Barbara Gosselin: The Body Whisperer
Nov 16, 2011 03:03PM
● By Kim Childs
Barbara Gosselin began her career as a physical therapist working primarily in sports medicine. At the time, she was also a back-pain sufferer who had to lie down after work each day to find some relief. In 1987, Gosselin found her way to a workshop on craniosacral therapy, a modality she’d never even heard of. The course would change her body, her career and her life.
“During the workshop there was an exercise where students went around the room performing an assessment that involved feeling energetic ripples in the body and following them to problem areas,” Gosselin recalls. “I was one of the subjects on the table, totally silent, and about five students in a row went right to the place where my back pain was. I couldn’t refute that.”
Today Gosselin is free of daily back pain and fully engaged in her work as a healer using craniosacral therapy, energy work, her physical therapy knowledge and a technique called fascial mobilization to help people heal and thrive. She’s also trained in somato-emotional release, which helps people to free up trapped emotions in the body for more holistic healing. “My work is not classical craniosacral,” Gosselin notes. “It’s light-touch and hands-on, working with the fascia, which is a kind of matrix of tissue that envelops every other tissue in the body. If fascia is off or tight or restricted, everything else is going to be impaired in some way.”
Gosselin’s clients report less pain and better quality of life following her treatments, which sometimes find and heal physical and emotional issues apart from the complaints that bring them to her Arlington office. “I think the body is really a manifestation of everything else that’s going on in a person’s life, and the symptoms often reveal an imbalance,” says Gosselin, noting that, if a client reports shoulder pain, she wouldn’t focus solely on their shoulder. “For example, I might find a restriction coming from an old ankle sprain that, over the years, has twisted and contorted the fascia in such a way that it’s affecting the shoulder. So I’m approaching the body as a whole system, and letting it tell me where it needs me to work.”
Her technique is so light, subtle and gentle that clients may feel as if nothing is happening, until they get off the table and notice the overall sense of relaxation and well-being that can follow a treatment. “One person said, ‘I feel as if I’ve been on vacation for a week,’ when the treatment was over,” Gosselin reports. “A lot of people go into a very restful state and it’s revitalizing. The work releases tensions and balances the nervous system, reducing the so-called ‘fight or flight’ state.”
Gosselin might also do the somato-emotional release with clients, whether or not they are not aware that a physical symptom has something to do with an emotional trauma they’ve experienced. “The theory is that emotional trauma gets stored in the body, as in ‘Your issues are in your tissues,’” she says. “As the tissue releases, the emotion that is there will also release. I just create the container for clients to do whatever their process is while I’m attending to their body.”
Despite consulting with clients before each treatment, Gosselin says she often doesn’t really know what physical or emotional issues are at play until she begins to listen to their bodies. “I’m very comfortable sitting in the mystery with people. I don’t always need to know what’s going on and why, because often times it will reveal itself as I follow the body. This work is about being present and trusting that there’s something within the person’s being that can heal them. My job is to just be with that and help it.”
Barbara Gosselin, P.T., has written an ebook, 21 Ways To Alleviate Pain, available to those who sign up for her monthly newsletter. For more information, call 781-507-4226 or visit HolisticHealingPT.com.