My journey into the realm of body/mind began over 30 years ago when I took my first yoga class. Doing yoga I learned to use my mind to influence how my body moved and stretched. Focusing my concentration on various parts of my body, I attempted to perfect the physical poses taught in hatha yoga class. The stretching and strengthening, along with various yogic breathing techniques enabled me to sit still for my meditation practice. Together, yoga and meditation greatly contributed to both my physical and emotional well-being. I had effectively learned to use my mind to work with my body, and to some degree, my emotions.

     "I" was my "mind" back then; "I" lived above my neck. My body was merely my vehicle I was to keep in good shape, which I attempted to do with diet and yoga. Working with yoga so excited me I traveled to India to study further. Over time, however, negative emotional experiences “cropped up” and yoga alone was not enough to provide me with a sense of ease or well-being. I began psychotherapy to help me explore my emotions, and although talking was helpful, I often found myself just going round and round in my head with my issues and not really integrating any real changes into my life. At the suggestion of my acupuncturist I tried the Rubenfeld Synergy Method.

     After a few Rubenfeld sessions, I had a profound “aha” – my body had lots of things to say to me! True things. As I learned how to listen to my self via my body, I became aware of emotions and emotional patterning that up until that point had not been in my consciousness, not acknowledged. Being able to express and examine these feelings began to transform my life – in body, mind and spirit.

     The changes Rubenfeld Synergy were helping me make were so profoundly positive for me, I felt compelled to learning and sharing this bodymind therapy with others.

     Over the years I have expanded my therapeutic skills with many years’ training in both Biodynamic Cranial Therapy and Gestalt Therapy. The “synergy” of these modalities has proven to be very beneficial for my own personal journey, as well as for the life journeys of my clients.

Professional experience in the field of BodyMind Therapy:

     BodyMind Trainings:

     Rubenfeld Synergy Method®, 1998-2002

         Synergist Training progam, Ilana Rubenfeld & Faculty

     Portland Gestalt Training Institute, 2003-2010

     Ortho-Bionomy Training, 2006     

     Body & Emotions in the Therapeutic Session, Breitenbush, OR, 2010

          Master Synergist, Rob Bauer, at 3-day workshop as assistant

     Working with the Body in Psychotherapy, 2006-2007

          Training Program, Daniel Schiff, PhD

     Biodynamic Cranial Therapy, 2005-present


                Todd Jackson, 2005 - present; 2010, Mentorship


                 Cherionna Menzam-Sills, 2009

                 Mike Boxhall, 2013, 2014

                 Giorgia Milne, 2018

          Cranial Therapy Teaching Assistant

                  Todd Jackson, Cranial I, II & III Workshops, 2013 - 2019, 2021


     International Association of Rubenfeld Synergists

          Annual Conference, 2012, Ashland, OR

               Qualities of a Healing Presence, A case for non-doing

          Annual Conference, 2022, webinar

          Embodied Presence

     International Cranial Teacher Study Group (Interface)

          Interface 2010, Breitenbush, OR

               A Prepatory Meditation for Meeting Clients

          Interface 2012, Breitenbush, OR

               Qualities of a Healing Presence, A case for non-doing

          Interface 2013, Darry, Germany

               Picasso Does Cranial, Art for cranial research?

          Interface 2015, Flathead Lake, MT

               Feeling Our Way Toward Stillness          

          Interface 2016, Squamish, British Columbia, Canada:

               Breath as Movement, Breath as Sound

          Interface 2022, Ratna Ling, Cazadero, CA


     Infant/Maternal Cranial Sacral Therapy Conference

          2012, Portland, OR

               Qualities of a Healing Presence, A case for non-doing

     Northwest Cranial Association

          2014, Annual Retreat, Copalis Beach, WA

               Picasso Does Cranial, Art as Integration of a Cranial Session

          2015, Annual Retreat, Copalis Beach, WA            

               Feeling Our Way Toward Stillness

          2021, The Rubenfeld Synergy, Webinar            

      Biodynamic Touch Workshop

     2018, 2024, Portland, OR

      Cranial 1 - Biodynamic Interface Workshop

          2018, 2019, 2022, 2023, Portland, OR              

      BodyMind Therapy Workshop/Retreat

          2022, Rockaway Beach, OR

      Somatic Intuitive Healing, Lead Facilitator

          2022-24, Portland, OR

      The Listening Hand, Rubenfeld Synergy Method Workshop

          June, 2024, Lake Oswego, OR


© Deborah Merkle 2024

About Deborah Merkle

Deborah Merkle, CRS


International Association of Rubenfeld Synergists

Northwest Cranial Association

Portland Gestalt Training Institute

United States Association for Body Psychotherapy