Dr. Allen has been extensively educated and trained in the understanding of how mental adversity, anxiety and threat response, and inner conflict can lead itself to affecting the mind and body in terms of symptoms ranging from physical and mental discomfort to mental and medical symptoms and illnesses. He fully understands and supports the medical system, and that health conditions can range on a spectrum from the purely medical conditions, to physical health symptoms that are mentally influenced. He continuously receives client referrals from physicians and health care professionals for medical conditions that may benefit from health and wellness approaches. He treats many medical conditions, regardless of mental stress, that still may benefit from wellness and psychological / behavioral health strategies.
Regarding the mind-body connection, psycho (mind) and somatization (body) can work in synergy where distress in one supports distress in the other. Here are 3 scenarios:
- Person under difficult stress from the environment as well as internally driven stress may suffer physically as a result of mental and physical exhaustion, and poor diet and lifestyle behaviors while trying to cope. Eventually the body shows symptoms of exhaustion, adrenal fatigue, and / or dysregulation of health in some way.
- Existing physical – medical issue is exacerbated by difficult stress, concern of the problem, and subconscious worry. This can be like a vicious cycle of mental anguish and an existing medical symptom(s) being exacerbated by emotions and behaviors.
- Psychosomatic: inner conflict or unbearable thought(s) or idea(s) of unpleasant past or future event(s) or some subconscious-driven purpose causing a real medical and / or simple physical symptom(s) in and of itself. The body is part of the subconscious system and physical symptoms caused in this way may require treatment approaches that address the inner worry or conflict and move toward deep resolution. This type of life problem / inner struggle has been described from various societies early in recorded history, including by Hippocrates – the Father of Modern Medicine. It is part of being human coping in a world of stress.
Dr. Ben Allen specializes in evaluation and self-exploration strategies that seek to get to the core of psychosomatic issues deep in the subconscious mind and life-patterned habits of thoughts and behavior, and to discover your authentic desires and roadblocks to success in life. Strategies may include biofeedback and interoception (the awareness and self-control of muscle tension and the inner workings of your own physiology), and mental awareness strategies to observe thoughts, triggers, threats, physical and behavioral reactions, and how the dramas in life play out in the mind-body connection.
Dr. Allen’s treatment approaches for psychosomatic symptoms start at the core of the following questions:
- If your symptoms as a whole could talk, what would they say about your mental concerns and life challenges at that given time when triggers occur and intrusive thoughts simultaneously erupt into a mild-to-fully blown threat response with mental, physical and behavioral repercussions and set patterns of response?
- Where do you feel it in your body? What symptoms, emotions, behaviors, and thought processes typically occur?
- What is the threat(s) and when did that threat first occur in your life? What events did that same threat / pattern occur in during the past? What triggers the threat?
- When do you feel at your best, when there is minimal threat?
- What do you value most in life? What are your deepest and most important values?
- What current issues are you struggling with?
Treatment strategies begin here, and seek deep resolution, new ways to understand and approach the issues, the ability to improve coping skills and structure wellness and recovery in daily lifestyle behavior.