Home Authors Reflections Emotional Anatomy: The Structure of Experience: An Interview with Stanley Keleman

Emotional Anatomy: The Structure of Experience: An Interview with Stanley Keleman


Stanley wrote his landmark text, Emotional Anatomy: The Structure of Experience, to map the geometry of somatic experience in 1985. As founder and director of the Center for Energetic Studies in Berkeley, California (1971-today), Stanley developed his therapeutic and educational approach, trademarked as Formative Psychology, based on his methodology and conceptual framework for the life of the body. He has spent the past 50 plus years creating, teaching, researching, writing, presenting. He shared that it was time to bring his seminal text to life in a virtual way.

“I came to a point 10 years ago where I thought I needed to update my book, Emotional Anatomy. When I was assembling the images for the DVD, my wife died and that delayed everything. It was a big challenge to overcome,” Stanley said. He shared his truth with such a gentle tone that in response I felt nudged into a quiet space, a moment of reflection. His life partner passed, and he used his way of being in this life to embody the experience and move forward. There’s a sense, an embodied sensation that occurs when you meet a master teacher/practitioner. A small ripple started in that instant and grew as our time together continued.

“I assembled the DVD the same way I had done for the book. The images came first and the text followed. The images tell the Formative story. For the book I sat down at this big table in the meeting room with the images all around me, with big rolls of butcher paper, and I wrote the text. I wrote what I was thinking about the pictures I had already drawn. I wanted to write a Formative book and what an experience that was! For the DVD, I wanted moving images to convey the sense of the body’s internal dynamic not as a mechanical event but as an animate forming that generates feeling and meaning.”

Stanley’s intention when creating the DVD was to make the images in the original text more experientially available. “I wanted people to have the experience of the images being more than an objective idea because they are, in fact, conveying real anatomical experiences. He decided to follow the principle he followed when writing Emotional Anatomy— let the images tell the story.

You can view a 6 minute introductory video clip about his new DVD, Emotional Anatomy and read more about his work and his life from other therapists’ perspectives The Stanley Keleman Special Supplement.