Compassionate Inquiry

Compassionate Inquiry is a psychotherapeutic approach developed by Dr. Gabor Maté that reveals what lies beneath the appearance we present to the world. It gently uncovers and releases layers of constriction, suppressed emotion embedded in the body and childhood or other trauma, that are at the root of illness and addiction.

“The purpose of the Compassionate Inquiry system is to drill down to the core stories people tell themselves – to get them to see what story they are telling themselves unconsciously; what those beliefs are, where they came from; and guide them to the possibility of letting go of those stories, or letting go of the hold those stories have on them … That’s what the Compassionate Inquiry system is.”

~ Dr. Gabor Maté

My own journey through the 12 month training and now mentorship has provided me with some of the fundamental understandings of why we do the things we do and how our stored memories and perceptions from our lives impact how we see and view the world. I participated in over 100 sessions with colleagues and am continued to be blown away by how one sensation, one feeling, one emotion, one experience can be tied so viscerally (in the body) in our pasts, yet cause so much disturbance in the present day. There is a reason why we do the things we do…. and the answers lie in the mind-body approach.

What to expect in a session…

The Compassionate Inquiry (CI) session usually begins with a short grounding so the body and mind are present in the here and now. The session then begins with an intention (that you bring to the session) and a gentle unpacking of the thoughts, feelings, sensations or emotions that are present around that experience. When working somatically, we regularly check in with the body and the different reactions that are experienced as the session progresses. Often there is a point where the experience reveals a strong core belief about the way you experience yourself or your world or a part of you that is wanting to express or experience something. Sometimes there are links back to childhood memories or times in your life where you experienced this feeling/thought/sensation, that are carefully explored with permission. The whole session is guided by you and depends on how deep you want to take the experience as to what is explored, held or let go of. Often there are multiple layers to one belief that can be explored in one session or over a series of sessions.

Certain principles are maintained during each session:

  • You are encouraged to bring a specific intention to each session
  • You determine how much to engage in the session and may request to stop at any time
  • I may interrupt during the session to bring you back into awareness of the present moment and pay attention to body sensations or emotions that may be arising
  • Following the session it is recommended that you take some integration time to allow the body to regulate before returning to your daily life or work commitments