There are many different schools of Body (Somatic) Psychotherapy, from the Focussing work of Eugene Gendlin to the Sensorimotor school, bringing together the psychoanalytic experience of relational therapy and the discoveries of Neuroscience. There are also psychotherapists working with dance and movement who work with the body to bring about release, to unlock memory and to inform discussion from the unconscious. I draw inspiration from these highly effective approaches and share an interest in the body as a store of non-cognitive knowledge. By this I mean that we learn and remember through our experiences and these stay with us, sometimes out of awareness. But this “knowledge” can still be used. We often find that the body is trying to tell us something but we are resisting hearing it. We can take time to listen – I prefer the word attend as there may not be words or clear messages – and we may find out what is holding us back or causing a problem.
I have also studied how the voice changes and inflects in response to desires, defences and fears held in the body. Posture and body tensions can be observed in a detailed way to help our discussion reach carefully into the psyche. By slowing down and observing somatics I Zenegra find we can bypass some of the verbal knots and complexities that bind us to unhelpful ideas and behaviours.
We all know that worry can make us sick. It shows up in the body. Fear, trauma and loss can also have serious physical effects as can identity issues and low self-esteem. I find working with the body often helps to restore health and build up confidence.
Some body therapists use directive touching such as massage or joint manipulation, but I do not use these techniques. I would enquire and help you to notice and attend. Together we may discover or explore what is happening somatically and emotionally. This helps us to balance between thoughts, feelings and actions – the alternatives might include:
- getting tied up in circular thoughts
- obsessing on negative ideas
- low moods or depressive energy making change impossible
- fear of change
- being a victim of a habit despite knowing it is bad
- repeating patterns of behaviour we regret
My work in Music, Theatre, Dance and many other somatic practices have given me valuable insights and skills. It is a way of working that requires sensitivity and curiosity on the part of therapist and client alike. Compassion for ourselves and our bodies is also important.