Revised Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders
), I do not diagnose.In addition, while I am a co-investigator ona few studies at Children’s Colorado, myrole is to develop and deliver yoga therapyinterventions.Unlike the art, dance/movement andmusic therapies offered through PCAT,there is not an academic master’s degreeassociated with yoga therapy for mentalhealth. Yet. We are working hard at Chil-dren’s Colorado to create the structureand the alliances foundational to a formalyoga therapy education. To that end, I cre-ated a yoga therapy internship that mirrorsthe other PCAT modalities’ internship pro-grams, which I have implemented for thefirst time this academic year of 2012-2013. I am currently supervising an internstudent who is enrolled in Naropa’s Mas-ters in Contemplative Psychotherapy Pro-gram (MACP), the program from which Igraduated. The difference between herinternship experience and mine is that Ihad to do two separate internships to sat-isfy the requirements of MACP. This wasbecause the structure did not exist at Chil-dren’s Colorado that would allow me toget all the clinical “talk therapy” experi-ence I needed to graduate (280 hours ofdirect client contact, to be exact). Butunder my guidance as a licensed psy-chotherapist who integrates yoga and talktherapy skills, my intern is learning to dothe same while also fulfilling Naropa’srequirements.In addition, Dr. Wamboldt and I areworking closely with Hansa Knox, directorof PranaYoga and Ayurveda Mandala inDenver, where they have created a com-prehensive children’s yoga teacher train-ing. By 2014, Children’s Colorado will be apracticum site for PranaYoga studentsenrolled in this program.
In order to do what I do at Children’s Col-orado, I have worked hard to meet certainrequirements. I am a Registered Chil-dren’s Yoga Teacher (RCYT) who hasfacilitated therapeutic yoga for childrenand families for seven years, and I havetaught yoga in general for sixteen years. Ihold a master’s degree in ContemplativePsychotherapy from Naropa University(Boulder, CO) and I am a Licensed Pro-fessional Counselor (LPC) through theState of Colorado. I am trained in Dialecti-cal Behavioral Therapy (DBT), an evi-dence-based mindfulness therapy, andhave much training and experience intrauma therapy. At Children’s Colorado,we require the following of yoga therapistsor yoga therapy interns:
gy, or social work, or B) currently seek-ing an internship to satisfy graduateschool requirements in clinical practicefrom one of the fields listed;
plus two years of teaching experience;and
-dren (such as childcare or teaching).
Anatomy of a Yoga Therapy Inter-vention for Mental Health
Though I don’t think of yoga therapy andpsychotherapy as separate any more, Iunderstand that this is still a fairly new con-cept for most. So I will highlight each set ofskills as I practice them in a single session.Let’s go back to that APU group I men-tioned at the beginning to understandwhich part is psychotherapy and which partis yoga therapy. The check-in and check-out practice with each adolescent beforeand after each group is a psychotherapytechnique that helps create attunement(my responsiveness to each teen). Byattuning with the kids from the start, I amable to decide what yogic interventions touse. In this particular group, the check-inwent like this: “What’s your name? Howare you feeling? And if you could start anynew school club what would it be?” A men-tal health counselor developed this lastquestion, and its informal tone is purpose-ful: it creates a casual atmosphere that isrelaxed and attuned to adolescents whomay be new to yoga. Through the check-in/check-out technique, I am practicingbrief therapy (a common and well-researched therapy model). The goal ofbrief therapy is to build therapeutic rapportwith the patient as quickly as possible.Rapport literally means “relationship” inFrench, so therapeutic rapport refers to theprocess of building relationship betweentwo individuals in a therapeutic relation-ship. Attunement is one of the ways tobuild therapeutic rapport. All of these psy-chotherapeutic tools (attunement, brieftherapy and rapport building) help me tocreate a therapeutic yoga environment, inwhich adolescents feel they can trust me.While I’m establishing rapport, I’m alsoassessing each teen’s behavioral profile.For instance, am I working with a groupwho has eating disorders or Autistic Spec-trum Disorder, or do their issues vary? TheAPU have been admitted to Children’s Col-orado because they are in danger of hurt-ing themselves or someone else. Yet theirmental health issues can vary widely: in agroup of 10 teens, three teens may beseverely depressed and struggling withsuicidal ideation, three teens experiencinghallucinations, and the other four rapidlycycling from anxiety to depression (i.e.,bipolar mood swings). My job is to designa yoga intervention that helps the entiregroup regulate their moods, or learn to bepresent with uncomfortable thoughts, feel-ings, and sensations.To determine the most beneficial yogatechniques for the group (or individual), Ithink about what direction I want to guide
YogaTherapyToday| Spring 2013
P h o t o c r e d i t : T i a B r a y m a n , C h i l d r e n ’ s H o s p i t a l C o l o r a d o
Being clear aboutthe scope of one’spractice is vitallyimportant in anenvironment likeChildren’s Colorado.