When we hear about a person’s mental health, it’s often in the context of a problem — a colleague is struggling to handle stress at work, a friend’s child is having behavioral problems at school, or a family member has received a diagnosis. And almost always, these discussions are limited to older children and adults. So it begs the questions: when does mental health begin? Do babies have mental health?
To be human means to orient vertically; it is our most fundamental human orientation. We live the majority of our lives in a vertical posture, assuming the advantages and challenges of the evolutionary development of a vertical spine. From infancy on we don’t waste any time trying to get ourselves vertical. Place a baby on his stomach and one of his first movements is to raise his head. He doesn’t stop there. As soon as possible he proceeds to push up, sit up, and stand up. Yet, integrated vertical standing is not a fixed and rigid state. Rather, it is a dynamic stance that makes continual fine adjustments in gravity. This continual stable motion in our posture and internal organs rouses information in the form of emotions, memories, thoughts and sensations.
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guided by a stethoscope (either electronic or ordinary) stethscoprewhilst carrying out biodynamic massage (Southwell, unpublished; Stauffer, 2005, unpublished, 2010; van Heel, 2014); the stethoscope is utilized for listening to the digestive system’s sounds (also known in this context as the psycho-peristalsis)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).
Nancy Eichhorn offers her experience listening to six speakers’ viewpoints at the day long celebration honoring The Handbook of Body Psychotherapy and Somatic Psychology in a four-part blog posting with some longer writings and some short eclipses of the content shared. As well, she hopes to reflect their collective themes that resonated with William Cornell’s call for institutions to train ‘embodied’ psychotherapists rather than body psychotherapists—a play on the aliveness of the adjective rather than the solid structural nature of a noun.
Stephen Porges's Polyvagal Theory has become synonymous with social engagement and our threat-versus-safety survival mechanism. His work continues to evolve, the reach of his content foundational for many studies and methodologies. And now, a song!
Short Stories from the Biodynamic Psychotherapy Room: Salutogenesis and the Web of Dynamic Phenomena
Learning biodynamic massage means learning to sense and direct non-verbal processes in a partially conscious manner, to transform some of the subcortical processes of the dance into partially conscious processes.
How the latest research in epigenetics, neuroscience, polyvagal and attachment theories are making somatic psychology and body psychotherapy foundational for effective clinical practice, according to Dr Marti Glenn.
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.