What Language Does Your Body Speak: Some Thoughts on Somatic Psychotherapies in International Contexts

I have begun to ask myself an orienting question that serves more as an ongoing inquiry to assist me to re-organize the work, as needed, versus a question that always has a clear answer: What language does my body speak?

Short Stories from the Biodynamic Psychotherapy Room: Lily

Biodynamic massage is an integral part of biodynamic psychotherapy, which allows psychotherapeutic work within the framework of the body. The name ‘biodynamic massage’ encompasses fourteen different methods of touch. Almost all the touch methods can be performed at different levels of the body. A biodynamic psychotherapist is often guided by a stethoscope (either electronic or ordinary) stethscoprewhilst carrying out biodynamic massage (Southwell, unpublished; Stauffer, 2005, unpublished, 2010; van Heel, 2014); the stethoscope is utilized for listening to the digestive system’s sounds (also known in this context as the psycho-peristalsis) (Boyesen, M-L. & Boyesen, G. 1978). This makes it possible to obtain immediate feedback from the body about the level of accuracy, quality, and attunement of the touch applied. The experience of touch must be modulated by context and internal state (Ellingsen et al., 2016).

Using the Two-Chair Process: For Helping Babies and Families

The “two-chair” process is a remarkably effective, gentle and safe way to support new families. Popularized in the late 1960s by Fritz Perls, MD (1893-1970) as part of his Gestalt therapy, the method was expanded by Robert Hall, MD (1934-) based on Hall’s study with polarity therapy founder Randolph Stone, DO, DC, ND (1890-1981). The present-day manifestation of the two-chair process also reflects the influence of Peter Levine, PhD (1942-), who studied with Stone and Hall. For a complete description of the method, see Dancing with Yin and Yang (2013) by John Chitty, which contains an extensive 80-page, highly detailed chapter of the two-chair process.

Eugene Gendlin, Somatic Pioneer

One of the most important and influential figures in somatic psychology is… a philosopher. Odd? Actually not. Because the more we learn about Eugene Gendlin’s revolutionary philosophy of the body, the more it makes sense that he is known as one of the originators of modern body-oriented psychotherapy.

Mind: A Journey to the Heart of Being Human

Dr. Siegel defines the mind as an embodied and relational, self-organizing emergent process that regulates the flow of energy and information both within and between. His definition of mind is full of his own language that he develops throughout the book.

ECHOs in Bosnia and Beyond

As the twentieth anniversary of war in Bosnia—Herzegovina looms, many civilian survivors remain traumatised by the events they experienced and/or witnessed. Following the end of the war, the ensuing social and political upheaval and lack of resources have resulted in chronic emotional issues and mental health problems within the civilian population.

The Handbook of Body Psychotherapy and Somatic Psychology: A Day Long Celebration

“Failure informs me,” William Cornell said. “You can’t learn if you’re not disturbed.” With 45 years in the field, William certainly understands the importance of noticing what excites you and what disturbs you—these are your learning edge, your leading edge, he said.

A Cultural Transformation

In a world where it is only now becoming acceptable to speak among colleagues and professionals in these terms, the pre and perinatal perspective may find its place as an exemplar and guide to recovering from the four hundred year split of spirit, soul, and matter, that gave rise to scientific materialism. Given that we come into the world enjoying our own consciousness, prebirth and birth therapy is well positioned to heal not only the schism enacted on us, but the prevailing world view that we are unconscious at conception and through birth and infancy.

A Body-Centered Pregnancy: How to Stay Grounded When All Else is Changing

Our kinesthetic sense is the sense that tells you all you need to know about space: the space inside your body, the space around you and spatial relationships. It’s key to a body-oriented intelligence and, aptly, considered by many synonymous with extra sensory perception and intuition. Introducing a pregnant woman to feeling space, body breathing, and positive messaging is an effective way to wake up and empower her kinesthetic sense. And, trusting this inner-outer sense of space is essential for the pre and perinatal journey.

Short Stories from the Biodynamic Psychotherapy Room: Beginning to Feel

I entered my room. I like my therapy room. It is large, spacious and painted in my favourite colours: dark aubergine, purple and lilac. It is not the exact shade of lilac I envisioned when describing it to the decorator, but I like it now; the touch of pinkish lilac makes me feel softer, warmer. A dash of green lawn hides beyond the azure curtains. What did my client say yesterday? That it was the first time she had noticed that the walls of my room are pink. So many times she had been in this room – for how many years now? Over two years, almost every fortnight; over fifty sessions of at least one hour each. But still she hadn’t noticed the pink walls, despite being artistic. In her work she employs a great deal of awareness regarding the nature of colour and the slight differences between shades.