Meet Sophie Boord
Sophie Boord is a Gestalt Psychotherapist and Somatic Experiencing (trauma) Practitioner (SEP) with a commitment to social justice and a background in the arts and environmental activism.
Sophie has now been with us here at Kundalini House for the past 9 months.
What brought you to Kundalini House in the first place?
I came to do yoga, I liked the feel of the place immediately, very welcoming, relaxed and a holistic approach, I like the diversity of practitioners and modalities. I thought it would be a great place to practice from.
You offer counselling and psychotherapy sessions here at Kundalini House, can you tell us a little bit about what we can expect from a session?
My work is a natural and fluid and integration of talking psychotherapy and somatic body and touch work. In the first session I’ll invite you to tell me what’s brought you to therapy and what you hope to get from it and then we’ll work out together how best to approach that for you.
My approach is gentle, respectful and creative, I offer deep listening, engaged, non-judgemental dialogue, attunement and presence, and the possibility to explore whatever you bring to therapy or whatever is present for you. As we talk I pay close attention to you as a whole person, so not just to what you’re saying but how you’re saying it and what your body is saying, this is somatic and phenomenological work.
We can explore this creatively; if you regularly breath out as you speak about your father, for example, I might invite you to a deeper exploration of this breath, perhaps exaggerating it or slowing it down and becoming aware of any sensations you experience, any thoughts, feelings or images that arise as you experiment with this, as well as what might change as you do this.
In addition I pay attention to the relationship as it unfolds between us. The therapeutic relationship or experience can be seen as a microcosm of your relationships or experiences in the broader world and the challenges you experience out there may eventually show up in the room with me. This is a great thing because the safety of the therapeutic relationship allows us to explore these challenges or patterns as they arise, without judgement and with compassion.
Whether it be through touch, dialogue, or play this type of creative exploration, supports the possibility for you to understand yourself and be with your experience; ultimately supporting your capacity to improve your connection to people, interests, and endeavours in the rest of your life.
You specialize in Somatic Experiencing trauma Therapy and Gestalt Therapy – can you tell us a bit more about that?
Somatic Experiencing is a cutting-edge trauma modality pioneered by Dr. Peter Levine. SE works on the premise that trauma gets trapped in the body, disrupting healthy functioning of the nervous system, and can be resolved through tracking and processing somatic sensations. SE processing is gentle and respectful, often playful and creative, it supports you to stay with challenging feelings, experiences and ideas without being overwhelmed. Utilising dialogue, alongside non-verbal approaches such as movement, sound, visualization and sometimes touch, SE unlocks vitality and brings back a sense of agency, choice, power and capacity, things that are often compromised through experiences of trauma. Ultimately SE supports a return to healthy nervous system functioning and a greater sense of safety and aliveness.
SE touch work can support deeper processing and healing than non-touch methods. Some of the deepest shock experiences held in our bodies occur when we are so young that our brains aren’t yet sufficiently developed to process these experiences cognitively and touch can work directly, viscerally with these non-narrative memories and experiences. That’s why the touch work can be so effective with early developmental and attachment issues as well as relational issues.
But even as adults our cognitive functioning tends to go offline during traumatic experiences, so memories are encoded as feelings or sensations rather than narratives – SE and somatic touch are very effective working in these areas.
SE is creative and draws on mindfulness and somatic psychotherapy and body work traditions, including focusing, for me it’s a natural extension of the phenomenological and experimental approach of gestalt psychotherapy which I studied originally.
Gestalt therapy was developed by Fritz Perls – and I think his wife Laura made a less acknowledged but nonetheless important contribution – in the 60’s concurrently with the counter culture movement, and was very experimental and confrontational at the time, a move away from Freud and psycho-analysis and the holy blank slate of the practitioner.
Gestalt is a growth-oriented therapy aiming to find the vitality and life energy of clients, using a relational and body-centred approach, it has been through many incarnations and whilst now still offers some of that original energy, it pioneered the use of mindfulness and relational practice now predominant in many therapy modalities.
In my experience Gestalt offers a very profound understanding and application of these modalities. This means it offers a strong foundation from which to explore early developmental and attachment issues as well as the here and now of process in the room and in daily life, supporting an increased awareness of who you are and what you’re doing. Ultimately leading to greater levels of self-acceptance, through this acceptance I have found people become more themselves and paradoxically the more they’re themselves, the more they change.
What made you decide to study psychotherapy and counselling?
An interest in holism led me to gestalt psychotherapy and ultimately SE and it was a healing journey from some of my own experiences. I think many therapists, come from early developmental and attachment wounding (or trauma) and in finding their own paths of healing discover the enormous capacity and skill they have in attending to others, and to their deep and rich and sometimes painful experience.
Have you had meaningful experiences in your life that have enriched your work and the way you practice?
Yes, mostly the important connections to people, to joy and love, and some of the more difficult experiences, because they’ve given me the insight and trust to know how to navigate challenges and to be with others in navigating their challenges.
My work with clients has been incredibly meaningful, it gives me greater insight into the world as well as myself and my own experience, in ways I never would have imagined. Being a therapist you have to constantly do your own work, explore and investigate all your own stuff and that’s something I love.
Also the way clients have lived through and managed sometimes terrible situations has given me so much trust and belief in the resilience of people and the capacity to heal.
How has your practice supported you and how does your day-to-day life influence your practice?
My practice has changed my life, in it I’ve discovered an ability to know and trust myself, to connect and attend to a deep and ever unfolding process of self-understanding, rich and deep and intimate and to look inward for acceptance rather than out. Its changed the way I relate to others and the way I see and understand the world. It’s given me a great sense of peace and equilibrium.
Thank you, Sophie!
Sophie practices at Kundalini House in Fitzroy North on Mondays and Wednesdays.
If you would like to make a booking, check out Sophie’s website https://sophieboord.com/ or contact Sophie directly on
0439 406 072