Have you ever heard of body psychotherapy?
It’s a form of psychotherapy based on the idea that people experience the world simultaneously through their mind and their body.
There are five essential concepts of body psychotherapy:
1. Bodymind: the embodied integration of thoughts, feelings, and physical bodily experiences and sensations.
2. Armoring and character: armor is a muscle tension that protects us from physical and emotional pain. The set of armors contributes to the development of character.
3. Energy: is stored and released from the body and plays an important role in how people carry themselves, experience the world and interact with it.
4. Body memory: the idea that memories are stored within the body, and for this reason need to be accessed through the body rather than talking therapy.
5. Trauma: the idea that traumatic experiences can create energy build-ups and blockages that lead to physical and emotional issues.
These concepts are used in body psychotherapy by a constant attention and awareness on both mind and body processes, which become integrated and are elaborated as a whole.
Four main techniques are used:
1. Centering: using the patient to increase awareness on internal processes and stabilise them from the inside out.
2. Grounding: the attunement to the flow of energy between the body and the ground. Stretching, vibration and breathing help in experiencing a sense of connection with this flow of energy.
3. Contact and bodywork: this can range from exercises that encourage relaxation, safe touch, that call attention on body tension, or even dance and movement therapy sessions.
4. Breathwork: it’s believed that people often stop breathing when they want to block feelings, so learning to breath more regularly and consciously leads to more balance and relaxation.
As with any approach, we don’t have to necessarily embrace all its concepts to see its validity. Body psychotherapy connects these often far-apart worlds of body and mind and increases awareness on one’s internal dynamics by focusing on both. Through this integrated approach, we can be able to connect more deeply with ourselves as a whole, and not just parts that work independently.