IBSR – Integration Based Stress Reduction
IBSR is a body based therapy or somatic psychology protocol that allows for the natural release of stress, trauma, nervous tension, and traumatic memories from the body. Trauma and stress are stored and recorded in the body and the brain stem chemically and in hormone responses: including cortisol, adrenaline, dopamine, etc. Unless these stresses and traumas are specifically released, they will remain in the body and can cause many problems. When these unhealthy stress patterns stay trapped in the body and the brain stem, our stress response becomes over activated. The fight, flight or freeze response becomes habitual and we can’t discharge this negative traumatic energy. This leads us to remain stuck in a continual state of stress and hyper-arousal.
An IBSR session can last anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes. It consists of 8 phases. A therapist will take a brief history while noting the client’s automatic unconscious movement patterns or “knee-jerk” responses. The session begins with the client seated but may transition to lying on the floor if the client chooses. Anyone can benefit from an IBSR session and it is not necessary to do an extensive history session beforehand. The body may move through various patters as you sit or lay down, and these movements will be unwinding the stored stress and trauma. A client may laugh, cry, or otherwise vocalize through the process.
There is no physical contact with the therapist, and the client can stop a session if they desire, but there should be nothing uncomfortable about the experience. Sometimes after a session a client may feel spacey or slightly unusual for a few minutes. It is a good idea to take some time after the session to drink water or rest briefly if necessary.
IBSR was developed over the last 20 years by Dr. Judi Moolten. Many pilot studies on IBSR have been done with various groups and populations. It has been studied and implemented in the U.S. and internationally. Trained IBSR therapists preformed a 2 year pilot program in Idaho and Utah prison systems and saw a 20% reduction in the recidivism rate of the population who received treatment. IBSR therapists also treated those traumatized in the Boston Marathon incident and with the victims of Sandy Hook, Connecticut.
In addition to severe trauma and abuse, IBSR can be used to help with addictive disorders of all types, including eating disorders. It is helpful for depression, anxiety, phobias, self-esteem issues, psychosomatic issues, and chronic pain (physical or emotional). Mental illnesses, mild or severe, can be helped with an IBSR session.
IBSR releases the stored trauma in the body, the “issues in the tissues.” Symptom relief from all the conditions listed, as well as a healthier nervous system that can respond appropriately to stress are the benefits of IBSR.