Denise E. Schenk, MA, LPC, CAC III

The Rooted Heart:  body-centered psychotherapy

philosophy and approach

The foundation of my work with people begins with the relationship.  I take great care in establishing an inviting atmosphere where you can immediately feel heard, supported and safe.  I believe relationships are an integral part of our core wounding as well as our growth and healing.

The therapeutic alliance or relationship offers a space much like a canvas for us to explore messy, dark, bright, creative and vulnerable with someone who isn't going to judge, blame, criticize, ignore, isolate or abandon you. This relationship will allow you an opportunity to learn how to recognize and be fully present with the various parts of yourself.

Over the years, my work has been strongly influenced by my experiences with Eastern philosophies, mindfulness studies, and neuroscience. My graduate school electives introduced me to a number of transpersonal modalities and the work of Pema Chodron, Thich Nhat Hahn, Ken Wilbur, Daniel Siegel and Jack Kornfield to name a few.  I was able to study and participate in the Mindfulness Based Stress-Reduction, founded in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn Ph.D; which is an internationally acclaimed group health care program that originated at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center for individuals with chronic illness and/or pain.

In the Spring of 2006, I was feeling the need to grow myself and blend more of the mind-body therapies I had been practicing with my clients.  Therefore, I enrolled and completed a two and a half year comprehensive training in Hakomi Experiential Psychotherapy, which is a body-centered psychotherapy.  Several years later, I participated as a teacher's assistant to further integrate my learning in a two year local comprehensive Hakomi training in Durango, Colorado.

The Hakomi Method of body-centered therapy originated in the mid-1970s, developed by the internationally renowned therapist and author, Ron Kurtz.  In 1980, Ron Kurtz founded the Hakomi Institute to promote the teaching and evolution of Hakomi, which is a Hopi Indian word meaning "How do you stand in relation to these many realms?"  A more modern translation is "Who are you?"

The Hakomi Method interweaves Eastern traditions of mindfulness and non-violence with a unique and highly effective Western Methodology.  Hakomi has been a pioneer in the use of mindfulness and the body in psychotherapy, employing a strong somatic and experiential orientation.   

In a therapeutic context, the body's structures and habitual patterns become a powerful doorway to unconscious core material, including the hidden core beliefs, which shape our lives, relationships and self images.  Accessing this core material allows it to emerge safely into consciousness.  Once conscious, it can be reevaluated, and where appropriate, powerfully transformed.  New dimensions of awareness can be integrated, helping the individual to build a more authentic, satisfying and effective life. 

The Hakomi Method is grounded in a set of principles which underlie all aspects of the work: mindfulness, non-violence, mind-body integration, organicity and unity.  Navigating these principles, the practitioner approaches both the client and the process with a sense of wholeness, respect and humility.  This framework then translates into concrete clinical skills and thoughtfully designed interventions. 

It has been said that one of my gifts is in being able to exude a loving presence as I connect with you wherever you may be on your individual journey.  From this compassionate common ground, I am able to encourage and support you as you learn to trust and listen to your inner experiences, heal old wounds, and gain new tools and methods for reclaiming and embracing your authentic Self.