Map of the Heart
When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched,
you begin to discover that it’s bottomless, that it doesn’t have any resolution,
that this heart is huge, vast, and limitless.
You begin to discover how much warmth and gentleness is there,
as well as how much space.
– Pema Chödrön (2001, p. 128)
Welcome to Map of the Heart, a place for tending to the heart, mind, and body. Please take your time to look around and learn about the different ways I offer support. You will discover many free resources on myResources and Blog pages, do take advantage.
Map of the Heart is a therapeutic process that integrates Somatic Experiencing®, Biodynamic Listening Skills, Practical Neuroscience, and East-West Psychology. These modalities offer tools to locate health in the human system that unify the heart-mind-body in order to heal trauma, decrease stress, and increase nervous system resilience. Increased nervous system resilience leads to a calm heart, which promotes emotional and physical balance, human creativity, and wellbeing. Each Map of the Heart session is a journey towards wholeness, awakening our inherent health, purpose, and goodness.
Alexandra Whitney, PhD, SEP
Anyone can find the disease,
it is the true job of the practitioner to find the health.
- Andrew Taylor Still, Founder of Osteopathic Medicine
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about me and my Somatic Experiencing practice. Map of the Heart naturally developed out of nearly three decades of Zen meditation practice and my professional training in Clinical Psychology, Somatic Experiencing®, and Biodynamic Cranial Sacral Therapy. My lifelong education of the heart, by way of illness, inspired my dissertation research. What emerged was a heart and body-centered process that increases heart-brain coherence to restore the body’s innate ability to heal trauma and recover from stress-based mind-body health conditions such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, disconnection, low motivation, loneliness, overwhelm, burnout, insomnia, and emotional and physical pain. Many of these conditions can be a result of trauma and patterns of chronic stress.
Since 2018, I have worked closely with Dr. Peter A. Levine’s Ergos Institute of Somatic Education and Somatic Experiencing®International (SEI) to develop an effective Somatic Experiencing®-based retreat protocol for the treatment of combat and military service related PTSD. I am also the Principal Investigator for the Returning Home Project. A quantitative research study that is based on the 2019 Returning Home retreat that took place in Northport, Maine. The preliminary data from this study suggests positive clinical outcomes. The study will conclude with its findings in July 2020..
My dissertation research included a qualitative study involving the creation and assessment of a seven-week heart-focused psycho-spiritual inquiry program, Map of the Heart. Informed by East-West Psychology, the program's curriculum highlighted practical neuroscience theory and heart-centered practices designed to develop heart-brain coherence and core heart feelings of love, compassion, gratitude, forgiveness, and equanimity. The investigation revealed the subjective meaning and group experience of heart intelligence and determined relevant clinical outcomes of Map of the Heart curriculum in the field of counseling psychology.
When body and mind are one,
the wounds in our hearts, minds, and bodies begin to heal.
As long as there is separation between body and mind,
these wounds cannot heal.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Sessions are typically 60-75 minutes in length. I do not schedule sessions back-to-back, so there is no rush to scoot out the door for the next person. I allow the session to end naturally when the process is complete. Sessions are offered at a base rate of $150 a session. For clients who are in need of a lower rate due to limited finances, I offer a sliding fee scale from $175-$100 a session. If finances do not permit the sliding fee scale other arrangements can be made. As we work together, we will both be assessing the process. While some clients may need only a few sessions (2-5), others may benefit from more sessions over a longer period of time (5-20).
I welcome you to schedule a free consultation so that I can answer your questions about how we can work together to achieve your healing goals. Before our first session, I will have you fill out an intake and informed consent. You can download those forms below.
*I offer sessions in person and via zoom or telephone.
Alexandra Whitney, Ph.D
Ph.D. - East-West Psychology
M.A. - Clinical Psychology
Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner (SEP)
Biodynamic Cranial Sacral Therapist (RBCST)
Certified Hatha Yoga Teacher (CYT)
Kokoro is a Japanese character for heart that conceptually unites the notions of heart, mind, body, and spirit.