Psychotherapy and Yoga—Use your head and follow your heart!

Mindfulness practices like Yoga and psychotherapy help us find compassion, clarity and connection.

Dr. Lynn Somerstein, RYT

I am a psychotherapist in private practice, a Yoga teacher and yoga therapist, a writer and editor.  The thread holding  these differences together  is my interest in helping people know who they are so they can express themselves to their fullest potential. Expressive Analysis concentrates on enhancing the creativity  within each of us; the work is individualized, and might include art, movement, music, as well as words.

I first found out about Yoga and psychoanalysis when I was in high school; I started doing Yoga on the living room rug, a book propped up beside me. There were no Yoga studios where I lived–I didn’t even know there was such a thing. I didn’t know any psychoanalysts, either.

That was fifty years ago; I’ve been a therapist for thirty years. I have a PhD in Interdisciplinary studies, with a concentration in psychology and psychoanalysis, and I am a Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT).  I study yoga at the Integral Yoga Institute, which is only a few blocks away from the psychoanalytic school I attended, the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis (NPAP).   Now I teach Restorative Yoga classes at the Integral Yoga Institute in New York City, and Chair Yoga in Westchester and other sites as well. I’m a psychotherapist and a yoga therapist. I also work with people privately in my Manhattan office. I have personally benefited from the practices of psychotherapy and yoga therapy, and I bet you will too. My specialties are anxiety, depression, and narcissistic personality disorders.

If you’d like to know more about how therapy and yoga work together, you can read about breath work and therapy, or about the psychoanalytic benefits of Hatha Yoga, in the Articles section of my website, or read the stories about people in this section. Serge Prengel, of Somatic Perspectives, also published his radio interview with me.


The VA National Center for PTSD has some excellent online self-help tools at:

my brochure yoga therapy

Lynn Somerstein, PhD, E-RYT Therapist in New York Therapist


New Book: Defining Moments for Therapists,
edited by Serge Prengel and Lynn Somerstein


Cover of Defining Moments for Therapists, Edited by Serge Prengel & Lynn Somerstein

Ever wonder what therapy is like from the therapist’s point of view? Psychotherapy is about change; most books show how the client changes, not about how the therapist changes, but therapists change and grow too.   The book Defining Moments for Therapists shows how therapists transform and grow in response to their private life experiences and to the relationship they and their clients develop together. It includes examples from  psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, body therapy, art therapy, and pre- and perinatal psychology, among other kinds of treatment, because people respond to different kinds of treatment at different times in their lives. Sometimes people need a mixed approach that includes body work and psychotherapy.

Therapy is a relational two way street; there are many stops along the way, and not always what we expect. Sometimes what we think works best is different than what we are trained to do, and even feels like a transgression. The results are moving, haunting sometimes.

Every person in this book wrote about something different, from perinatal experience to dying, and in between child abuse, rape and murder. The therapists were often afraid that they sometimes  went beyond the usual boundaries, some working with lucid dreaming, others touching the client, one person giving a gift. Another therapist used the musical themes that went through her head as clues to her client’s needs. One therapist describes wanting more in her own life. A particularly touching chapter shows the chemistry between the therapist and her client.

If you’ve ever been curious about some of the things therapists experience doing treatment and how they got to be therapists in the first place, here’s your chance to find out.

This book is written for people in therapy, therapists, and therapists in training. It was edited by Serge Prengel and myself, Lynn Somerstein.  Order a copy now in soft cover or ebook format, or learn more about the book and download it for free in PDF format.


You can also just browse my  Living Well Blog.



Some recommendations from colleagues:

Institute for Expressive Analysis

“Lynn and I are colleagues, as psychoanalysts and we have co-taught classes for the Training Institute for the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis. We also have been, or still are, directors for the Institute for Expressive Analysis. I have known Lynn, in these capacities, for several years and have been impressed by her skills and dedication to her work.” December 24, 2008

Robert WolfPsychoanalyst, Educator and Artist, Self Employed
worked with Lynn at Institute for Expressive Analysis


“From the very first contact with Lynn, the essence and nature of her work began. Whether in person, on the phone or even in emails, Lynn infuses her communications and contacts with her a calm and inviting professionalism that is magnified when she is teaching. Her scope and mastery of her work is clearly substantial. However, it is her consumate style of presenting that catapults into a realm that is both instructor and artist.” July 26, 2010

Top qualities: Great Results, Personable, High Integrity

William Goeren
hired Lynn as a Presenter for Social Service Staff at CancerCare in 2009

Book review editor, Psychoanalytic Review

“I have had the privilege to interact and collaborate with Lynn in her capacity as Book Review Editor for the Psychoanalytic Review. I have found her to be intellectually curious, flexible and generous with her time and effort. Lynn is respectful and patient as she actively engages in understanding perspectives that can be different from her own. I admire her work ethic and willingness to take responsibility for making tough choices. Richard Raubolt, Ph.D.” December 31, 2008

Richard Raubolt Ph.D.clinical psychologist, Richard Raubolt
worked with Lynn at Psychoanalytic Review