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Community Story: Rachel Fleischman of Bliss Counselling

September 01, 2023

Meet Rachel Fleischman, psychologist and owner of Bliss Counselling in San Francisco, California. Rachel brings passion, generous insights, and deep care to her sessions. Her unique approach to therapy through humour and movement helps people reduce their stress and anxiety to significantly improve their lives.

Rachel is also the creator of Dance Your Bliss, a therapeutic system that bridges brain science with dance, meditation, writing, art-making, poetry, play, and life-affirming exercises. She offers this approach in both in-person classes and online sessions.

Tell us a little bit about you.

For twenty-three years now, I have led therapeutic movement classes. I was a clinical social worker in a psychiatric hospital in Philadelphia when I started these. “Dance Your Bliss,” the system I developed, is a therapeutic approach to care that involves dance, meditation, writing, art-making, life-affirming exercises, and more. Dance Your Bliss is aimed at helping participants connect with their bodies and find happiness. However, as I transition into this new phase of life at 51 years old, I’m incorporating more psychotherapeutic aspects into my work, focusing on mental health resources and discussions.

My sessions now focus on building trust through movement. I provide my clients with tailored and individualized sessions, including choosing appropriate music, specific movements and stretches to create a mental and physical space for them to work with me. If individuals prefer to lie down on the floor during a session to share their experiences, that’s perfectly fine.

The key is creating a comfortable environment; I am there to facilitate and share my insights. My role is to engage clients in conversation, learning, and creative activities, with the goal of helping them explore their emotions and challenges.

How do you integrate movement into your sessions?

During sessions, I incorporate movement, especially if I sense a need for a change in mood or focus. This movement isn’t about dancing to music, but more about simple stretches and body awareness exercises. It’s not for everyone, but movement can add depth to our sessions, often bypassing words and building trust.

Through my workshops, I’ve worked with people of various ages and abilities to foster a sense of safety, unity, and presence in their bodies. This physical approach resonates strongly and truly helps participants become more comfortable in their bodies. I offer a tailored experience, aligning movement with individual preferences and comfort levels. Ultimately, movement deepens the therapeutic experience and nurtures trust in sessions.

How has the move to working online changed how you practice?

Transitioning to primarily working online, my aim has been to recreate that inviting and warm space clients are used to in my practice. This means committing to a distraction-free environment when I’m online and working.

I’ve also noticed a change in client behaviour. During sessions, if I sense disinterest or distraction, I address it without shaming, ensuring a comfortable atmosphere. If fatigue sets in, I offer guided imagery or suggest lying down for relaxation. Guided imagery has been particularly effective on Zoom. For those wondering what guided imagery is it’s imagining a specific objective or place to aid in promoting relaxation, stress reduction, and positive physiological responses.

Ensuring that humanness is present in all my sessions really helps foster a safe space, encouraging openness and engagement. I believe the informality of online sessions has allowed us to more easily share our lives.

Additionally, when humour arises, I make sure we share those moments, even embracing mistakes or hiccups, such as technical glitches or background noises during sessions. I’ve found that this dynamic can significantly enhance connections throughout online sessions.

For those anxious about starting therapy, what advice would you give them?

I suggest thoroughly reviewing the online bio of a potential therapist as a first step to identifying who resonates with you emotionally. Take the time to connect with someone who feels genuinely relatable and connected.

It might feel overwhelming, so consider stepping back and exploring alternative options. For instance, if you’re feeling anxious, you could engage with a coach or a public speaker who provides a sense of safety. People dealing with social anxiety often carry unnecessary shame, even when discussing completely normal experiences. Overcoming this shame is essential, especially given societal differences in how men and women approach therapy.

Educate yourself about the available options and maintain a curious mindset. If traditional therapy doesn’t feel right at the moment, consider alternatives like joining a group for people with similar interests—this might an art class, or a book club. Find somewhere that aligns better with where you are on your journey towards seeking therapy.

How would you recommend new therapists connect with clients that have never been to therapy before?

Therapy can often carry a negative stigma due to past bad experiences. I acknowledge these previous encounters, both positive and negative, and recognize the challenge of entering new therapeutic relationships.

Having been a client myself, I have navigated through various therapists—some were unfitting, silent, or too distant. I believe in a different approach, one that fosters genuine connection where clients feel seen and understood. I have retained the meaningful aspects of therapy while eliminating unhelpful elements, such as an overly hierarchical dynamic. In my sessions, I place value on the client’s experience and encourage a collaborative partnership where both sides contribute equally.

Tell us why you chose Jane for your mental health practice?

Before Jane, I was managing stressful billing and paperwork alone without insurance. My entire approach was analog and error-prone.

Discovering Jane was transformative for me. I initially found Jane through my acupuncturist, who was using it. As a client, I genuinely loved the user-friendly interface. Upon further investigation, I realized that Jane could also greatly benefit mental health therapists like myself.

If I’m being honest, I hesitated at first, expecting it to be unsuitable for therapists due to its appealing design. However, I was able to work with an incredible Jane staff member during my setup. Now, I have been using Jane for 4 years, and I have become a devoted Jane user, finding it invaluable for both myself and my clients.

📣 Jane team shout out: Jane offers unlimited support. We will help get you started and will be by your side whenever you need assistance. Connect with the team for a demo to see if Jane is exactly what you’ve been looking for.

What do you love about Jane?

Jane is such an empowering tool that has helped transform my practice. Its user-friendly interface has put everything I need right at my fingertips, making everything I need to do incredibly efficient. Jane makes regular updates and adds new features which keep things fresh and even more helpful. I’m serving hundreds of clients now and keeping all of their records organized, which just feels incredible. I simply love using Jane!

How did your clients find the transition form analog to digital?

Jane’s organization is a hit with clients! They really appreciate being able to see their appointments at a glance in their own portal. Jane has completely eliminated the need to reach out by email to inquire about their appointments. Younger generations find it especially appealing, tracking payments and sessions is effortless for them.

I think Jane benefits both therapist and client and streamlines their relationship. I don’t need to constantly email availability; Jane handles reminders, paperwork, and payments. Jane’s efficiency shines in my operations. It’s been a complete delight. I can’t envision a better system for my practice.


Connect with Rachel through her website
Connect with Rachel on Instagram

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