What is Body Psychotherapy?
I work with the understanding that much of our emotional experience is formed before the age of 4, before we can think about it and verbalise it. Sometimes we just cannot find words to explain what we are feeling and then feel stuck. As adults, talking about the problem can get us so far but to experience deeper change we need to contact the earlier experiences through focussing on the body and allowing its wisdom to inform our thinking mind. In this way we join up emotion, thought and words.
Body psychotherapy has explored the mind-body connection for many years and in the recent past, neuro-science has fully evidenced the connection by explaining how fight / flight and freeze mechanisms operate in all human behaviour and how exploring this can be very fruitful in trauma treatment and in psychotherapy in general.
How I work
As Body psychotherapists, we know that people are energetic beings and that our relationship to our bodies’ energy is fundamental to our wellbeing. We are born with abundant life energy but this becomes tamed and channelled through the demands of living in the modern world. Through our childhood experiences or later trauma our energy may become squashed or we may become hyper-alert, angry, reactive or immobilised, withdrawn and collapsed. Our character and bodies’ energy is formed in our family of origin and by the society we live in. Our habitual ways of being are adaptations which, as children, help us to deal with situations which may seem impossible. Later in life these same habits and characteristics can cause us to feel blocked and stuck. We can get so far in understanding our issues but we may go deeper into positive change through experiencing how these issues manifest in the current day in our mind, behaviour, body shape and energetic habits. In this way we can gain more choice about how we live our lives and become happier about ourselves.
As a Body Psychotherapist, I help you work with these states in a way to assist you come into a better relationship with your bodies’ energy. This may lead you into insights as how to move towards a more contented way of being. There are many different techniques: talking whilst paying attention to the bodies’ posture and energy; lying on a mattress and noticing what is happening internally, using touch and massage to bring awareness into the mind-body connection, dialoguing with different aspects of yourself which may be in conflict (inner child, judge, persecutor, victim etc.) using role play objects or drawing. Sometimes however we just sit in chairs and talk, but I will be paying attention to what your body may be saying and sometimes bringing my perception to your attention.
Most of us want to get in touch with or natural life energy, contentment and joy and this is the aim of Body Psychotherapy.
My first principle is that you feel safe. Not everyone wants to do very active work and negotiation about what does and does not feel right is an important part of the work. Many People come to therapy because at the bottom they do not like themselves and lack true confidence so I give a lot of space to building a trusting and supportive relationship in which feelings about this relationship can be explored. As in all therapy and indeed in all life, we bring our beliefs and expectations from the past into current relationships and these are often not helpful or accurate. My hope is that enough trust will develop for us to work honestly with any feelings of connection or difficulties that arise in the therapy relationship.
I love working with the mind body connection as I have often seen and marvelled at how, when we pay attention with curiosity and care to our bodies wisdom, that we discover so much that was previously unreachable. I work with a whole range of techniques from deep body psychotherapy using massage and touch to conventional talking in the chair asking you to focus sometimes on what is happening internally. Techniques are always discussed collaboratively. I am led by what you feel comfortable with and what is therapeutically appropriate.