Here is Pat Ogden, creator of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy.
On Monday and Tuesday, I had the privilege of hearing Pat Ogden talk about and demonstrate her well-articulated and immensely practical Sensorimotor Psychotherapy at a training in Charlottetown, PEI, Canada. She was engaging and her presentation included much that is clinically useful…has been useful already here in the therapy room.
Then, I headed off to Massachusetts for the Fall Conference of the Massachusetts Society for Bioenergetic Analysis, the method of body psychotherapy in which I am trained and certified. So last week was pretty well packed with opportunities to learn, play and grow in the work of somatic psychotherapy or body-based psychotherapy.
Here’s a picture of Alexander Lowen, the founder of bioenergetics, leading a group some years ago. This picture is courtesy of The Lowen Foundation.
A body approach to psychotherapy is only sensible. Emotions are a body experience; thoughts, actually, are a body experience. If you get right down to it. there is not a single experience that you can have that isn’t mediated by being in a body. Even at your most spiritual, the sensations, thoughts, feelings, and experiences you are having are being HAD by your body. Your brain is, after all, part of that wonderful construction.
So both bio and SI privilege the somatic over the cognitive in therapy. This has immediate benefits for clients: first, access to issues is a lot faster and more clear when communication happens through the body. If a client is willing to mindfully stay with his experience and report on it, without censor or judgment, then whatever is getting in the way is going to be available to work with directly.
There are differences between Bio and SI. What is fundamentally the same is that the human experience of living in a body is the content of the session, and working with that is how healing happens.
I know that when I move vigorously, express myself with my body and my voice, I can feel my own motivations, feelings and impulses more. In a very concrete sense, I have more of myself. In that way, I can be more self-possessed….I actually possess mySELF, and so I am not subject to reacting defensively or unconsciously.
Bioenergetic therapy gives us lots of tools. We have movement, expression, vocalization, our words and stories, our experiences of living in our bodies and telling others about those experiences. This work is worth doing, to get in touch with what is really TRUE about yourself and how you relate to the world.
If you are interested in learning more, you can go to the website for the International Institute for Bioenergetic Analysis here bioenergetic therapy. Or you can look for a Bioenergetic Exercise class in your community. Or call a bioenergetic therapist for an appointment.
Do it for yourself.