Q & A with Psychotherapist & Art Therapist, Kim Ottinger
Welcome! So, I love connecting and collaborating with awesome clinicians and healing professionals in the local area, and I will periodically showcase the amazing work they do. Here’s my interview with Kim Ottinger, a Psychotherapist and Art Therapist in private practice, Your Soul Therapy in Washington, DC. She has a unique specialty in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, a type of psychotherapy that integrates how our body is impacted somatically by past experiences and how those experiences and habits are stored in our bodies. Read on to learn more about Sensorimotor Psychotherapy and how it may benefit you.
UPDATE: Kim Ottinger has moved her private practice to Colorado.
What brought you to Sensorimotor Psychotherapy?
My supervisor mentioned it to me in supervision one day. I looked it up and realized that somatic work really aligns well with the way I function in the world which seems to be quite different from many people. I am constantly attuned to my body and emotions, show my emotions clearly in my facial expressions and body language. As a child and young adult I have been a dancer and learned at a young age to express through my body and respect my body. Sensorimotor psychotherapy is all about giving the body the opportunity to speak and inform us of emotional needs and then processing through the body.
What do you see as the benefits of sensorimotor psychotherapy, especially for women?
I think the most exciting benefit of sensorimotor work is how it accesses stuck patterns at a deep emotional level and helps us process and work these patterns. My experience is that is a powerful mechanism for change that feels less painful and seems to work much faster than just talk therapy. Clients are amazed at the movement that they make after feeling stuck for years in patterns that talking in therapy has not resolved. I find that women are more attuned to their emotional responses in their body and can really invest in and engage well in somatic work. It helps women to work through patterns in their lives, patterns from our culture, patterns from their families, all held in their body.
What could one typically expect in one of your sessions?
In a session where we use sensorimotor techniques, we would focus in on one pattern that feels stuck or hone in on a belief that is not healthy. From that focus we would work with mindfulness in the body to access that embodied belief or pattern to unravel it. From there you are able access a healthier belief an embody that belief so that you feel it is true from a felt sense, soul level.
What are the most common issues that people seek your help for?
I align most with women in their 20s and 30s that feel stuck in patterns in their relationships, with anxiety, low mood or motivation, and spiritual concerns.
What are 3-5 nuggets of advice you would give to a young woman in their 20s and 30s as it relates to practicing self-care and taking care of your emotional health?
I believe in meditation and taking time to tune into yourself, be it through your body or mind. Taking time out for you to focus on yourself is very important to emotional health. Being mindful of your patterns without judgement can be very powerful and helpful in making positive shifts.
Make sure to get outside in the sun and attuning to nature is great medicine as well. Humans are not meant to be indoors all the time. Make time to reconnect with you body and mind in the context of the universe and nature.
Listen to what your body has to say. Our culture teaches us to compartmentalize health into body, spirit, cognitions, emotions. It is all interconnected and about energy as a whole. Our bodies can inform us of what needs we have and guide us to health. Notice your energy. Notice your body. What message is it trying to give you?
And remember, in the long run, getting wrapped up in the little details of day to day, we can forget what it is all about. We are enough and can find contentment in just being and experiencing. Explore your spiritual side.