive MindBodyWisdom. A weekly dose of valuable tips, insights and inspiration delivered directly to your inbox.
When you’re ready…
If you have questions, or want to get in touch, email me anytime firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, ideas, or any feedback. I’d love to hear from you!
The number of sessions needed varies from person to person, depending on what you’re moving through. However, as a general rule of thumb, at least 4 sessions gives a good sense of what this work is and how it can transform your mind, mood, outlook and mental health. When we meet, we can discuss the number of sessions and frequency of sessions that are right for you specifically.
Yes! Unlike traditional talk therapies, the MindBodyWise™ approach to healing provides immediate insight, even within your first session. Often clients leave each session with new awareness about something in their mind, their body, their emotions or their over all lives. At the end of each session you are guided in using your new awareness to create an action step that you get to carry out in your life. Transformation begins immediately through the integration of in-session awareness and real-life action.
Although everyone’s response to this work is different, most people experience a, increased self-acceptance, compassion, and confidence. Most people also feel relief from traumatic responses, a decline in emotional and physical pain as well as a decrease in stress, anxiety and depression. People also tend to experience more trust within oneself and in one’s body. Many clients speak to how this work has provided them with greater awareness and clarity, improved mood, and increased sense of satisfaction and joy.
Your first session is 75 minutes, allowing for discussion at the beginning and a chance for me to learn about your needs and goals. It’s also a chance for you to ask any questions you may have. Subsequent sessions are 60-75 minutes.
Virtual sessions are conducted via phone or Zoom (a video link, like Skype with better clarity and reception) and they are each 60 minutes.
Wear comfortable, non-restrictive clothing that allows you to move easily. Consider layering, as the temperature of the room affects everyone differently.
When you enter the room, you will see a blanket laid out on the floor with “props” laid out around the outside of the blanket. We start by sitting on the blanket or on chairs and eventually to move the blanket where most of the session is conducted. Your body is always supported as you need, so if sitting on the floor or laying on the floor doesn’t work in your body, we can find ways of accommodating your needs with the use of extra blankets, pillows or we can create an embodied experience in chairs.
No. MindBodyWise™ therapy requires no experience whatsoever. You will be guided throughout the entire experience, both verbally and non-verbally. This approach is suitable for all living, breathing adult human beings.
No. This therapy has nothing to do with how flexible your body is. It is tailored for each and every body, with no goal to increase physical flexibility.
MindBodyWise™ therapy offers you the freedom to decide if you would like touch, no-touch, or low-touch in your sessions. If you aren’t sure, we can discuss this together and decide what would be best for your needs.
Yes. Anything that you share in session is 100% confidential. Even the fact that you are my client is never shared. If you ever want me to release information for coordination of your care, you can simply sign a release form.
All sessions are client-focused, which means that you will never be made to do anything or say anything that goes against what you want. You are always at choice and in control of what your needs are. Throughout the entire session, I invite you to communicate with me, so that your body and your mind are fully supported and honored.
No. In fact, this modality works extremely well in conjunction with psychotherapy. Sometimes an emotional experience, an insight or a memory will surface in that needs further processing. Therapy is a great place to connect with the new awareness and make more sense of it. Also, if you’d like, you can opt to have a cohesive treatment team, by signing a release form that authorizes your therapist and I to communicate.
I have extensive experience in working with people who have anxiety, depression, PTSD, panic attacks, and eating disorders and those who are impacted by the effects of trauma. I also have a skillset that supports creating a safe space for you to have your experience in a way that aids your growth and your mental health. Additionally, I can seamlessly collaborate with your current psychotherapist, psychiatrist and/or other treatment team members to help you get the most well-rounded and supportive care possible.
This approach is not focused on cardio strengthening or increasing muscle mass. However, because it does focus on your learning to tune into your body, you may find that you are more aware and more connected to your body in ways that you didn’t used to be.
MindBodyWise™ therapy incorporates the body as well as the mind, allowing you to access all parts of yourself to gain a cellular level of awareness. Because many of our painful memories and emotions are stored at the body level, this approach offers access to all of you.
People used to think that memories and emotions were stored in our brains only. However, after years of research, it has been proven that your central nervous systems store our traumatic memories and our suppressed emotions. The instinct for fight, flight, freeze or “play dead” in the midst of a traumatic event is generated by your body. In fact, it has been shown that the language center of your brain shuts off during trauma. This is why talking about painful memories after the experience ends isn’t always effective. Depending on your experience, your memories and emotions can get locked in your body, and the key to the suppressed memories is through the gateway of your body.
Of course! Please Get a 15 Minute Consultation to schedule a 15-20 minute phone consultation.