July 2022: A Note from Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, BeInkandescent magazine — With joy I introduce you today to Psychotherapist Silvia Stenitzer, and invite you to bask in the peace of her new guided meditation show, www.SoulActionRadio.com.
Inkandescent Radio is dedicated to providing listeners with interesting, educational podcasts and will bring more health and wellness to your day. My team and I know that you’ll not only take a deep, much-deserved breath, after listening to Silvia’s meditation. You will feel transformed. Please scroll down for our Q&A.
Hope: You started your career as a massage therapist before starting your current work as a psychotherapist. Look back at the last few decades and tell us about your path.
Silvia: My path was to follow my heart and soul, which meant breaking with family tradition. To not submit to my parents’ expectation of taking over the family business in Austria has been one of my most painful and most rewarding tasks in my life. Coming to Santa Fe has saved my life. I found my tribe here: seekers, alternative healing arts, art and the incredible beauty of New Mexico.
Hope: I have had the privilege of experiencing some of the areas that you specialize in, including art therapy and psychodrama therapy. Can you tell our audience more about those programs?
Silvia: Psychodrama was founded by Jacob Moreno at the turn of the 20th century. He was a contemporary of Freud and also lived in Vienna/Austria. Psychodrama means “soul in action” and is a dynamic, action-oriented group therapy to promote long-lasting positive change. Psychodrama uses action, role-play and the body to concretize inner experiences as well as past events in the here and now. Its origin is theater, improvisational theater, utilizing the qualities of spontaneity and creativity. The beauty of this process is that not only the client (protagonist) but all other members are participating in the drama gain and learn from this experience for their own lives. One person’s psychodrama is everyone’s psychodrama.
Art therapy connects us with the right brain and right-mode processing. It is the right brain, where our felt-sense of who we are and our subjective reality are being processed. Drawing, painting, writing, working with clay, music, dance, movements, all are means to get in touch with subconscious and unconscious parts of us that are impossible to “understand or figure out” through our mind. These approaches help to connect us with our felt-sense and then develop a conscious awareness of the “sense of meaning.” (Eugene Gendlin, 1996)
Hope: Who can benefit from these modalities and psychotherapy, in general?
Silvia: In general, I would say EVERYBODY. In my ideal world, everyone would engage in therapy, (expressive art therapy )to have the chance to lead a conscious and creative life. With psychodrama, there are some exceptions in the sense that I would not work with patients who suffer from hallucinations or are psychotic at the moment. There are psychodramatic techniques that still can be safely used on these individuals.
Hope: Now, let’s talk a little more about your journey. You were born and raised in Austria, and your parents owned a popular hotel. Tell us about that experience and how it influenced the work you are doing today.
Silvia: Having grown up in the hotel in Austria that my parents owned, I learned to work long hours and be in service of others. My parents instilled in me the importance of making people feel welcome in a personal, genuine, and warm way. My father continuously strove to give his best as a hotelier and offer the highest quality service. As an entrepreneur, he set a living example of being responsible, earnest, and respectful to others, employees, and guests alike. My mother was a lion-hearted, hard-working, self-reliant woman, passionate for equal rights for women. Both my parents were very generous and encouraged me to be adventurous, independent, and open to new experiences.
Hope: You moved to Santa Fe, NM, several decades ago. What drew you here, and what is it you find magical about Santa Fe?
Silvia: Santa Fe had been waiting for me all my life, so it seemed to me when I arrived in January 1989. Truly, I felt as if have arrived in a magical dreamland: the powerful sky, exotic landscapes, Native American Culture, Spanish-speaking population, artists from everywhere, earthy adobe architecture, everything was so completely different from where I came from. To this day, I am in love with Santa Fe. Even though, as with everything in this world, it has changed so much since I first came here.
I attended Jay Scherer’s Academy of Natural Healing, found my first Jungian therapist, and began to explore my own spirituality. Here, I have found my tribe. I loved giving massage and bodywork and kept educating myself in the realm of physical and mental well-being. A highly inspiring talk by Dr. Robert Waterman at the Public Library in the late nineties got me excited to pursue a degree at age 44, mostly because the program entailed self-awareness and embodied learning. Several years later, first having had to attain a bachelor’s in psychology from the College of Santa Fe, I finally could enroll in the master’s program for counseling at SWC. I graduated in 2006.
Hope: Now, let’s talk about what’s happening globally and the challenges we are all facing in the post-pandemic world. Not only are we coping with personal security, but there is the war in Ukraine, remarkable inflation, and so many other obstacles. How do you advise your clients to stay calm and sane amidst the chaos?
Silvia: Yes, Hope, so true! We are in a time of profound suffering and uncertainty. Humanity has been through many cycles of suffering, upheaval, and change. And this cycle is happening in our lifetime, in our lives. Everyone has been affected and touched by what is happening. Yes, the question is: How can we stay compassionate and open to the suffering of others (the other) but not let it overwhelm us to such a degree that it is taking a serious toll on us, that we can no longer show up for ourselves, our day-to-day needs. ~ In my own life and hearing from many people, “enjoying” life has been challenging when so much destruction and suffering is happening all around us. The fires in NM brought disaster close to all of us here, tremendous loss of wildlife, life stock and homes that we in one family for hundreds of years.
Everyone is different and each of us will have to find her own way. I feel that I have to acknowledge my pain first, not to suppress it but apply mindfulness to not be completed defined by it. I like very much and follow Deb Dana’s nervous system guidance of the 4Rs: recognize, respect, regulate (co-regulate), and re-story.
Hope: That’s a perfect segue to discuss your new podcast, SoulActionRadio.com. What do our listeners have to look forward to?
Silvia: An engaging journey inward, – to connect with our core and well-being and to bring a deeper and more profound Self back into the world. To allow respite and nourishment for ourselves, so we can be light figures for the people and world around us.