Body Psychotherapy is not a new discipline, going back to the 1920's. It is an offshoot of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud's 'talking cure' and was developed by one of Freud's pupils.
Resolving Inner Conflicts
In psychotherapy language, our inner conflict is known as a 'neurosis'. Writing in 1981, this is what Alexander Lowen, a famous American body psychotherapist wrote about the root causes of our inner conflicts and problems:
"Neurosis is not usually defined as a fear of life, but that is what it is. The neurotic person is afraid to open his heart to love, afraid to reach out or strike out, afraid to be fully himself...
We want to be more alive and to feel more, but we are afraid of it. Our fear of life is seen in the way we keep busy so as not to feel, keep running so as not to face ourselves. Because we are afraid of life, we seek to control or master it. We believe that it is bad or dangerous to be carried away by our feelings. We admire the person who is cool, who acts without feeling. Our hero is James Bond, Secret Agent 007.
The emphasis in our culture is upon doing and achieving. The modern individual is committed to being successful, not to being a person...
Regardless of how well we perform, we are failures as people. I believe that most of us sense the failure in ourselves. We are dimly aware of the pain, anguish and despair that lie just below the surface. But we are determined to overcome our weaknesses, override our fears, and surmount our anxieties. This is why books on self-improvement or How To Do It are so popular. Unfortunately these efforts are bound to fail. Being a person is not something one can do. It is not a performance. It may require that we stop our frantic business, that we take time out to breathe and to feel. In the process we may feel our pain, but if we have the courage to accept it, we will also have pleasure. If we can face our inner emptiness, we will find fulfillment. If we can go through our despair, we will discover joy. In this therapeutic undertaking, we may need help."
So, Body Psychotherapy is about stopping our frantic busy-ness, it's about taking stock of who we really are and what it is that we really want and need from this life. This usually involves facing some difficult feelings that we have been avoiding, and it is not an easy journey - but if we are willing to take the plunge, it offers us much in potential rewards. The aim of Body Psychotherapy is not just to be less miserable, but to feel more truly alive, more spontaneous, more creative and more connected with the people and world around us.
In Body Psychotherapy we believe that deep and lasting personal change cannot come through intellectual effort alone. Our physical body is the place where we can really touch and be touched by this life - all our emotional experiences are physical experiences, and our emotions, if we will let them, can be the guides to showing us what we really want and need.
The demands of our inner world often clash with the demands of the outer world - and many of us resolve this dilemma by cutting off the feedback our body is offering us. We tighten and contract our muscles, we constrict our breathing to a bare minimum, and we severely limit our range of movements. Our body is reduced to being a thing that moves our brains from sitting infront of one screen to another, and to being the warehouse where we store all of our unwanted stress and tensions.
What does a session involve?
Body Psychotherapy often involves sitting in chairs and talking, but it also offers other possibilities for exploring what's going on inside of us.
Body psychotherapy also often involves the use of massage, to connect you more to what is going on inside of your body, and the therapy room is equipped with a massage table.
There is also a floor mattress, on which you may be invited to explore other ways of inhabiting your body, going inwards and getting in touch with your inner world.
We will discuss what methods might suit you best, and what you are comfortable with.