Take a deep breath

05.09.18

Deirdre Hoey, LCSW-C discusses yoga as alternative therapy.​

Q: What is the role of yoga at Health Care for the Homeless?

Our yoga groups are therapeutic. Some clients have difficulty sharing with people in traditional support groups. Others exist from shelter to soup kitchen and back each day with little or no personal interaction. Yoga is an opportunity to physically release anxiety but still be part of a group experience. Many clients have also had difficult encounters with the behavioral health system. Yoga—and my presence as a therapist—can be a non-threatening first step toward care. Yoga has been proven effective in the treatment of trauma and depression.

Q: Why do you need a therapist in the room?

Twice a week, our volunteer yoga instructors lead the class. As a therapist, I’m there to help clients navigate the emotions that get stirred up when your mind gets quiet. I also make the process of connecting to other services easier.

Q: How do clients respond to yoga?

Daily life for people without homes often consists of lines, crowds and time constraints. It’s all about survival. To leave that outside the door and practice some calmness results in a lot of unexpected relaxation. Clients often say, “I didn’t know I could feel this way. I’m going to come back.”

 

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