What is Body Psychotherapy?
Body psychotherapy focuses on the psyche through its expression in the body to enhance awareness on all levels of being. This can include body sensations, thoughts and thinking patterns, feelings, and movements of energy. Through the process of bringing awareness to “how it is” it becomes possible to make different choices and to reconnect with the “essential self”, which is intrinsically healthy. Body psychotherapy is derived from the work of Wilhelm Reich, and the influences of Eastern philosophy in the 1960s. The term Body Psychotherapy was coined in 1991 by the European Association for Body Psychotherapy(EABP).
The body reflects a person’s current state and previous life history, in health mind and body function in a relatively integrated manner. When this is happening breathing, movement, mood, speech and sense of wellness are harmonious. More often full health is not evident. Outwardly there can be success – perhaps there is a secure, well paid job, a family and a pleasant home, but the individual has persistent headaches, or feels constantly tired in the absence of illness, is bored, or feels that something indefinable is missing. Every trauma, shock, difficulty in life, every unexpressed joy is embodied. These experiences manifest as aches and pains, tight or slack muscle, shallow breathing, inability to relax and sleep, low or high arousal levels, feeling hot or cold, disturbed thinking, inability to concentrate or make decisions, and lack of vitality. When these phenomena persist for a long time they develop into more or less fixed states, illness and general malaise become habitual and normalised. Most of us barely know what it could feel like to be really well and certainly have little idea of how to go about feeling more alive.
Good resolutions and will power have only minimal impact on the body. In body psychotherapy the psychotherapist works with the client to discover the meaning of unskillful patterns of behaviour, how it is that relationships are maintained, which are not satisfying and the meaning of the messages that the body is communicating. Gradually a story unfolds about what makes for greater or lesser well being. Perhaps protective ways of being developed for survival in past circumstances are no longer necessary and are self defeating. As awareness of oneself develops, it becomes possible to be more in touch with what is healthy in terms of behaviour and lifestyle. Consequently the individual is more in tune with him or herself, there is more connection with the wider world.
What can Body Psychotherapy help with?
Relationship problems and personal difficulties such as unstable relationships, low confidence and self esteem, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, stress, which may be experienced as emotional outbursts, exhaustion, burnout, body pain, and emotional withdrawal.
Body psychotherapy can also help with bereavement, loss of direction or purpose in life, intimacy issues and chronic illness.
All problems and difficulties will exist in the physical body as well as the thoughts and feelings.
I am an experienced therapist who has completed my formal training via Cambridge Body Psychotherapy centre, and in the process of working towards requirements for full professional registration with UKCP.
- This means that my session fees are currently reduced to £55 per hour.
- My work is clinically supervised and I adhere to the UKCP code of ethics.