ABOUT BODY-ORIENTED COUNSELLING
We develop our attitude towards life and the world when we are very young, and this shapes our choices, behaviours and relationships as an adult. Some people call this our 'life script'.
A lot of the key foundations for our life script are laid before we've even learned to talk, and they are held and expressed in our body through habits, postures, muscle tensions, breathing patterns, gestures, movements and expressions. These ways of inhabiting our body enabled us to survive when we were young, but the cost of this is often a limitation of our ability to feel and meet our own aliveness now as an adult. We begin to feel stuck, lost, depressed or anxious - and this is often when we seek support.
Body-Oriented Counselling helps us to become conscious of how our background life script is influencing and limiting us right now - both in our mind and in our physical body. This can be a very empowering process. By becoming more conscious of our habitual ways of being in the world, we discover that we have the power to change them, we have more choices and we are no longer a victim of our past.
As a Body-Oriented Therapist, I believe that deep and lasting personal change cannot come through intellectual effort alone. All emotional experiences are physical, bodily experiences, and our emotions, if we will let them, can be the guides to showing us what we really want and need in this life.
In this context, I see your symptoms and problems as messages from your innermost self, and similar to a foreign language that needs translating, we need to decipher their meaning.
Panic attacks, depression, anxiety, lack of sleep, chronic muscle tensions and pains in the body are all seen as communications from your inner world to you – and often the message is “Something isn’t right here and needs your attention!” My job as a Body-Oriented Therapist is not to ‘fix’ or ‘change’ you, but to offer a safe and supportive space in which you can slow down and meet what is going on inside of you. By doing this you can begin letting go of your old, unhelpful 'script' and start reflecting on what is most important to you in this life.
In Body-Oriented Counselling, true health is seen as much more than just the absence of problems, and our focus goes far beyond becoming 'less miserable'. Exploring your pains and sorrows is an important part of this work - but ultimately the focus in Body-Oriented Counselling is to support you to feel more fully in contact with your own aliveness. This involves developing an increased capacity for joy and pleasure, unlocking your potential for more creativity, spontanaeity and the discovery of meaningful work - and the ability to enter into a mature, loving relationship with another human being.
I also believe that this type of personal growth and development is inseparable from finding a bigger sense of meaning and purpose in life, a sense of belonging to the wider world. We must find our place in relation to the universe, and to do this mind and body need to be working in harmony with each other.
INNER LANDSCAPES, OUTER DIALOGUES
This work is not only inner focused. As we deepen in our self awareness, we start to see how our inner landscapes change in relation to different people and situations. We begin to see how we 'show up' to our lives, and what the unconscious patterns are that we replay and recreate again and again with the people around us.
Counselling offers us a powerful opportunity to see ourselves in relationship to others, and to bring more compassion and awareness to this process - transforming deeply ingrained habits which are often holding us back from our full potential. This process can be profoundly liberating, and can transform our working relationships, our romantic relationships and our family relationships.
WHAT DOES A SESSION INVOLVE?
As with any type of counselling, Body-Oriented Counselling is fundamentally about the establishment of a trusting relationship, rather than relying on a set of techniques. A session will often involve sitting down and talking, but also offers other possibilities for exploring what's going on inside of you. Two particular methods commonly used in Body-Oriented Counselling are:
- Vegetotherapy: A form of physical free-association done lying on a mattress.
- Biodynamic massage: A type of wellness massage that explores touch sensitively and therapeutically.
We might also use movement, relaxation techniques, guided imagery or create dialogues with cushions or objects that represent people in your life.
Sessions are different for everyone, and each session is specially tailored to meet you where you are in the moment. The intention is always to support you in your self-discovery, and what feels right for both of us will always be discussed and respected.