Private sessions with JoAnne Chartrand-Benz for individuals, couples, and families.

JoAnne is a European-trained Psycho-Spiritual, Somatic Psychology Educator and has been in private practice since 1980. She is a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP) with a specialty in trauma. Click here for more detailed information about my background and training.

A Description of My Approach

Early in life we learn to fit in. This inhibits our spontaneous self. We learn to develop ego structures and body postures to play it safe. A separation occurs from our essence.

We restrict our inner spontaneous feelings, needs and energy in our bodies.
These false ego structures and body armor protect us from pain, and help us function in the world.

In this process, we look at these survival mechanisms and work on freeing ourselves from them.
The work is about the evolution of consciousness and finding essential solutions for life, work, and relationship.

I draw from a wide spectrum of methods, some of which are powerful and confrontational, while others are gentle and supportive. This approach is focused on creating more awareness of your patterns in order to find lasting and satisfying solutions in your life, relationships, and work.

The Issues are in the Tissues

The original impulse, once suppressed and unconscious, frequently expresses itself as tension or constriction in our body. These tensions evolve into inexplicable somatic tensions, pains, rigidities and armoring. We breathe less, so we won't feel the emotional pain.

Mind, Body and Soul Connection

By splitting off from our body, conflict arises. The splitting off is a form of abandoning ourselves. The split needs to be healed. The primary focus of this process comes about through connecting the body, mind, soul and the essence of who we are.

The body remembers, the bones remember,
the joints remember, even the little finger remembers.

 — Clarissa Pikola Estes

Resolve and Heal Trauma

This is a short-term naturalistic approach to the resolution and healing of trauma. We renegotiate and heal trauma rather than relive it. Access your own built-in self-regulatory capacities to deal with trauma and discharge the survival energies locked in the body.

Reconnecting with Essence

By inhibiting our spontaneity, we also block our connection to our essential aliveness that is trying to express itself. Enlivening this core inner essence becomes a central ingredient of the work. Connecting with this deep state of being, underneath all the obscurities of our ego, is usually experienced as coming home again.

The Process of Cultivating Presence

This work is an experiential process of developing our essential self to replace the false ego structures that keep us in unwanted patterns. We focus on inquiry and exploration rather than interpretation. The process itself is primarily one of becoming more conscious and aware on a somatic, emotional, energetic, mental and essential level. Much accent is placed on how you do things, particularly on developing presence. Presence is a key to change, to moving beyond the ego and into our essence. It helps to resolve any kind of unwanted patterns or trauma.

Encouraging Healing

In this work, boundaries are respected. We make friends with any resistances that show up. Survival mechanisms may have outlived their purpose, but they also have their value. Allowing your thoughts and feelings to arise, being curious and exploring them without judgment and with compassion, encourages healing to happen. This accepting attitude will expand your capacity to deal with life.

The Body as a Gateway to Essence


In order to make lasting and satisfying change occur, we need to free up the habit patterns in the body. In dealing with issues of the personality, we pay attention to the body while cultivating presence. The body is a gateway to reconnect with essence. Presence will help to create a container to tolerate what arises in the process and help deepen connection with essence.

Body Sense &
Embodying our Experiences

Our bodily postures and our ego structures are connected. This adaptive body structure, which we all create, is the way we shape ourselves and have been shaped by our life experience. Body postures become frozen structures that block us from our life energy. This needs to be addressed for the subtler aspects of
our essence to reveal themselves. The inhibition of both emotional
responsiveness and of disconnecting from our essence is often
connected to the restriction of the breath.

Re-Sensitizing the Self

The process will help to "resensitize the self" and the meanings behind tensions will become clearer. Through breathwork and/or grounding, the way we "stand and breathe" in the world — and in relation to others — is revealed. The ultimate aim is to go beyond the body and the ego, into the transpersonal realms of being. This integrative approach of depth psychology and body oriented process will "flesh out" experiential understanding of how the body and mind influence one another.

Resolve Biological Effects of Trauma

Trauma haunts the mind and lives in our body. This short-term approach specializes in releasing trauma from the body and soul by accessing your own built in resources and discharges the survival energies locked in the body. Symptoms of trauma are the result of a highly activated incomplete biological response to threat, frozen in time. By enabling this frozen response to thaw, then complete itself, trauma can be healed. Trauma is an internal straitjacket created when a devastating moment is frozen in time. It stifles the unfolding of being, strangling our attempts to move forward with our lives. It disconnects us from our selves, others, nature and being.

Self-Regulation Helps Heal Trauma

When we are overwhelmed by threat, we are frozen in fear. The undischarged energy remains in the body, and the nervous system becomes stuck in "survival mode." The various symptoms of trauma result from the body's attempt to "manage" and contain this unused energy. This somatic approach helps renegotiate and heal trauma rather than relive them. It is also congruent with many of the findings of current neuroscience research.

Specialty: Resolution of Trauma

Any kind of trauma will lodge itself in our bodies. This approach specializes in releasing trauma from the body and soul.
This is an Integrative Body-Oriented approach.

Schedule An Appointment

Call me on 805-563-0558 or email joannachartrand(at)gmail(dot)com.

I'm also available for Phone or Skype sessions.