What's an ITB session like?
ITB is simultaneously a healthcare modal and human potential crucible. Your session will, like most therapeutic massage sessions, be signature to you and your needs and goals. The primary difference is that your licensed massage therapist (LMT) will be a highly skilled, integrally informed, and hard forged in the furnace of authenticity, integrity, and intimacy. An ITB LMT has gone through the rigors of multi-year training with Geoff West and the ITB staff. We call them ITB Stewards and you’ll find them on our ITB website.
In an ITB session you’ll first receive an interview with your therapist so they can gain insight about what’s happening for you and how they can best apply their dynamic skillset. Each therapist has their own way of gathering information so interviews can vary based on client needs. These interviews with your seasoned ITB Steward are confidential so please feel free to be frank and as transparent as feels right. The more info they have the better they’ll be able to serve you.
Your therapist is listening to your Whole Being with their Whole Being so these interviews can become very honest, very quickly. Your therapist is not a psychotherapist and while they’re deep listeners they do not apply psychotherapy techniques as this is outside of their scope of practice. That being said, they may offer stories from many human cultures and share information about the nature of human recovery, integration, and transformation. ITB Stewards are translators and story tellers, they are guides through a messy, often confusing territory. They are territory tested. They’ve been raked over the coals by ITB training and held accountable by the process of facing their own inequities, traumas, and fabrications. They “walk the walk” because they’ve found no other choice. They’re raw humans, flawed, and deeply compassionate.
The first few sessions will often start with training you in self-reflection, body-centered mindfulness which comes from koan’s 1-3 of Mondo Zen. This will be coupled with some ITB terminology since we must begin with shared language and common perspective. (By the way, we don’t use Mondo Zen because we’re a crazy batch of fundamentalists trying to make everybody convert to Zen. Nope. We use it because its highly efficient. We’ve translated this to all sorts of languages; from “sciency,” to Catholicism, to “new agey,” to “I have no clue what I believe.” The point is, we’re not attached to the language so insert whatever words seem to work for you! It’s about its eloquence, not its origin.) These beginning sessions set the tone for enacting some common practices in and out of session. Whether you are in session for a car accident, a breakup, self-refinement, trauma from war, drug addiction, or wanting to be informed and supported in your “deathing process” we start with this material so we may proceed with a solid foundation.
In a 1-hour session for example, these first few sessions may start with 2O minutes of meditation and koan exploration and then shift to some hands-on work on the table for 30 min. During that 30 min the Steward may coach you in feeling/listening to what’s alive in you while they apply the Bodywork or SEM techniques. And finally, close with 5-10 min of meditation work to reinforce elements covered during the first 20 min of the session. The session is concluded with a closing interview for information sharing between the two of you.
The eloquence of these preliminary sessions is that they support your personal unraveling of inner confusion while teaching you self-care and imperturbable compassion for yourself and others. They teach that it’s “ok to be a human,” to be Alive in whatever way is real for us.
In future sessions we continue to apply the Bodywork Pillar and/or Shamanic and Energetic Medicine (SEM) Pillar slowly sharing and exploring together the rest of the 5 Pillars. Since we are LMT’s we approach health care and personal transformation through the fascia and all its complexity. This body-based learning and exploration fits seamlessly into the education, language, and expression of the other 5 Pillars. Each Pillar is engaged at the client’s pace over the several sessions. The Steward shares and guides as you, the client, uncover the fullness of your existence and apply the beauty and insight of the other Pillars. The Pillars overlap, compliment, and deepen each other. This education and application of the Pillars will be full of reference material of various media types. Your therapist may suggest workbooks, videos, podcasts to supplement your process and unfolding. And since the Pillars are common to ALL PEOPLE, they SUPPORT ALL PEOPLES no matter age, sex, gender, education, race, religion, or cultural background.
ITB is meant to be a long-term investment on the client’s part. The relationship may call for a rounding back several times to different pillars as you go through your integration process. Integration doesn’t happen fast, translation of our dynamism doesn’t happen fast, embodiment and expression of our maturation doesn’t happen fast; so, let’s invest! We suggest you view this process as if you are learning a new language or musical instrument. You must put in the time and the returns will be quite clear. In fact, most get results relatively quickly and mistake early breakthroughs and insights as a finish line, of sorts. This is a pitfall along the way, and we suggest you not get distracted by the short-term results and wait for the bigger payoffs to unfold. Always know that there’s room for increasing and decreasing frequency of visits.
And let me make this crystal clear!!!
This won’t be easy, it isn’t meant to be. This is learning to face and embrace ourselves honestly, openly and dynamically. It’s choosing to feel the pain and discomfort that we’ve blatantly turned from and disguised with preference, superstition, fabrications, and chronic coping mechanisms. In ITB we constantly ask, “am I remaining open, honest, and vulnerable with all that is arising within me and out side of me?” This means deep intimacy with all our toxic habitual patterns; all our dynamism is embraced, all is included, all is Enfolded.
This process is a grand adventure. You may be unrecognizable as time passes. Along the way though, you’ll find a tested container to rage in and emerge from. Your ITB Steward will be a steadfast collaborator as you walk through this adventure for as long as you decide to participate.
We’re ready when you are!
We welcome you!