Body psychotherapy encompasses a range of body-centred approaches to therapy and personal growth. It can involve working with the bodymind through breath, movement and direct contact, alongside traditional psychotherapeutic skills. The common theme is the sense that our body holds old patterns, memories and traumas that are stuck, frozen, out of awareness. They are waiting to be revealed and released, given space, safety and encouragement. Something is ready to move in all of us – the therapy space or the group room provides the container for movement to happen. Our bodies respond with surprising enthusiasm to being given attention and permission. This work invites mindful awareness of what happens in our bodies - both therapist and client - as we explore relationship.
One of the key skills in body psychotherapy is what we call Bodylistening – paying attention to the body’s many channels of communication to guide the healing process. Bodylistening skills can be a major resource for those working in the healing professions. It can assist counsellors and psychotherapists who wish to bring more body wisdom to the exploration of the psyche. It is also essential for bodyworkers (massage therapists, yoga teachers, etc) who need to handle the responses which their work can often trigger.
Body psychotherapy provides a focus for many overlapping fields. There is a growing convergence in understanding the links between childhood development, neuropsychology, psychoanalytic theory, and the body-centred approach of modern post-Reichians and somatic psychologists. It invites creative exploration of the body as process - through movement, imagery and interaction - and an appreciation of the social, political and ecological questions of embodiment. It also offers a gateway to the mysterious, mystical and transpersonal realms, investigating the nature of self, and embodied awareness.
Given the explosion of interest in body-centred work, there are surprisingly few body psychotherapy trainings available. We run a regular introductory training in Bodylistening - click here for information. We also run trainings and workshops for groups of therapists and practitioners - invite us!
For a more detailed article on body psychotherapy, click here.