Body Psychotherapy has a fundamental vision of body, mind and psyche being intricately interwoven and connected; emotions, sensations, images, and energetic resonance entwined with thinking and reflective processes in continuous and reciprocal feedback-loops.
With no particular form of expression privileged in significance over another, this way of working is a relational paradigm that is oriented towards the experience of a felt sense of wholeness.
Touch can be used by a Body Psychotherapist, alongside many other body-mind interventions, but only through negotiation and agreement, and is not by any means an essential component of the therapeutic process.
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Body Psychotherapy originated in the 1930's, formulated by Wilhelm Reich, a student and colleague of Freud, and Reich considered his work to be the natural elaboration of Freud's largely-discarded interest in the biological psyche.
We would now describe Reich's work as a holistic systems perspective, viewing the body-mind as a complex system, evolved throughout life and therefore carrying a biographical history that is structured into the present moment.
Body Psychotherapy is an evolving holistic model, integrating concepts and techniques both from other therapeutic disciplines as well as from neuroscience, physiology, physics, spiritual practice, and so on. Some of this has been integrated seamlessly, as it adds to, expands, or validates Body Psychotherapy’s established structures, and some of it has been more painfully taken on-board, as it has involved integrating that which we had previously opposed.
As an approach we have undergone on-going incremental changes and radical paradigm-shifts.
This mirrors the developmental process in therapy, in that change often occurs in bite-sized pieces, effectively expanding our existing character-structure; but sometimes change and growth is more radical, conflicted and painful, as the character-structure begins to break-down, offering the opportunity for a transformational change in the psyche. It is often through the carefully managed experience of body-mind conflicts that these processes can emerge or be initiated, whilst remaining manageably contained.
Generally speaking, it's helpful to enter into Body Psychotherapy with a longer term view, as the safety of the therapeutic relationship and the robustness of attachment between therapist and client provides the container for approaching those difficult areas of experience that the client is seeking therapy for.
The dynamics of the therapeutic relationship deepen and build over time, and come to be of a central importance in understanding how it is that the primary relational wounds are being enacted and re-enacted in present day relationships; as they inevitably are.