What is Body-Centered Psychotherapy?
The mind and body are a unity, and they cannot be separated. When we heal our mind, we are healing our body. And alternatively, when we heal our body, we are healing our mind. Therefore, we need to work deeply with this understanding if we want a more complete, powerful, and effective healing process. Body-centered psychotherapy is, simply put, an embodied kind of psychotherapy.
In addition to "talking therapy" as a useful means of processing our experience, we also need to process our experience on a bodily level if we want to reach the deepest layers of our experience. Our entire psychological life is stored not just in our memory but also in our bodies.
Traditional approaches have largely ignored the role of how to heal using the body in psychotherapy. This reflects our lack of connection to our own bodies. The body is much more than the thing that takes us to therapy. In truth, our body is our greatest point of access to the immediate truth of our experience .
How does body-centered psychotherapy apply to my goals for therapy?
Would we ever wonder how our thoughts apply to our goals for therapy, or our feelings? They're essential, and it's obvious to us. But because body-centered psychotherapy is a relative newcomer to the field of psychology, it is less obvious to us why the body would be essential to the therapeutic process. My goal is to begin to make it more obvious why deepening our relationship with body in therapy is equally important as focusing on thoughts and feelings.
In general, for any therapeutic issue, we need to understand what we're working with from the level of our mind, our feelings, and our body. This is a holistic approach, which means working with the whole situation, and to see things from every angle. When I talk about body-centered therapy, I don't mean to imply that I emphasize the body exclusively to other parts of us. It's only to signal that I include it as one very important perspective that is connected to effective therapy.
From a purely bodily point of view, we enter into therapy when our body is experiencing some kind of discomfort, when it's not doing what we need it to do, or when our body is having difficulty with other bodies. That's it. It is very interesting to view therapy from this perspective, and it leads to creative solutions that we may have never seen before. It is easy to listen to what the mind is saying, but it may be a bit more difficult to listen to what our body is communicating.
It's more obvious that our body is involved when we're experiencing symptoms that have a direct impact on our body such as depression or anxiety. But it can be more subtle when it comes to working with low self-esteem, our inner critic, addiction, or relationship issues, for example. I promise you that your body has answers for the solutions your are seeking.
Many of our difficulties come from our lack of consciousness about what is happening in our bodies. When we don't know how to negotiate uncomfortable or painful experiences in our body, we have no choice but to push it out of our conscious awareness. This slowly begins the disconnection between body and mind. It results in us not having understanding about what is going on inside of ourselves. Therefore, the most general answer to how it may apply to your goals for therapy, is that understanding our body is essential for the process of self-knowledge. To take any kind of effective action, we must, first, understand ourselves and our situation.