By Stella Resnick and Nancy Eichhorn
Full-Spectrum Therapy (FST) combines cognitive-behavioral and somatic-experiential approaches, draws from attachment neuroscience, neuroplasticity, sexology, and the positive psychology of flourishing, and offers clients a new world view to adopt—to see problems as opportunities to evolve.
To Stella Resnick, founder of the “full-spectrum” approach to both psychotherapy and sex therapy (FSST), our “issues” become valuable incentives—they challenge us to mobilize our inner resources and to grow. With a reframing of a client’s concerns into a more positive, evolutionary perspective comes the ability to create constructive goals. The aim is not just to ease the pain or discomfort of a present dilemma but to heal from old wounds, examine limiting and often intergenerational patterns of thought and distress, and embrace a new way of doing things.
“That’s the cognitive part of the therapy and setting goals is the behavioral. Now, how do we get there? That’s the somatic-experiential part,” said Stella, a clinical psychologist in private practice in Beverly Hills, CA, who specializes in relationship and sexual enrichment. “That’s where clients learn through an internal tracking process how to be present in the body, breathing deeply, and drawing insight from the images and memories stirred up.”
Stella says that it’s the experiential processing that mediates between the cognitive—both the old and new way of thinking—and the desired behavioral outcomes that animate the healing process. She considers the tasks of FST as shuttling between the cognitive realm of understanding and the somatic realm of focused attention on physical and emotional sensations, visceral perceptions, and motoric urges.
Stella’s current work grew out of her early Gestalt training first with Fritz Perls and later with Laura Perls and many others. “I’ve been putting this together all my life,” Stella said. “Much of it’s been driven by my own personal distress in relationships. I started with Gestalt work. Then I got into bioenergetics and bodywork. I worked with Charlotte Selver, Virginia Satir, Anna Halprin, Stanley Keleman, John Pierrakos, Moshe Feldenkrais, and Milton Erickson. I practiced Vipassana meditation and studied with Jack Kornfield, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Tartang Tulku Rinpoche.”
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