Relational Body Psychotherapy
Connection ~ Expression ~ Integration
We human beings are beautifully intricate and complex organisms, full of life force and physical wisdom. Body-oriented psychotherapy recognises and works with the interconnected spiritual, mental, energetic, physical, emotional levels of ourselves, helping us to move towards integration and wholeness.
Body psychotherapy was founded by Wilhelm Reich. He was originally a part of Sigmund Freud’s circle. A brilliant and radical man, he was the first psychiatrist to go beyond the mind and understand the importance of working physically with his patients in the 1930’s in Austria and Denmark.
Part of Reich’s achievements included the development of bio-dynamic massage as an affective way to treat mental illness. His discoveries about memory being held in the cells of our body, the relationship between muscular tension and held emotion, amongst many others, were way ahead of his time in terms of western medicine which has tended to split mind and body.
The neurological research done over the last twenty-five years has validated Reich’s work and deepened our understanding of all forms of mental, emotional and physical suffering as well as the underlaying trauma which has caused it.
This knowledge enables therapists such as myself to offer effective treatment for conditions such as depression, anxiety and all forms of PTSD.
What to expect
A safe space
I have over twenty-five years experience as a body-oriented psychotherapist.
Developing a trusting therapeutic relationship with clients is essential for the effectiveness of the work, so I always take time to get to know you and your history before working with conscious touch or massage.
Trusting the wisdom of your body
When we have developed enough trust and understanding, I can then go on to use different therapeutic tools, whilst staying in touch with you and the wisdom of your body.
For example; working consciously with the breath, body awareness exercises, visualisations, movement, massage (with or without aromatherapy oils) and energy work. These all help to free up muscular tension and energetic blocks in your system. Gradually we will have more access to your body memories, impulses and emotions. Then they can then be expressed physically and emotionally. With this releasing, comes integration and healing.
A voice for your inner child
Some of the other techniques that I use are inner child work, gestalt exercises and family constellations. These approaches are particularly helpful in healing and integrating any split off or disowned parts of self such as the traumatised child. They are also useful in identifying and disempowering negative internal voices which may not be part of your authentic personality.
Offered with sensitivity, conscious touch and embodied heart centred presence, all of this work enables a more balanced regulation of your nervous system. This means that you can have more freedom from fear and so be less reactive emotionally. It is the hope and the objective that, through this healing, you can live a more joyful and embodied existence.
Reclaiming our bodies
Many people have experienced some trauma in their lives. For some it might have been a single event such as a car accident. For others it might have been more complex involving emotional deprivation or physical or sexual abuse in early life. Along with Dr Gabor Mate, I have come to believe that under every diagnosis of mental illness or any form of addiction, there is trauma.
Trauma can leave us disconnected from our bodies. We can suffer from depression and extreme anxiety, be unable to trust people or sustain relationships and be unpredictable in our emotional states. We can also develop physical symptoms such as chronic muscular tension or other medical problems.
Although talking therapies can be helpful for many of our psychological problems, with complex trauma any approach which also includes attention to the physical and emotional experience within our bodies is often more effective, especially when the trauma occurred at a pre-verbal stage of development.
It is a truly wonderful experience to really live consciously within our physical selves.
Unfortunately, for so many people who have experienced trauma in their lives it has not been easy for them to reach a point of feeling comfortable with physical existence and it has taken much effort and struggle to achieve it.
All over the world, the increasing use of the internet means that it is more and more difficult to stay physically conscious of ourselves, other humans and also in connection with nature. It is not easy to be a fully embodied human being at this time in history!
Becoming consciously present for healing
Even so, for me it feels more and more important to work towards being as consciously present as we can be, not just as part of our individual healing process or spiritual journey but as part of a collective human evolution, the recognition of oneness. The earth is in crisis and is reaching out to us for a relationship based one this truth.
How can we feel the wind on our faces, hear the bird’s song, notice the clouds in the sky if we are thinking about the past or the future?
A 1 hour session is £70
Further reading & resources
If you want to read more about any of the subjects raised then here are some books that may be useful.
– When the Body Says No – Dr. Gabor Maté
– The Body Remembers – Babette Rosthchild
– Waking The Tiger – Peter Levine
– Trauma And Memory – Peter Levine
– Hands Of Light – Barbara Brennan
– Stanislav Grof and Christina Grof
– Lifestreams, An Introduction To Biosynthesis – David Boadella
– Transitions To Wholeness – Matthew Appleton
– Body Psychotherapy – Edited by Tree Staunton
– Spiritual Emergency – Stanislav Grof and Christina Grof
– Healing The Fragmented Selves Of Trauma Survivors – Janina Fisher
– My Grandmother’s Hands – Resmaa Menakem
The Body Keeps The Score – Bessel Van Der Kolk
– Bioenergetics – Alexander Lowen
– Daughter of Fire – Irina Tweedie
– Wisdom Of The Body Moving Linda Hartley
– Spiritual Ecology – Edited by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee